Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Initial Hurdles : Willpower (won't work)

The way many of us try to overcome an initial hurdle is by using willpower, figuring that if we can just get through it, we'll get on with what we really want to do.

I'm here to tell you that Willpower won't work - at least not for everybody, and certainly not in the long run.

Willpower can be good. Everyone can summon willpower some of the time. And we can use it to get us to do things we don't want. Sometimes when we use willpower we find things are not as bad as we thought they were. And if you keep using willpower, sometimes what once took will has become a habit.

But. If after a while of using willpower, you find you still have to use willpower : that is you find yourself still wishing you didn't have to jump the hurdle - then its time to try something else.

Because eventually willpower runs out. One morning you wake up tired. Or in a bad mood. Or something else is sapping your willpower. You don't have the energy to get over the hurdle. And frankly you have never really had the desire... not the deep down desire. And so you don't do it.
And if your willpower is directed somewhere else for several days, that's several failures. Several things reinforcing the fact you don't have the willpower to keep at whatever you're doing.

Our culture has a long tradition of saying "Stick with it". But almost every time someone says "Stick with it" to me, I notice that they love and enjoy the thing they are sticking with... and that those who don't love and enjoying eventually stop sticking with it themselves.

There are lots of things out there you love and enjoy... and you can use these to get to your goals. "Sticking with it" and using willpower as the way to do so only causes you the pain of having to keep sticking with it every day. And that is no way to get the life you want - because in order to get freedom, you're putting yourself in the chains of pain.

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