Willpower does work. You can create realities through the power of your will. You can develop your will power. The secret to this is to define a goal and then be willing to go through a number of blocks and resistances on the path to that goal. This method is not for marshmallows who cave in at any sort of challenge or difficulty. It is for people who know that those resistances, blocks and problems are an integral part of the goal, not interruptions to the goal.
A good example of how this works is sports or workout. Workout perfectly demonstrates how willpower achieves results and how one must go through various resistances to breakthrough to a feeling of natural high and achievement. One might lift weights in 15 repetitions. At around the 13 repetition things start getting painful. But if I push on, through the resistance and make it, not to 15 but one higher to 16, I have broken through a barrier and will feel elated afterwards. Over longer periods of time my persistence helps me lose weight, gain better physical health, release and overcome resistance, feel more alive.
You can read and hear how people are saying that you cannot achieve things through willpower alone. “Obesity is genetic. You cant get rid of it through willpower”. “Smoking is a strong addiction. You cant get rid of it through willpower”. “I have never really had money, no matter what I try”. “I am too old to find a fulfilling relationship” – all of these statements and a few Million more are utter nonsense, no matter how often they are repeated in your mind, in the media and even by supposed “authorities”. Throughout my 15 years as a coach I have seen almost every issue either resolved or strongly improved by the application of Awareness and Will. I concede that not everything is achievable through Willpower, e.g. you will most likely not become a famous basketball star, but much more is achievable than many think. Willpower is a mixture of
Willingness (being willing to go for something)
Decisiveness (commitment “no matter what”)
Concentration /persisting in something until it is achieved)
Attention is directed by Will. Will is a property of Awareness. Awareness is a property of Consciousness. Consciousness is a property of Infinity. Almost any sort of problem imaginable is due to a lack of will which can also be called a lack of energy. Almost any sort of human achievement came about through the strong intention of a person or a group of people. Dont let “them” tell you that willpower is not enough to make progress in many areas of life. I have healed illnesses through relentless visualization and affirmation over many months. I have written 25 books through raw willpower alone. I quit smoking through raw willpower alone. And it all works when you are willing to fail, to embrace failure. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before they reached their goals and invented something brilliant. If you are not willing to embrace failure, which is an integral part of your road to success, you will never develop the supercharged willpower I am referring to. But if you do understand that you go through resistance to come out at the other end, at the goal, you will love those resistances because you no longer see them as stumbling blocks but as spring boards.
These are some methods with which you can increase your energy and willpower:
1. Limit sugar and carbs
Foods that are high on the “glycemic index” can lower your overall energy and willpower by giving you a quick boost at the expense of your overall state. Sugar is best used at times when you really do need an extra boost, such as when you are trying to quit smoking or going through post menstrual challenges . Carbs are best limited after 6 p.m. because that is the time your body is winding down and does not really require the surplus energy. You`ll lose weight if you limit carbs to the morning and afternoon. I normally do not give any chemical advice, but these are time-proven: sugar, carbs, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are best taken in in limited quantities., when a boost is really needed. By adhering to this advice you will certainly experience a boost in energy.
2. Don’t suppress your emotions
Suppressing emotions costs a lot of energy. People who suppress what the feel are known to get tired more quickly. But not suppressing them does not necessarily mean expressing them either. While talking about them or letting them out is better than suppressing them, this can also waste a lot of energy. Instead, deal with negative emotions like Buddhists deal with them: Allow them to pass through without suppressing or expressing them.
3. Take naps.
The reason you get tired is so that you go to sleep and regenerate. If you ignore tiredness and keep on pushing yourself, you overstrain and deplete willpower and energy. Even a very short nap of a few minutes can reawaken your sense of alertness and freshness. If your lifestyle allows it, check if you can distribute your sleeping time through the day a little more rather than taking it all in one chunk at night. This also applies if you’re a teenager or in your twenties.
4. Do one thing at a time.
Many people claim that they can “Multi-Task” or that multi-tasking is somehow an indicator of superior willpower. I disagree with this notion because I know how split-attention can subtly lessen energy in both men and women. See if your power does not increase if you follow one goal at a time. If you are trying to quit smoking, build a new company, save your relationship, take care of your kids and get an athletic body at the same time, you may be overstraining your power. By preserving power and focusing it on one thing and doing that properly, more is achieved overall.
5. Go the “extra mile”
Stretch your inner self by always doing a little more than is required. If your customer expects to spend one hour with you, stretch it to one and a half hours. If you run a mile, try one and a half miles. If your spouse asks you to take out one bag of trash, take out three. By embracing so called “stress” and doing a little more than expected you train your willpower muscle. People and situations will then no longer be able to exhaust you.
