The Science of Developing Self-Control in Life

Self-control is a trait that defines modern humans

Darius Foroux
The Blog of Darius Foroux
8 min readJun 2, 2020


In 1936, a few years before WWII started, a Russian Orthodox family of four fled to the Siberian “snow forest” to escape religious persecution. The couple, Karp and Akulina Lykov, their 9-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter, only took a few possessions with them.

After a trek in the wilderness, they settled somewhere close to the Mongolian border, where they started building a succession of primitive huts. The Lykovs settled down there for good. They even had two more children, who were born in the wilderness.

The family spent their days hunting, trapping, and farming. The mother of the family, Akulina, died of hunger in 1961. She chose to feed her children.1 But the family remained in the wilderness until a geologist discovered them in 1978. The Lykovs lived there without any form of contact with the outside world for 42 years.

1981 was a tragic year. Two of the children suffered from kidney failure, and another member of the family died of pneumonia. Karp passed away in 1988 in his sleep. The only survivor, Agafia, still lives in the wilderness today. The Lykovs were featured in a 2013 episode of Far Out by Vice.