The Dark Side of Self-Control

https://hbr.org/2020/01/the-dark-side-of-self-control#:~:text=Self%2Dcontrol%20can%20restrict%20emotional%20experiences.&text=For%20example%2C%20high%20self%2Dcontrol,raises%2C%20and%20outstanding%20performance%20appraisals.

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But is resisting temptation always beneficial? A small but growing body of research has begun to illuminate a dark side of self-control, with important implications for organizational life.

Self-control can restrict emotional experiences. One of the reasons why people high in self-control resist temptations is that they experience less tempting desires. But this might also mean that these people have less intense emotional experiences; that is, they respond to situations in more neutral ways. For example, high self-control might prevent employees from fully enjoying positive career outcomes, such as promotions, raises, and outstanding performance appraisals.

Self-control may lead to long-term regret. When people reflect on their lives, they tend to regret exerting too much self-control (e.g., choosing work over fun) and missing out on the pleasures of life. This experience of regret emerges only after time has passed. For example, a very successful CEO who had to make a lot of sacrifices in her life in order to pave her way to the top might feel that she has missed out on many pleasures when she gets older and reflects on her life as a whole.

Self-control can lead to increased workload. People tend to rely on others with high self-control, and this might make the latter feel burdened. For example, an employee who is very good at exerting self-control might be overloaded by her colleagues

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