One of the best examples of incredible willpower are so called “human statues”. If you’ve gone walking in any European city before, you have probably seen the people who are dressed up in some costume and do not move for hours (unless someone puts a coin in their hat by which they make one movement). No matter what happens or who ridicules them, no matter if a bird takes seat on their head or a drunkard tries to get them out of their poise, no matter how many attractions and interesting things are happening in their surroundings, they remain poised. Some human statues report that they would have loved to turn around sometimes to check out something interesting going on behind them, or to take a break or to respond to rude passerbys, but that is against their self-imposed discipline. I have always been fascinated by human statues because they exemplify what I teach my students: To maintain poise, no matter what is going on around them. “But my wife said X, and I just had to respond!”, “But my Boss did this, and I just had to respond!”, “But reality delivered this and I cant possibly stay relaxed!” they tell me. However, human statues prove that it is possible to remain calm no matter what is going on. And they gather the awe and applause of passerbys many of who wouldnt even have enough self-control to focus their attention for only a minute.
From interviews with human statues I have gleaned an important principle of willpower. Most of them report that the job is utterly exhausting at first, but becomes natural and easy over time. This is why effort is a good thing: whatever you are investing your effort into, really does become easier over time. I also teach that if you wish to control your circumstances, you must control yourself first. Once you set an intention or goal, simply dont respond to circumstances that try to veer you away from your self-chosen path. And if someone talks harshly to you, why not just remain silent, or say “OK” and leave it at that? It is a matter of willpower. It is difficult at first and becomes easier with practice.
6. Finish what is Unfinished
The mind does not like unfinished tasks. It keeps nagging at you as you, compelling you to run it in your mind over and over again. This subtly depletes your energy. The only ways to free yourself from this are to
a) Finish the task already
b) Decide to abort the task
c) Delegate the task
d) Decide what you will do with it and when
One of these four frees your mind from the unfinished tasks. The mind also treats goals and problems as unfinished tasks. .The more goals and problems as well as unfinished tasks you carry around with you, the more your energy and willpower are scattered instead of focused, depleted instead of stored. You will experience a marked increase in well-being and power by writing down all unfinished things, tasks, errands, emails, phone-calls, projects, problems, goals, desires, hopes, fears and then applying one of the 4 abovementioned decisions to them.
If you finish everything on your list you reach a place I call “free attention” or “zero point” or “freedom of mind”. It is recommended that you stay close to zero for the rest of your life. But first you have to get to zero. Because once you have gotten to zero physically, you can get to zero mentally, thus having a completely clear mind. For instance if you have a a tray at your desk where you put all unfinished stuff and letters and you completely take care of everything that is in there, you will have reached a physical zero point in that regard. From there it will be easier to do an inner inventory of inner unfinished stuff and reach a zero point there too.
Am I saying that the “peace of mind” state so many Meditation-Practitioners try to achieve can be facilitated by cleaning up the stuff on your desk? Yes, that’s what I’m saying! What to do with all this energy saved by coming to “zero-point”? Well, those ideas will come to you much more easily when your mind is clear. Free your mind.
7. Change your Habitual Patterns
Yet another way to increase your overall Willpower (and thereby state of energy and Aliveness) is by deliberately changing your habits and behavioral patterns. The following examples of behavior may have nothing at all to do with your goals but any of them will nevertheless benefit your goals because as you change one thing, that spills over to other areas in your life. Here are some examples of changing patterns, habits and routines:
In my early twenties I took the same way to work every day. I used this time to make several deliberate changes in my thinking and acting. One of the things I would do is walk backwards to work. This changed my habitual morning-thinking, which in turn made my day more creative.
Brush your teeth with the other hand
Why not switch the hands with which you brush your teeth? This quick behavioral shift demonstrates that you are not running your life on automatic but are yourself the creator of your experience.
Change your Posture
Try changing your body posture several times throughout the day. It will immediately transport you into the here and now, having you feel more aware and awake. Every deliberate act you do, trains your willpower.
Enjoy something you normally dont enjoy
Take something you resist, and try to enjoy it instead. There is no use resisting standing in a grocery store line. Why not thoroughly enjoy it next time? Do not be a victim of circumstance.
Change your speech patterns
If you have always used fillers such as “like” or “actually”, why not try doing without them for a week? Small changes can create big things. Such a simple tool can turn your whole world upside down because you are actually beginning to pay attention to what is going on.
These were only five examples but we could surely come up with hundreds of ways to exercise willpower and awareness, which are the primary keys to success in life.
Focus leads to success. Success sometimes leads to lack of focus. Not resting on your laurels but instead maintaining your momentum when you have reached the top is also a matter of will.
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