A scene from long ago, in my twenties. I was visiting the parents of my back-then girlfriend. Her father offered me an apple. I said “No thank you”. He kept insisting that I have an apple, it would be good for me. “No thanks“, I repeated. He was still holding the bowl of fruits out in front of him. Then he grabbed an apple and put it into my hand, still insisting. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Eat!” I got upset, put the apple back into the bowl and shouted
“I don’t want your fucking apple!“
The guy recoiled, visibly shocked. My girlfriend who had heard the exchange said “What is wrong with you? Why are you upset over an apple? He’s trying to be generous!” Her mother chimed in with “Just be polite and take the apple. What’s the big deal? If you’re not hungry now, you can eat it later“. I said, for the third time, this time loudly “I don’t want the apple. I don’t like apples. I’m not eating the apple!” My girlfriend took me aside and asked me why I’m so stubborn. Her Dad is just trying to socialize and bond with me. Why am I being difficult? “You know Fred, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall“. Sometimes she wondered if I’m the right guy for her. Her brother suggested that if I behave this way socially, I’ll become a loner. He had “found out” that I’m a “very difficult person to get along with“.
It may seem like a small thing. I could have eaten the apple and then had “peace” but a subdued will. That was the whole point of her fathers act. They all thought I was in the wrong to maintain freedom of choice. Within a matter of minutes, I had been pressured, shamed and emotionally blackmailed (“I don’t know if you’re the right guy for me“) for something as insignificant as an apple. I had been called stubborn, a loner and difficult to get along with.
It’s surprisingly common to use guilt, shame and anger in an attempt to weaken peoples’ will. It always starts with small things and progresses to increasingly bigger demands to your personal energy. None of this was just about an apple. Her father had been domineering his daughters life for a long time, forbidding her to pursue a certain career, change her hair color or even travel abroad, even though she was an adult. She had started to rebel against him ever since being with me. I was a “bad influence” on her because her will was awakening. His aim was to subdue me to his will, starting with an innocent apple. The family was shocked I had refused his demands because they had already succumbed and were scared to contradict him. “If he just wants you to eat the apple, what can be the harm in that?” the mother later asked me. I saw the harm in the entire family. They were being controlled and emotionally blackmailed by one negative man. From that day forward he never tried to persuade me again. One strong-willed person had come up against another. The difference between him and me: He used his strong-will to control people, I used it to control myself.
Most of the issues I go through with people in my coaching work, relate to willpower. If you have a strong will and willingness to achieve something, nothing can stop you. And yet the world appears to conspire to weaken your will. But these conspirators are really helping you strengthen your will. Why do psychopaths abuse other people? Because we let them. In my last article I talked about how the evil-minded test the will of people and only start scheming for abuse when they find weak will. If someone is strong-willed, evildoers get scared and back off. Don’t get hypnotized into the false belief that weakening your will is somehow “for the best” and to “keep the peace”. If you go down that path, you’ll soon be experiencing all sorts of realities you didn’t choose. You’ll have a job, a partner, a hobby, a house, a car, conversations, activities and thoughts that are far away from who you are in your heart.
I had exercised my will since childhood and it got me in trouble with my parents and in school. I knew I’d either become spiritual, an artist, an entrepreneur or a criminal because those are the only types who operate outside of mass-consciousness. The weak willed say “just tell me what to think and I’ll think it” and “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”. The will is a quality of your spirit or higher-self. The stronger your spirit shines, the stronger your will becomes. The strength of your will can be seen in your eyes. I can see in your eyes whether you are capable of developing a strong vision for your future and sticking to it.
In my recent book “Clearing Entities“, the presence of foreign energies is defined as “doing involuntary actions”. The more voluntary your actions, the less you are subject to external influence or even your own hypnotically repeated habits. Try doing something out of the ordinary, breaking your routine. Notice what happens. Feeling uncomfortable doing it? Is someone close to you questioning you? In this case you have some will-developing to do.
From a recent coaching: Without being consciously aware of it, my student had fallen into a daily routine which he hadn’t deviated from for years. That’s hypnotic, no personal WILL involved. I asked him when the last time was he’s been to the library. “Library? I haven’t been to a library since childhood“. So I asked him to go to the local public library and spend a few hours there enjoying the books. A very simple task it would seem. I talked to him a few days later and it turned out he hadn’t gone. “It just seems like a waste of time to me” he said. What he’d done instead: The same routine he’d been doing for many years with zero deviation. I explained how one small deviation from the rut can open up much more than just a library visit. It’s not about the library, we could have chosen any of thousands of activities outside of his rut. So he went. And that got his wife worried. “Where are you going? Library? But why?” His wife was unconsciously also holding him in this life-pattern because she was scared of seeing him differently. Even a simple and innocent thing as him visiting a library, scared her. It wasn’t like he was going to a night club, it was just a library – and yet, she suspected he might be having an affair because she hadn’t seen him deviate from his routine for years.
Willpower is the ability to break routine, to make conscious choices, to be committed (to stick to something until it’s done), to be specific in your intentions, to have a high frustration-tolerance (to be resilient and not easily overwhelmed), to take swift action, to sometimes be able to act regardless of current mood and state.
