Hacking Decision Making To Save Your Willpower & Build Integrity

In our day to day lives we spend so much time within the meaningless minutia of deciding mundane tasks: What should I wear? What should I eat? Are familiar for the large majority of us. We place so much cognitive burden on ourselves without even knowing it. Effectively sticking our own heads up our own ass’ too blind to see how we are inhibiting our own lives.

What many people seem to be unaware of is that as human beings, we only have a finite amount of willpower. Thus spending too much time deciding trivial tasks, uses up this precious resource.

Imagine you have 100 points of willpower for decision making per day. Once we reach 0, that’s when our brain sais “fuck it I give up” and mentally checks out for the day. Some may believe this is hearsay but there are many scientific studies to corroborate this. Here’s an excerpt from one: (if you already believe this fact, feel free to skip this part onto Speed)

“In a research study published by the National Academy of Sciences, psychologists examined the factors that impact whether or not a judge approves a criminal for parole. The researchers examined 1,112 judicial rulings over a 10-month period.

All of the rulings were made by a parole board judge, who was determining whether or not to allow the criminal to be released from prison on parole. (In some cases, the criminal was asking not for a release, but rather for a change in parole terms.) Now, you might assume that the judges were influenced by factors like the type of crime committed or the particular laws that were broken.

But the researchers found exactly the opposite. The choices made by judges are impacted by all types of things that shouldn’t have an effect in the courtroom. Most notably, the time of day.

What the researchers found was that at the beginning of the day, a judge was likely to give a favorable ruling about 65 percent of the time. However, as the morning wore on and the judge became drained from making more and more decisions, the likelihood of a criminal getting a favorable ruling steadily dropped to zero.

After taking a lunch break, however, the judge would return to the courtroom refreshed and the likelihood of a favorable ruling would immediately jump back up to 65 percent. Then, as the hours moved on, the percentage of favorable rulings would fall back down to zero by the end of the day.

This trend held true for more than 1,100 cases. It didn’t matter what the crime was — murder, rape, theft, embezzlement — a criminal was much more likely to get a favorable response if their parole hearing was scheduled in the morning (or immediately after a food break) than if it was scheduled near the end of a long session.”

So now that we know there is some pretty decent evidence to support this.

So now the question is: How can we save our limited daily willpower for the most important decisions in our day to day life?


At various points in our day to day life we are forced to increase the speed at which we make decisions. Unpredictable events like death and bouts of misfortune are times humans seem to be able to harness this power regardless of any limitations once held.

We have to effectively making an assertive decision or risk suffering dire consequences. These events serve as a reminder that we are all capable of executing with boldness and speed.

If we no longer want to be at the mercy of our circumstances we need to learn to apply this skill within our day to day.


If a decision is reversible and not fatal, then it is more often than not beneficial to thwart indecisiveness and timidity by adopting a fearless bold approach.

48 Laws Of Power: Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness:

“Any mistakes you make through audacity are easily corrected through more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.” ~ Robert Greene

The most important factor is to truly believe that whether you go one way, you’ll be fine. But if it isn’t, than you’ll figure it out.

Having that confidence and mental fortitude that you can pull yourself from arduous situations is key to this. If you haven’t built this integrity within yourself than you may approach this half hardheartedly and not get the results you could be getting.

Example: Travel

One of the most common choices that paralyses people’s speed in decision making is planning to of travel.

We’ve all either heard someone say it or say it to ourselves:

“I don’t have the time”

“I don’t have the money”

“I have never traveled before”

“I am too young”

“I am too old”

Plus the 100 other bull shit excuses people use.

After listening to an excerpt from Vagabonding I was empowered to rid these excuses, make haste in my decision making, subsequently promising myself to make traveling this planet a frequent a part of my life. You know what happened one week later?

An email landed in my inbox boasting a limited time sale from Melbourne -Hawaii. 5 days later I booked that fucker for 3 weeks. (Photo’s from my adventures) I did all this only 2 months after living overseas for 6 months.

It could have been very easy come up with many reasonable reasons why to wait. Through the lens of an average person I did not have enough money. If I was like everyone else I would have waited until I had just the “right” amount of money. Everyone wants to wait until their circumstances are just right. Once you realise that time never comes will be the day you actually start living on your terms.

Fate only feeds the hungry

I was hungry for more.

6 weeks later I saw another big sale arrive in my inbox.

I assertively did my due diligence and acted upon this within a matter of days as I booked a flight to Singapore for my birthday. I know myself well enough that know that no matter my financial situation I will figure it out. Whether I have to sleep on the beach in Hawaii instead of a hotel I will figure it out!

Realise it is up to you to create the opportunities that mold the life you want.

I appreciate you so much if you read until here. Would love to hear what you thought. I wanna hear your experience with decision making. So leave a comment bellow :)

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour. youtube.com/emmanualalexander

Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour. youtube.com/emmanualalexander