Live Fast, Die Young: The amazing correlation between self-control and not dying

Impulsive people die younger than non-impulsive people, so much so that how your teacher rated you as a student back when you were a kid is actually a decent predictor of your later mortality.

. The first two probable reasons for this are obvious:

1. They do risky things like drive too fast, hold up conbinis, or take drugs, all of which can actually kill you.

2. They engage in behaviors with potentially negative long-term consequences, like eating too many donuts or failing out of school and having to do a crappy job with bad safety precautions.

But the third reason is less obvious, unless you’re Jayman:

3. There is no point to planning for the future if you’re going to die young anyway.

Some people come from long-lived people. They have genes that will help keep them alive for a very long time. Some people don’t. These people live fast. They walk earlier, they mature earlier, they get pregnant earlier, and they die earlier. Everything they do is on a shorter timeframe than the long-lived people. To them, they aren’t impulsive–everyone else is just agonizingly slow.

Why save for retirement if you’re not going to live that long?

Impulsive people are like normal people, just sped up.

5 thoughts on “Live Fast, Die Young: The amazing correlation between self-control and not dying

    • Hi. I’ll do my best.
      Obviously some lefties are just people who had the misfortune to have the part of their brain that normally controls their right hand damaged. I assume you’re interested in the folks with a more genetic predisposition.

      Handedness looks like a side effect of shunting fine motor skills primarily to one side of the brain, which then means the particular hand connected to that side of the brain (left hand to the right side of your brain, right hand to the left side,) gets a boost in its fine motor skills. Lefties appear to have their brains “flipped”, so they’re doing fine motor skills on the right side, or possibly distributing it throughout.

      There is some speculation that this mental specialization lets our brains be smarter by letting the other side of the brain handle other tasks, but interestingly lefties appear to be a tiny bit smarter/higher achieving/more creative than righties. But if lefties are smarter/richer/more successful/whatever, then why isn’t lefthandedness more common? (To be fair, though, geniuses and virtuosos are often somewhat curious people, not necessarily the most robust from a mental or physical health standpoint. This is all probably a little tricky to study since the folks who’re lefties due to brain damage probably tend not to be as smart and so have to be sorted out of the data.)

      Clearly requires more research. :) What do you think?


    • Interesting theory.

      Looks like lefties are 43% of baseball hitters, which makes sense, as approximately a 50/50 rate puts stress on pitchers to pitch equally well against both. But obviously if the rate exceeds 50%, pitchers then have an advantage against lefties (as lefties become “normal” and the pitchers all adapt,) and then the righties would be at an advantage.

      This article: claims that anthropologists found support for the warrior theory: “[among] the Dioula of Burkina Faso in West Africa, where the murder rate was only 0.013 murders per 1,000 residents each year, they found only 3.4 percent of the population were left-handers. Data from the Eipo of Indonesia, meanwhile, where there are 3 murders per 1,000 people each year, show 27 percent of the population is left-handed.” (Whereby “warriors” we mean “murderers”.) I’d call this speculative without further data on more than just two groups.

      So looks to me like handedness probably exists for practical reasons, opposite-handedness probably exists just because the genes can get mixed up sometimes without horribly killing you, and the trait can get selected for in some societies/professions/environments if you have to punch people or swing bats at them, but would be unlikely to pass 50% as it loses its element of surprise as it approaches parity.


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