You are either happy or you are trying to be happy.
When we are happy, we wonder less about the truths and psychologies and why stuff works the way it works. We let the flow keep. However, when things aren’t going too well, our energies deplete. It’s how long you can survive in the face of those depleting energies that define your success or failure.
And your ability to survive that state of mind is willpower.
But, before we can learn how to cultivate willpower, we should rightfully try to figure out what diminishes it in the first place. Primarily, consider your subconscious mind as a huge hard disk that stores large amounts of data, in fact it stores every moment of your life and organizes them to form beliefs and behavioral patterns. It stores everything you experience and the emotion that’s attached to that source. Lack of willpower indicates prolonged programming of your subconscious using negative notifications.
“They can conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the first lesson is life who does not every day surmount a fear.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Procrastination at work, loss in relationships, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, being fired, divorce, non-cooperation in the family, misconceptions. Every trauma a person passes through decreases his power to control. He loses willpower with every experience that reminds him of his underachievement.
“In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.”
– Aleister Crowley
Cultivating willpower is the most important thing you can do to achieve something worthy. It is the very foundation of your success and ability to strive for greatness. But, how do you do it?
Here are the 4 simplified steps to generate willpower.
1. Distract yourself
Most researchers of the 20th century claimed that willpower was flexible. The famous Marshmallow Experiment by Walter Michel explains this just right. The researchers conducted a study with kids as to how the minds of children reacted to a greater reward if they were to abstain from having something, in this case, another marshmallow.
Results? It was found that kids who had high willpower to keep themselves from giving in used simple distractions like singing, patting the table and keep themselves busy doing thing so that their minds could wait a little longer until the time expired and they received a another marshmallow as reward.
Your willpower diminishes with every thought of the instant gratification.
If you are looking for a greater reward, keep yourself distracted from the immediate achievement. 2. Use consequences to power your actions
There are two aspects to this. Many psychologists have an opinion that thinking about the negative outcomes might actually strengthen willpower and some others claim that positive outcomes actually help you push a little more.
Fortunately, both are valid. You just need to know when to use what. If you are in bad mood, low energy, and your goals look blurred, use the positive consequences to boost and motivate yourself. On the other hand, when you’re in good mood, full of energy and yet lacking willpower, try convincing yourself using the negative method. This works because our minds tend to move from one energy point to another.
3. Make the climb, without the rope
Remember that scene from The Dark Knight Rises when that doctor advises Bruce Wayne to climb the pit without the rope? That’s what you need to try to strengthen your willpower. After graduation, I was very fearful about finding a new job. I would frequently get anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of it. I would keep searching classified but apply for none. I found that my willpower diminished every time I put off applying for an interview.
Fortunately, I learned to get out of my comfort zone and face the fear.
It is, of course, not always that simple, but if you can convince yourself for a short span of time that there’s nothing else you can do but get the job done, your willpower will build quickly.
Willpower is the resource you plug into when most of the external circumstances needed to sooth you are missing. 4. Keep reminding yourself about your willpower
What will you get if you show a little more courage right now? Your mind needs its share of motivation. What is it that makes this work worth doing? Remind yourself about the rewards and you’ll be much more positive when approaching your goals.
There’s a willpower equation which says:
Willpower = Motivation + Reward – Pain.
So, if your pain is more than your level of your motivation + reward, you’ll find your willpower diminishing, it might even get to the point at which you would want to give up. Kelly Mcgonigle, the author of “The Willpower Instinct,” suggests that simple actions like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or a simple good night’s sleep can help boost your willpower. These activities somehow send a reminder about your raw abilities to your subconscious, which helps stimulate your willpower.
Here’s what you can do. Write down a list of activities or chores you’ve been avoiding. Choose the easiest items on it and do them. It will instantly make you feel better. Remind yourself about your willpower using tiny achievements.
5. List one small achievement every day
The process of cultivating your willpower needs practice. Here’s what you can do about it. Every day, make it a routine to get done one of the many things you’ve been avoiding in the past. It could be as simple as organizing your closet. Gradually, build your willpower by using tiny achievement and then moving on to bigger ones.