Your access to your willpower will dictate your success in every area.
What do you notice when you think of willpower?
I use to think of suffering. Determination. Guts. Sacrifice. No pain no gain. Just do it. Hustle. (For years I subconsciously avoided actions that needed lots “willpower” because of this belief).
But what if I was viewing willpower wrong this entire time? (I was)
What if willpower didn’t have to be a fight and struggle? What if willpower wasn’t a raised and bloody fist, shaking itself at the harsh world? (It isn’t)
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
A strong willpower gives you an incredible life.
The ability to trust and use your willpower to create what you want will always give you an advantage over those who can’t. Even if they are smarter than you, nicer than you, sexier than you, more loving than you, kinder than you…
(You get the point).
Lasting commitments to choices that cause a benefit to you are epic. (Exercise, eating healthy, growing a business, appreciating a lover, radical honesty, self appreciation, using systems…)
Certain ongoing choices will always benefit the individual.
And not just once.
The choices will exponentially return value throughout life.
But starting and stopping? That never allows your life to reach a state of momentum.
This power to DO over and over again comes from willpower.
A strong willpower means that you are able to create what you decide you would like to create – in ALL areas of life. You are able to stay the course. Stay committed.
But most of us don’t.
And it is so painful to know you are a creator, but not be able to exercise willpower to take the ACTION to create.
So what can we do?
Everyone has a gap between desire and reality.
You’re not alone. Everyone experiences this.
The most hardened Navy Seal may have exercised willpower with his body and mind. But has he exercised willpower with his sexual addictions?
A dedicated business owner may use willpower to stay the course in her work. But is her willpower exercised when it comes to her connection with her family?
Let’s be honest. Usually our willpower isn’t exercised in areas that we are covering deep and painful emotions. We all avoid pain on some level or another. It’s our innate nature to attempt to resolve pain and move towards pleasure.
So let’s take that issue we’ve been avoiding. We all have one, even though the issue might be completely different for each of us.
What your one thing, right now?
Alcohol? Drugs? Sugar? Avoiding bills? Tobacco? Cheese? Porn? Your cell phone? Staying up late? Facebook?
What is just one thing, that if you could wave a magic wand and make the struggle between what you know you want to do and what you actually do vanish?
Got one thing yet?
Another way to ask the question – what are you procrastinating on?
Changing our relationship with willpower.
I would invite you to consider that a lack of understanding around willpower has most of us stuck. If you make a few tweaks with your relationship to willpower, you’ll find yourself functioning at a much higher level.
Willpower has 3 different components, rooted in three areas of the brain. These three areas give us the ability to have self control.
Most people feel like there is a dualistic battle going on. There is…but it isn’t what you think it is.
We think it’s “I will eat the cookie vs I won’t eat the cookie”.
But that is simplistic. Science has shown us there are actually three elements debating. And this debate is the core of what separates us from the rest of nature.
The three things are:
I will eat the cookie.
I won’t eat the cookie.
And what I want is…
The third voice (I want) gives us the ability to exercise a question and imagination about a deeper desire and future. This is HUGE.
This is the part of you that can heal the short term pain of taking/not taking the action with a knowing of the long term pleasure.
But most of us don’t know how to use it. Most may not even know it’s part of their willpower! We let the other two voices (I will and I won’t) drown out this third voice (I want).
The – I will, I won’t, I want – are amazing and perfect for us to function. They are each important voices at the right place and right time. We just get to help create the perfect timing and unity, so our “willpower” will skyrocket our lives.
Willpower and Self Awareness.
The first step to exercising powerful willpower is SELF AWARENESS.
Did you know that you can determine how you will react to situations before they happen?
The awareness of the three voices, AND the knowing which voice will be most powerful in specific situations, can change your entire world.
Most of your decisions just need a switch up. Which voice of your willpower is winning? The loudest one is a winning because of habit. Your brain has told itself that, when on autopilot, that voice wins.
This means you can predict and know which voice will win.
What happens in those autopilot moments isn’t because you lack willpower! It’s simply one of your three voices of willpower is trained to win.
So even though it feels afterwards like you did something you don’t actually WANT to do, it’s only your brain doing what it’s has been trained to do.
But here is where it gets good. Because you can retrain your brain.
The autopilot means you’re distracted from self awareness.
Self awareness listens to all three voices of your will power and makes a decision after listening to all three. When you are NOT self aware – the autopilot voice wins. (And you’ve downed half a tub of ice cream while binge watching Netflix.)
When you are self aware? You consider all three voices and make a better decision.
Go it? Let me simplify.
How to leverage willpower.
1) Your willpower has 3 voices. Know them and listen for EACH of them. Acknowledge each of them. Consider each of them.
2) When you’re distracted and not self aware, one voice will dominate your decisions. This is autopilot mode. This is when most decisions you regret take place.
3) You can know and plan in advance for these moments of “regret”. How are you usually distracted? How can you cut that distraction?
4) In the moments – ask yourself what each of the voices are saying. Pay close attention to the “What I Want” voice. This is the one that is usually ignored.
Meditation assists in your ability to stay self aware through distractions. Mediation enables you to use your willpower to make decisions from a place of creative power (what I want) instead of simple yes or no thinking.
Have a great one.
– Jonathan Caleb Heston