There are a lot of searches in Google every month for will power and its variations. Very few of these people seem to be looking for terms like “I already have enough will power, how can I celebrate?” It seems to be something that people want more of. How do you do it? How can you get more of something that is defined like this:
- The ability to master your own behavior and carry out your wishes
And so on. It’s tough because any definition you find is talking about something that people want more of, but the way to get more of it is similarly unclear. Meaning, this post could easily be called “How to get more self control” or “how to control myself” or “how to make things happen.” But if it were as simple as saying, “Well, here’s how, just do this,” fewer people would be searching for information about these topics.
Self control and goals
The unhappiest times in my life have been the times when I have felt like I had the least control over my situation. I am now far enough removed that I realize that while there were things I couldn’t control, there were also plenty of things I wouldn’t control. I chose not to.
I spent a lot of time lying on couches in my house and wishing things were different. Maybe I was worried about money, maybe it was Tourette’s, maybe it was my appearance or my relationship–but it was all stress-related. It was all unproductive. I don’t say unnecessary–that’s not helpful and I generally believe that we all do the best we can with what we have at the time.
What I realize now is that is wasn’t so much that I could not impose my will on my situation to meet my goals. It was that things had gotten so hopeless that I no longer had goals. It wasn’t about self control–there wasn’t anything I was even trying to control. I just wanted time to go by so I could go to bed again.
I don’t worry as much about self control or whether I have sufficient will power these days, because every day I know I am getting closer to at least one of my goals. As long as I have the discipline to take steps towards the things I have made myself accountable for, both in public and in private, I am pretty happy.
So I’ll quit rambling there and turn it over to you. How do you define will power? How do you get willpower? Do you feel like you have enough?
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