There are hundreds of things that grow willpower. An act of courage – doing something you were afraid of doing even though you wanted to do it, committing to a goal and seeing it through, doing something you thought too difficult, breaking bad-habits, doing a thing you haven’t done before, letting go of things that no longer belong, asserting yourself when you normally wouldn’t, finishing a task you were procrastinating on but also putting off something you felt is very important (yes, these are opposites, but both can strengthen your will), doing something you want to get over with quickly, more slowly, making many small and big decisions, doing something that would normally embarrass you, and speaking your truth despite being aware of strong disagreement.
I’ve just given you a list of exercises you could do if you wanted to strengthen your will. IF you have some willpower, you will take the paragraph above and turn each item into an exercise. If you have little will of your own, you’ll just skim over it and soon forget it.
Because most people are weak-willed, I’d normally turn the paragraph above into a bullet list, so that it’s easier to read. If I were a marketer rather than a coach, I’d pamper you with that bullet list. Or I’d turn it into a video because many are too lazy (weak-willed) to read. Or I’d provide example exercises to each point. Or I’d go even further and provide a calendar day for each exercise. All of this would be me providing more energy to compensate for the readers lack of energy. “I just don’t have the time and attention to read all this…could you summarize it in bullet points?” one might ask. By this you understand that a weak will is caused by lack of energy. And then you know that maintaining a high energy level is the most important thing you can do. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep and learn about energy levels. If you don’t have the time and attention to learn new things, maybe you need to rethink your entire lifestyle?
“How can I sign up for your seminar? I don’t know how to sign up?” someone asked me on social media recently. Any sane marketer or business person would have sent the person a link for sign-up, but I didn’t. Maybe I’m crazy. My philosophy is that if a person is too weak-willed to find the sign-up link, they won’t have the willpower required to succeed in the course. Finding the sign-up link, which is easily found on the front page of this website, the live-courses page of this website, an article on this website, pinned to the top of my twitter, linked in the related video on YouTube and even contained in this article, is the minimum skill required for participation 🙂
Will is developed bit by bit over a lifetime. You increasingly notice what you PREFER. The more you act on what you PREFER, the more areas-for-improvement you notice and you improve them. The more I exercise my will, the greater my options become. I’ve made use of my free will, so I get more to choose from.
Don’t use your will to overpower others, just like you don’t let others overpower you. Let others develop their will. If your will clashes with the will of another and you have two wills in the same household or company, find a third option that pleases you both.
A strong-willed person asks: “Who says I have to do things a certain way?” Who says I have to eat three meals a day? Who says I have to stay awake all day and sleep all night? Where do these ideas come from? Why do so many people impose rigid rules on themselves? Who is running my life – me or “society”? Some time ago, I quit using sunscreen. It’s because I noticed all kinds of “sunspots” developing on my skin. I intuitively sensed it’s from the chemicals I keep putting on my face. The spots are slowly receding. Sure, I get out of the sun if it gets too much. Shade – that’s my natural sun protection. Who says I “need” sunscreen?
A strong-willed person can “just stop”. Imagine being able to just stop any activity instantly. You’re in the middle of writing an email. Or you’re mowing the lawn. Or you’re in a heated conversation. Or you’re out playing golf. Or you’re attending a conference. How many of you could just STOP in the middle of whatever you’re doing? It takes strong-will to do that because once we’ve made a decision, we’re driven to see it through until the end. It was our WILL that made the decision and it’s our WILL that stops it midway. Yes, I understand that it requires WILL to see an action through until the end and not to give-up midway. I’m not talking about giving up when things get uncomfortable, that’s not willpower. I’m talking about consciously making a new decision that contradicts your previous one. You decided to write the email, mow the lawn, hold the conversation, play golf, attend the conference, then you suddenly decide not to. I’m not saying that’s a good thing to often do. It’s much better to see your decisions through to the end. But you should have the ability to not only create a certain momentum but also to stop it. Not all momentum you create serves you. You don’t have to complete things that don’t serve you, you can quit. If it serves you, you can complete it. But even here it would be powerful if you could – sometimes – interrupt the activity. Why would you want to interrupt something that serves you? Because people get addicted to minor successes and are giving their WILL away to the momentum. You don’t have to abdicate your will. You can always restart what you interrupted.
A strong-willed person can “just start”. Some people ask me how I’m able to produce so many things. It’s all a matter of will, of spirit. Will “just starts”. But there is a way I make a task easier. A lot of energy is expended if I keep focus on task A consistently. Instead, I shift focus between tasks A, B, C and D. Through attention-shifting, I keep interest fresh. In writing this article, I was able to keep focus on this one task without shifting. That’s because my interest in the topic is high. But if the task were boring – such as doing my taxes for last year – I would mitigate the energy required by focusing on A (the taxes), then B then back to A, then C then back to A, etc. IF I were even stronger willed I could surely maintain focus on even something boring as taxes.
Just start, just stop, just change, just revert back, just decide, just re-decide, just do it, just think it, just say it. By exercising your will, you exercise your very essence.
To learn more about willpower, see my book Success Attracts Success.