Dear Backers,

This is part 3 of the explanatory article to complement new biofeedback training from software update 20, and in working with FOCI’s Emotion Analytics.

We know from previous ‘Peak mental performance’ guide that we need a sufficient level of self-control (executive function) - attention, impulse control, emotion regulation  in order to gain mastery of peaking mental performance reproducibly. And we saw how biofeedback training could help us strengthen these ‘muscles’. 

The Gap

'To succeed at self-control you need to know how you fail.'

Kelly McGonigal 

We know how self-control reserve can be trained, strengthened and replenished, yet it is still too easily depleted by stresses, fatigues, distractions of sorts. 

So it is pivotal to gain self awareness to your self-control reserve and the mileage different activities have on our limited self-control reserve. 

In a nutshell:

  • Mental performance metrics is an indirect measure of self-control reserve, but unlike direct HRV based physiological measurement it usually has a longer latency of 15min but it is normalized for your physiological baseline by machine learning.
  • Be wary of Tension Overload, once it is in the orange and red region, it is an alert that your self-control reserve is depleting at a very rapid rate. This could mean a total reserve depletion in the near future and we should start on mitigation procedures as soon as possible.
  • When the risk of a particular negative emotion state such as distractibility lights up to a orange or red region, this also calls for a preemptive mediation as self-control reserve could be at risk if these negative emotions persist.

This is a particular sequence that manifests for me. If I don’t adjust in time, negative emotion would propagate to other emotions and deplete my self-control.


FOCI’s emotion analytics have different emotions mapped out, to intuitively show the paths of your emotion changes to provide the intuition of managing your self-control reserve. Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal has a very approachable primer to self-control

While it is usually referred to as 'discipline equals freedom’, it could be more apt to think ‘self-control equals freedom’. With ample self-control reserve, we could peak mental performance, do whatever we want and enjoy our life to the fullest!

Best wishes,

Mick and the FOCI Team

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