“There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.” – Honore de Balzac
How often do you feel you lack assertiveness or strength to take action? Are there certain habits you want to change but can’t muster the will to do it? Do you start doing things only to quit shortly after?
Will power is a major factor in our life. It can make or break our success. When your will is strong, you can overcome reactions, change negative habits, and get your body to do what you want.
What is will power and self-discipline?
Will power is the ability to make your mind and body do what you want when you want it. It often has to do with self-control, the ability to control and restrain our impulses. But a more simpler definition is that will power is the ability to control yourself.
If you can control yourself, how much simple would life be? How much better will life be?
The scientific paradigm believed that will power is limited and can be depleted.
But perhaps looking at will power differently can allow us to strengthen it easier.
It is not that our will is limited but that the control of our mind and body is limited. If our impulses are stronger than our will, then it feels like our will weakens. In such cases, the mind and body overrides our will and we become fallen toys tossed left and right.
If you learn to boost your will power, you can be more in charge of your life.
5 Ways to Boost Your Will Power
1. Delay instant gratification
We are hardwired to want things. Instant gratification is wanting things now and often. It doesn’t help when society prioritizes short term solutions and instant access.
When we want things now, we set up our brain to expect our desires without delay.
Then reality hits. This is not how the world works.
We become frustrated and disappointed that what we want does not come to us on a silver platter.
Instant gratification is easy and pleasurable. Humans like to move towards pleasure and avoid pain. But instant gratification doesn’t make us strong willed. Our pleasurable decision today can lose out on the greater pleasure tomorrow.
Learn to practice delay gratification so that you can do more without relying on being moved by your emotions.
When you have the choice between now and later, think long-term despite how pleasurable you may feel now.
2. Avoid temptation
Refuse to indulge in impulses, desires, and tendencies.
The most temptation is the one we constantly give in. It could be the temptation of lust, the cravings of luxurious foods, the tendency for outburst, the desire to do nothing, etc.
This doesn’t mean you should never do them. It means you can do it when and where you want it instead of being pulled to do them by outside forces or inner impulse.
Whatever is your greatest temptation, you will develop will power when you hold back.
Start with the least temptation because it is easier. When you overcome the least temptation, it will help you become confident in knowing that you can overcome the greater ones.
3. Create a new habit
When you force yourself a new and beneficial habit, you are exercising will over mind and body. The body is under control of the mind. The mind when uncontrolled follows our impulses. But when mind is under will, we may use the body despite what we are feeling.
Create a new habit such as waking up early in the morning, taking a cold bath, call people on their birthdays, or running for 30 minutes everyday. Make a promise and keep them.
Do them every single day without fail. If you missed a day, then you would have to start over.
When you start working on a new habit, choose only one in the beginning. Start small and persist.
You must not give yourself too hard of a task. It might be too heavy and you will get discouraged.
If you force yourself to do certain things, irregardless of how you feel, then you develop powers of will.
4. Let no one discourage you
Many people in your life will upset you and discourage you. If you give into them, you lose your will over to others.
It makes you self-conscious, lower your confidence, and become weak willed.
When you intend to pursue a worthy goal in a beneficial way, practice becoming thick skinned. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something.
This may be easier said than done because we naturally want to seek approval.
Have faith in yourself and your works.
5. Have integrity
If you have principles and values you live by, don’t compromise those values.
By compromising your integrity, you feel as though you have cheated yourself and so your will diminishes.
Integrity is holding a strong moral principle and being honest with yourself. Part of having integrity is being consistent with who we are.
When you hold onto your integrity, you can then express yourself authentically and truthfully.
In the beginning, these principles you live by must not cause disharmony by being too uncommon. This means not to wear casual if everyone is in formal. Discussing a topic too far off from the general culture will make you feel crazy when they don’t believe you. If you cannot mix with society, it will be harder to feel confident in what you do.
However, you do not want to be absorbed and let culture define you. You can find this balance by knowing 2 things:
- Who you are and what you value
- Is your principles harmful or beneficial to others and humanity?
By living with proper values and sticking to who you are, you can be assertive, feel confident and in charge of your life.
This is an ability for self-expression without your emotions or others holding you back.
If you feel you do not have any integrity or principles you live by, then you can start to discover what you value. Think of things that you would never do and characteristics you want to be.
The Poisons of Will Power
Nothing weakens your will power like fear and lack of self-confidence.
Fear of our own expression downplays the importance of our will.
Many of us feel this when someone devalue our words or worth. It makes you feel as though the thought should never be expressed.
We must overcome those fears should we wish to increase our will power.
With strong will, we may dance like there is no one there and be ourselves more fully.