willpower

David DeSteno is a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Emotions Group. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association, for which he serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Emotion.

His book, "Emotional Success" provides an accessible and powerful path to grit: our prosocial emotions. These feelings – gratitude, compassion and pride – are easier to generate than the willpower and self-denial that underpin traditional approaches to grit. And, while willpower is quickly depleted, prosocial emotions actually become stronger the more we use them. These emotions have another crucial advantage: they’re contagious.

As an award-winning psychology instructor at Stanford University, as well as a health educator for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program, Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s job is to help people manage stress and make positive changes in their lives. After years of watching people try to control their bodies, emotions, and choices, she realized that much of what they believed about willpower was sabotaging their success and creating unnecessary stress.