This “hands-on” course is based on one of the most popular adult education courses ever taught at Stanford. We will provide step-by-step procedures for strengthening self-control to achieve personal goals such as weight loss, physical health, stress reduction, conquering procrastination, being a better parent, improving relationships, making better grades, or simply living a higher-quality life. Will power is defined as the ability to resist short-term temptations to achieve long-term goals; the capacity to override unwanted or destructive thoughts, feelings or impulses. Recent scientific studies have shown that will power is like a muscle: it can be strengthened through certain exercises, and it can suffer fatigue. Although developing will power requires considerable effort, it is not about gritting your teeth and plowing ahead, rather it is about mindfully recognizing your options and making better choices. We will use videos, presentations, exercises, and class discussions to learn how to develop useful habits and eliminate destructive ones.
The course is taught by J. B. (Ben) O’Neal, formerly Distinguished Professor of Communications and Signal Processing at NC State University and currently professor emeritus. O’Neal is a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers and recipient of the R. J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension.