Definitely, there are a lot of factors at work in anyone's success. There is never just one ingredient to make or break a person's journey and there are countless opportunities for us to get it right. However, one of the contributing factors to a person's incredible success is their capacity to regulate themselves – also known as willpower.
Willpower is a tricky concept because many people think of it as something a person either has or doesn't have. But the truth about willpower is this – it is not an absolute trait and we always have the opportunity to strengthen it. Like a muscle that gets stronger the more we exercise, willpower is strengthened with practice.
Moderation, though, plays a crucial role in it. Contrary to popular belief, willpower may also work against us. It has the potential to backfire when forced upon oneself excessively. This is the concept known as ego depletion; the state of having very little to no self-control, due to the depletion of one's mental energy.
Again to use the muscle analogy – if you push too hard, you can do damage. Balance is essential. Willpower can work for you or not work sometimes, but it's not something you're either born with or without.
Why Willpower is Important
Willpower is important because we live in a world of many, many distractions. Without the tenacity to work towards the achievement of our goals, we'll easily succumb to the next thing that catches our fancy, leave our goals behind, and never get anything important accomplished.
Willpower comes from the part of our brain that enables us to choose well. Using it will make the quality of our lives better and enable us to achieve greater things. Success isn't solely a matter of luck, but a combination of many factors, including the ability to make good choices with long-lasting consequences.
But self-control doesn't work by itself. It is just one of the many factors that enhances a person's ability to accomplish their goals in life.
Another thing about willpower is that it works better if a person is in a healthy state. Taking care of yourself is setting the groundwork for willpower to work well when you need it. More importantly, willpower takes work from the inside-out.
Your willpower relies upon the strength of your belief or your mindset. Coming from a place of positive belief strengthens your willpower and enables you to accomplish anything you set out to do in your life.
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Is Your Willpower Strong Enough?
We could all make good use of stronger willpower. We often put people with stronger determination than us on a pedestal, idealizing their energy and resolve in getting things done that we think we could not.
But we also need to remember that we're all human, capable of free will and making our own choices. By default, this is a great power we already possess.
The big take-away is that while many studies on willpower support the view that it can potentially become depleted with overuse, and even non-existent when we're not in the best condition, willpower, more importantly, is defined by our mindset.
The stronger a person believes that they can accomplish something, the greater the determination that will follow. If a person possesses a strong and positive belief that they can achieve what they set out to accomplish, their actions will power them through any life circumstances. Basically, while motivation is high, a test of willpower need not even be invoked.
The quality of our lives and whether we get things done or not isn't dependent on willpower only. Much of our "yes's" and "no's" in life can't be blamed on the weakness of our willpower. We can have various reasons for diminished willpower.
These might include not getting enough sleep, which resulted in our brain not working its best, or not being physically healthy or fit enough. Also, there are many times when we take an emotional ‘hit' that totally smashes our self-control mechanisms, and we make poor choices as a result.
But our ‘willpower' shines through when we have a strong and positive belief in what we are doing, regardless of whatever circumstance is right in front of us. For example, when we understand the purpose of our goals, we'll make better choices that aren't solely due to our strong willpower, but mainly because we have an important goal we're working on.
We take care of ourselves, so we can sustain the energy required of us, and at our best, we do what will help us and our goals become realized more easily.
Our willpower may depend on our physiological condition, but it also gets influenced by our beliefs. The more positive our mindset is, the easier we get things done. Even if things aren't as we wish they were, when we understand why we need to do something, our determination gets amplified and our resolve strengthened. There is great power in belief, regardless of the current state of our willpower.