“There is a more powerful driving force than steam, electricity and atomic energy. This strength is the will.” — Albert Einstein
Willpower is an ability that we can all learn and develop because it is like a muscle that can maintain itself. If professional athletes need physical and mental preparation, we all need to prepare ourselves to achieve our goal. It is a fundamental work.
How to define the will?
Etymologically, the word “will” comes from the Latin “voluntas–atis“, which means to desire. But this concept involves many other factors such as the ability to make decisions and make choices, the aspiration towards something that allows us to discover others, the determination to evaluate and define our goals, and the setting in action, which is the definitive factor by which we are moving towards what we want to achieve.
When the will is strong and powerful, it helps us to reach our desires and our ideals, constituting a real driving force that allows us to take the road of the success, by crossing many obstacles.
Its two most important ingredients, according to psychiatrist Enrique Rojas, are motivation and hope.
The will is an inner strength that we must absolutely enjoy. It is not tenacity but an energy that propels us spontaneously towards the goal that suits us best. Let’s see the enemies of the will: the other forces that oppose its natural development, which characterizes the “good” will and the levers to develop it.
The will is at once of reason and of the heart.
Will is the ability of a person to choose, in complete freedom, to perform or not a particular act, and it depends directly on desire and intention. It is important to understand that voluntary acts take place after a conscious process that manifests freely.
To develop your will (I will talk about it in the second part) it is fundamental to understand the implications of this definition:
- The will is a force, therefore energy, that drives us to action.
- The will is born of a desire, an intention: the more the desire will be ardent, the more the resultant force will be powerful.
- A will is a voluntary act: it comes from within, not from outside sources: events or people.
The will drive you to do … or not do: starting a physical activity program to stay in shape or quit smoking are similar in regards to the will.
We tend to think that a decision must necessarily be weighed and be accompanied by a certain level of sacrifice and tenacity. Yet you will agree that on some occasions you have had to make sometimes unplanned and difficult decisions without the need for much thought, in all serenity, of course! It happens when, in your heart of hearts, you know what you really want and what is best for you.
The deep will pursues what best suits the nature of each. It is the voice of the heart without any interference.
The will is something natural
If you have children, smaller siblings, you will have noticed that toddlers have a will, I would say, without limits. When they want something, they immediately go into action to get it or achieve it. They do not doubt anything! You have necessarily gone through this step, so why today do you think (maybe) that you lack willpower?
Because external events, brakes, have appeared over the years:
- Parents: “Do not do that! »,« Stop doing stupid things »
- Education: school, religion for some, the notion of good and bad, life in society.
- The blows received in the school of life: clashes with other children, injuries (burns for example), etc.
- Failures: in studies, sentimental, professional.
I do not say that it is bad, on the contrary, but like most everything in life, it is the excesses that have negative consequences.
In summary, let’s see what is and is not the will:
The will is:
- Desire: the intense aspiration that directs the will towards the knowledge, the possession or the enjoyment of a thing or a situation.
- Purpose: encouragement, the intention that drives us toward a goal, an end.
- Motivation: the reasons that drive people’s behavior and push them to act, choose, decide and succeed.
- Decision: the ability to choose one’s own behavior. It involves the ability to make a conscious and responsible choice.
The will is not:
- Determination: In the determination prevails the finality at the expense of all the rest. This happens when you clench your teeth at a difficulty that may prevent you from achieving a goal.
- Sacrifice: How many times do we hear: “Now we have to continue to the end”, “We must agree to give up … for …”. When one moves away from true desire, it is no longer the will that intervenes.
- Stubbornness: This implies clinging to one’s convictions. When we say, “I have to get there at all costs,” we are not going to change our own plans even if we have to get out of it.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength and knowledge, it is rather a lack of will.” — Anonymous
The will determine us
Everything starts with a desire. But in order to achieve our goals, this desire must be transformed into something that we ardently want, something towards which our will and our motivation tend.
To have a will is to choose. And to choose is to give up. Even when we do not make a decision, we give up, as the philosopher William James put it so well: “When you have to make a choice, and you do not do it, it’s a choice in itself “.
To choose, in the case of the will, is to bet on something that makes us want, that is in the distance, and that we want to achieve by concentrating all our efforts, and all our patients. This thing would be the main stimulation of our capacity for action, especially in the most complicated moments of our existence.
While we often look at our goals in a positive way, the path we have to take to reach them is fraught with pitfalls. But then, how to strengthen our strength of will?
The first thing to do is to know if your goal is what you really want to achieve. If your answer to this question is yes, you must focus your entire requirement on it. Never lose sight of the horizon you want to reach, and keep in mind that “all work deserves pay”. Only the one who knows how to wait has the capacity to use his strength of will without precipitation, and without asking for an immediate reward. Only in this way can you achieve the purpose of all your desires.
If you take a step back, you will realize that the true goal of the will is to win victories over oneself.
Educate your will
As we have already mentioned, the will is a muscle that can be developed. But to get there, you have to answer some questions.
The will is strengthened during a gradual and progressive learning, through the repetition of actions that can sometimes hurt you, make you fall, but in the face of which you must always have the strength to rise up. It’s exactly the same process as learning some behaviors. The difficulties are linked in the early stages, then everything becomes natural.
One of the fundamental things to reinforce your will is to keep in mind that, in most cases, the benefits of this inner work will not be apparent right away. It is a path that will not give results in the long term. The road to the realization of your personal project is inevitably filled with obstacles and struggles to carry out.
