“No-Go Moments”: An Impulse Control Technique by Andrew Huberman
Strengthen the neural circuit in your brain involved in suppressing action.
How much genius are we losing to the compulsive need to scroll just a little bit more?
The other day I realized something. Heads up, it's pretty depressing.
Say we spend 2 hours of "wasted time" per day on our phones (and that's probably being kind).
- 2 hours x 365 days = 730 hours per year
Let's say we do this for 50 years of our lives.
- 730 hours x 50 years = 36,500 hours
That equals 4.1 years.
4.1 years, OF. OUR. LIFE, 24/7, spent on our phones.
Is this as shocking to you as it was to me? Sure, it's old news that our collective screen times are through the roof, but I never considered it on the scale of years in a single lifetime.
And I'm not here to demonize phones. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without them. However, I find it sad that it’s the first thing I think about when I open my eyes in the morning. And it bugs me that I can't make it more than 10 minutes without feeling the urge to reach for the damn thing.
One of the main challenges is that our behavior has become reflexive.
Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman insists that we can change our ways. Impulse control, with enough self-awareness and effort, is an ability we can develop.
In the Knowledge Project podcast with Shane Parrish, Huberman discusses how this works in the brain as well as the technique he uses himself to develop greater self-control.
Go & No-Go Circuits in the Brain
In our brains, we have neural circuits involved in motivating us to initiate action or withhold action.
Experiments suggest that the basal ganglia play a key role in modulating and gating such decisions via two aptly named functional pathways in the brain:
- ‘Go’ circuits (initiate action)
- ‘No-Go’ circuits (withhold action)