Having the ability to “will” our way to success sounds ultra romantic and is even included in the recipe of movies to create hero’s. They’re persistent and never give up, which is very admirable. However, as exciting and admirable as it sounds, it’s an ineffective and unrealistic tool to rely on and I’m going to explain why.
Will power falls victim to motivation. If we are extra motivated, we feel like we can do anything. What happens when we don’t though? It’s not easy to get up and do what we had in mind to do. It’s still possible though, right?
It is possible, but for how long can you sustain it before it starts to stress you and eat away at you?
Historically speaking, will power has been a terrible tool for doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong thing. Fighting against urges that you don’t even know where they’re coming from isn’t easy. How often do people say “this is my last cigarette!” or “This is my very last beer!” but only to go back to that behavior soon afterwards?
The Hidden Driving Force
Most bad habits develop with any intervention from us, but the good news is that good and bad habits have the same structure. Habits are habits anyway. So what is that hidden driving force you ask?
Well, lets dig a little deeper. If motivation drives your will power, what drives your motivation? Success does. Lets take it even further and ask, what drives success? positive feedback. In other words, rather than focusing on will power, it’s better to focus on the overall system from the beginning to the end.
The Timeline of Success
It starts with a little bit of research as to what you want to do or not do. Then it comes to putting it into practice. Finally, the automatic side effects start to kick in. Once you put it into practice and begin seeing results, it WILL begin to motivate you and emerge as will power.
That positive reinforcement loop is very important. It keeps the system running. Getting positive feedback for what you’re doing and seeing that its working is a very powerful motivation tool. It should not be something that you “Will” out of thin air because it isn’t sustainable.
Think Twice About Blaming Yourself!
The very next time that you feel unmotivated or have very little will power, don’t take it personally. Look down the chain and see where you hit a snag that cause your motivation to take a dip and make small changes to that.
Once you do some simple maintenance to the system, it should start running smoothly again!