But if you manage to overcome all these pitfalls, you will find the way to your true personal development. Motivation must be your main driver. It will generate the strength needed to move you forward. You must know exactly what you want to get enough willpower that will allow you to realize your dreams.
Have clear and well-defined goals, and give up anything that might distract you. Keep in mind that the work you are doing now, no matter how unpleasant it is, will yield fabulous fruit in the near future. Try to govern yourself completely, to direct all your forces towards the achievement of your goals. Only consistency will allow you to achieve your ends.
Maintaining a balance between the means you have, and the goals you want to achieve is also a very important task. Matching means and ends will allow you to know your strengths and weaknesses, which is a necessary step in developing winning strategies.
By knowing your skills and limits, you will know which way to go to fulfill all your desires. Remember that the process of education of your will is infinite. Life always surprises us by subjecting us to unexpected trials, which force us to completely reorganize the trajectory we had drawn beforehand.
If you ever feel that your strength of will is running out, ask yourself why. What are the reasons for this mental fatigue? Are you really moving towards what you really want? Have you lost faith in your ability to succeed? No question is superfluous in the quest for truth.
With these questions, you can discover the main reason for your lack of will. The current lifestyle can sometimes lead us to quickly abandon our goals, to confine ourselves to those assigned to us by others. Stay alert, and do not forget to throw all your strength into the battle that will lead you to the realization of your dreams.
How to improve the strength of will?
Well, above stated paragraphs are enough to answer this question, still… let’s discuss it more. Let’s see what are the most common enemies of the will then the characteristics of “Powerful will“, the one that interests you.
Three enemies of the will
If we think too much or let ourselves be driven by our impulses, we cancel the force of the will. Here are three behaviors in which you should not fall.
Pursue imposed goals.
This is the case of people who are studying to maintain a family tradition (teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.) to please their parents for example. Generally, they encounter great difficulties despite their efforts and their obstinacy. And it’s the frustration, the doubt and the discouragement that appear.
If, for you, making a decision means an exhausting thought process, be careful! Your will is perhaps too conditioned by your thoughts and pursues objectives that do not correspond to your deep desires but rather models that you impose on yourself.
The will, exhausted by doubt and effort, driven by stubbornness, often leads to erroneous decisions. The symptoms that warn you that your will is taking the path that leads to the depletion of your physical and mental energy are:
- Fatigue, oppression, and anxiety.
- Recurring frustrations.
- Internal conflicts
To be a slave to his impulses.
The will that is based on instincts is like a torrent: it overflows any attempt at control and engulfs all desires. Those who do this are used to saying, “It’s stronger than me, I can not avoid it.”. They let themselves be carried away by irresistible temptations and affective dependencies.
The symptoms of this type of conduct are:
- The lack of satisfaction.
- The feeling of emptiness.
- Repetition of errors
These are the signs that we act without realizing that what we are doing does not please us.
The trap of renunciation.
“I do not know what I want, I do not care.” Some people are victims of lack of will: for them, having initiative, acting and choosing is difficult and problematic. Generally, they are sensitive to the judgment of others, lacking self-esteem and who have difficulty expressing their tastes or inclinations.
The symptoms are:
- The Depression.
- Chronic fatigue
- Sexual problems.
When these alarm signals are triggered, they warn us that we live inward-looking, without showing ourselves, and that our vital energy tends to become impoverished.
How to recognize powerful will?
In each of us, there is a realizing will that drives us to become what we are. This force that operates without difficulty is the authentic will. When it is expressed, we have the feeling that we are at the right place and at the right moment: the situations are almost resolved by the art of magic, quickly and in a fluid way.
The more our state of consciousness is free, the more powerful this force is, the more it gives us the energy to follow our path.
So, how can you identify it?
- She does not obey the habit: she is creative, spontaneous and sometimes brings surprising and very simple solutions.
- She is not conservative, nor cautious. It follows unusual paths that bring new solutions.
- It causes significant coincidences, seemingly due to chance.
- It makes us feel light, energetic, as touched by a state of grace.
- It produces small physical “miracles”, like losing the urge to smoke suddenly.
The powerful will has an overall regularization function that restores balance and releases bad habits. To find out if you have a real will or if you are going in the wrong direction, you must listen to your heart and analyze your behavior in situations where this will is necessary. Do the sensations correspond to the characteristics mentioned above? Are they far away?
Some tips to develop your strength of will
Assuming that developing your strength will depend on your current situation (which I do not know) I will remain on fundamental but general notions. It is up to you to have the minimum of will if you wish to improve by reflecting and applying the following principles:
- Willpower is also a habit. So you can develop it. To change habits one must first be convinced of the need for change and progressively move forward. It is the sum of all your steps that makes you progress on the path you have chosen.
- Improve your desire, the source of the force of will. Know what you really want. Practice visualization: imagine that your goal has already been reached and feel the benefits. This will strengthen your desire to achieve your goals.
- Improve your self-confidence. It is you who must decide, not others in your place. You are capable of it.
- Maintain or develop your physical and intellectual form. The strength of your will strengthens your energy, it is itself energy.
- Be positive. “Wanting is power” of course, but not wanting is sure to set up an impassable barrier in front of you!
“Break your boundaries, break the barriers of your constraints, mobilize your will, demand freedom as a right, be what you want to be. Find out what you would like to do and do everything possible to achieve it.” — Richard Bach
Remember, if you long for one thing, you have the potential to develop the strength of will necessary to achieve it.