Do you have stong or weak will? When faced with temptation, can you easily abstain or do you fold faster than a poker player whose had their bluff called?
This is actually a trick question because you are in fact both strong willed and weak willed. It all depends on the situation. Allow me to explain.
The Will Power Paradox
Let’s try a thought experiment; we are going to tempt a person with strong will and a person with weak will.
Suppose we tempt them with a cupcake when they are both ‘on a diet’. Who’s going to give in first? I only have one piece so they can’t both take it. Your might think that the weak willed person will cave in and take it, giving up on their diet plans.
Suppose now we change the temptation from a cupcake to $100. They now have to convince me who to give it too? Who is more likely to convince me? In this context most people would agree that a strong willed person will have a greater desire for the cash.
In both of these situations the temptation has been something both people have desired, but the results have differed.
The reason for this is that humans can use their unique ability of logic and foresight to make illogical decisions. Basically we tell ourselves ‘We will give in this time, but next time we will resist.’ Our future selves are our perfect selves.
Will Power is totally dependent on the situation.
This is the paradox and this is why will power, whether you believe you are strong willed or weak willed, can not be relyed on alone to achieve a goal. Unless you truley desire the procedure and the outcome, you will eventually cave in and return to what you really desire.
Get unlimited Will Power
Let’s use the example of weightloss. Sure most people have a desire to be slim or skinny, but there is also the desire for Pizza that contridicts this. Desire for food is a survival instinct and is therefor one of the strongest desires known to mankind. Trying to use Will Power to resist eating is like trying to put out a forest fire using a watering can. You might change a little in the short term but the fire will soon continue to spread.
To change this we must learn to desire the procedure as well as the outcome. There are 2 steps to this:
Realise that your current lifestyle choices are not pleasureable. You might think you enjoy your choices but if you end up feeling guilty, sick and sluggish, that’s your brains way of telling you it’s not right. If you use logic to decide where you want to be, but your day-to-day choices don’t get you there, any short term pleasure that you get from these choices is an ‘anticipation’ pleasure caused by dopamine response that doesn’t actually produce any happy feelings, hence why you feel guilt, not happiness when you act on these desires.
The last step is to improve your ‘Why Power’. While your Will Power will differ from situation to situation, your ‘Why Power’ is what this depends on. There are a number of things you can do to improve your why power:
Think shorter term – If you diet now, in a months time you might have lost 4 or 5 pounds. This is too long to wait and your day to day weight loss is too small for a scale to measure. Your why power should be more immediate. Think ‘I want to lose weight so I can be healthier everyday.’, ‘I never want to feel like crap again.’ or ‘I want to feel more comfortable and confident in my own skin every day.’
Make it personal – Many people achieve a goal shortly after being told they can’t or that they are not good enough. There’s something about want to prove someone wrong that gives us the strength of a God to achieve a goal. The diet industry has it’s arm around your shoulder and is then laughing behind your back as you repeatedly fail. Get out of that trap, you don’t need any special pills, potions or programs to lose weight. Nature has the answer, eat good healthy colourful food in abundance and avoid the fast food, do a little bit of exercise every day and you’ll be there in no time.
Be accountable – Don’t just tell yourself you are doing it, tell your best friends. They might even want to join you on your journey. Just be careful of the jealous ones that see your success as a threat and try to bring you back down to their level.
Unlimited Will Power is within your reach. You soon start to feel sorry for the people that are struggling with the very thing you once struggled with. Once envy has turned into pity unlimited will power is yours. Thanks for reading. Comment on what you think below. Follow me on here or on twitter @GGreenFitness.