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  • : Host of the and a neuroscientist at Stanford University.
  • David Berson: Known for his work on neurons in the eye that set biological rhythms and a professor at Brown University.
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett: Affective science expert and professor at Northeastern University.
  • Robert Sapolsky: Stress research expert and professor at Stanford University.
  • Diego Bohórquez: Researcher into the gut-brain axis at Duke University.

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The part of your brain that’s for doing hard things and when you don’t want to do it saying no to things that you shouldn’t say yes to


The brain region responsible for self-control and decision-making, especially when saying no to things or performing challenging tasks, is the prefrontal cortex. This area acts as an "orchestra conductor," managing what parts of the brain should be active or suppressed to ensure appropriate behavior and focus.

  1. Inhibition and Control: The prefrontal cortex suppresses impulses and distractions, effectively saying "not now" to competing demands for attention or action 1.
  2. Attention and Relevance: It directs attention to what is relevant and suppresses irrelevant stimuli, functioning by filtering information to focus on goals 2.
  3. Executive Function: It handles planning, decision-making, and interpreting context, crucial for maintaining long-term goals over immediate desires 3 4.

    Prefrontal Cortex Control

    Andrew explains how the prefrontal cortex acts as an orchestra conductor, controlling the brain's activity and attention. He also discusses how ADHD is not a deficit in prefrontal cortical function, but rather a difficulty in communication with other brain areas.

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These functions allow it to help you stay focused on tasks, resist temptations, and make thoughtful decisions. This is why activities like practicing delayed gratification, such as in the classic marshmallow experiment, engage the prefrontal cortex extensively 3.


Mid cortex function for grit and pushing through things like cold exposure or hard exercise


The anterior mid-cingulate cortex (ACC) is critical for grit and persevering through tough situations, such as cold exposure or hard exercise. Here are key points about its role:

  1. Resilience and Tenacity: The ACC is fundamental in enhancing tenacity and willpower, especially when we engage in difficult tasks we’d rather avoid. When we push ourselves to move or engage in challenging activities, it leads to elevated activation of the ACC, which translates into a better capacity for resilience and perseverance in various contexts 1.

  2. Willpower and Resistance: This region is also active when resisting temptations and engaging in behaviors that require self-control. Successful dieters, for example, show heightened activity in the ACC, which helps them resist tempting food and maintain their dietary goals. This illustrates the ACC's role in enhancing willpower 2.

  3. Neurological Plasticity: The ACC is highly adaptable; it undergoes structural changes and grows stronger with repeated challenges. Engaging in physically or mentally tough tasks can reinforce the ACC's network, making it more efficient at handling future challenges 1.

  4. Broad Functional Impact: The ACC's enhancements through engaging in challenging behaviors not only improve performance in those specific tasks but also carry over to other areas of life, boosting overall tenacity and the ability to handle stress and adversity 3.

    Engaging Tenacity

    Discover the fascinating role of the anterior mid cingulate cortex in activating tenacity and willpower. Andrew shares how engaging in challenging behaviors and resisting temptations can build up this brain structure, leading to increased tenacity and willpower in various aspects of life.

    Huberman Lab

    How to Increase Your Willpower & Tenacity | Huberman Lab Podcast

By understanding how the ACC functions and how it can be trained and strengthened, we can better equip ourselves to handle life's challenges with greater resilience and determination.


Summarize How to Increase Your Willpower & Tenacity | Huberman Lab Podcast

In the episode titled "," explores the science behind developing and enhancing willpower and tenacity. Key topics covered include:

  1. Building Tenacity: Strategies and practices to strengthen tenacity, alongside discussions on how protein and sleep are vital in this process.
  2. Willpower and Psychology: The psychology behind willpower, common controversies, and the neural basis of willpower.
  3. Overcoming Resistance: Techniques to overcome resistance and bolster willpower, including the role of glucose and understanding brain function via tasks like the Stroop task.
  4. Enhancing Willpower: The connection between glucose intake and willpower, along with methods to enhance brain power and overall tenacity.
  5. Engaging Tenacity: Activation of the anterior mid-cingulate cortex (ACC) and exercises to refine this skill for better performance in tough situations.
  6. Practical Tips: Practical advice to incorporate tenacity-building practices into daily life, bolster motivation, and harness the power of willpower for sustained effort.

Sponsors throughout the episode include Maui Nui, Helix Sleep, AG1, and LMNT, emphasizing optimal nutrition and natural performance enhancement.

This episode provides a comprehensive guide to harnessing your inner strength and scientific methods to improve perseverance and self-control.