Sketch on iPad Pro and Procreate App


Sketch on iPad Pro and Procreate App
Sketch on iPad Pro and Procreate App

What is willpower, where does it come from, is it desirable to have more willpower, and how can we increase our willpower?

HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower You >

1. My interpretation


First of all, all organic human beings have WILLPOWER.

  • WILL: A desire to do something
  • POWER: The ability to exert your influence or domination upon reality


What do you desire out of life, or want?

WILL is a good thing. DESIRE is a good thing.

Having a WILL, a PURPOSE, or a DESIRE to see something manifested in your life is a good thing. This is where you gain a DRIVE or STIMULUS in your life.



Having the ability or the means to exert your will upon reality.

POWER can be exerted yourself, over others, or on physical reality.

You can exert your power over yourself — to WILL yourself to do something you desire.

To have POWER is also linked to social life —your ability to influence others, culture, or societal norms or ideas.

4. Why willpower?

To me, all we got in life is

  • Our willpower
  • Our guts
  • Our intuition
  • Our ingenuity
  • Our hustle
  • Our appetite for risk

The good thing about these things: they are all mental. They are all things we can cultivate, grow, and strengthen. They don’t require money, or external resources.

5. Why I desire more willpower for myself

The more you can build your willpower, the more control and freedom you can gain in your life.

The more willpower you have, the more happiness you have in life — because you feel you have autonomy, the OPTION of doing what you want to do in life, and to avoid frustration of not seeing your desires manifested in reality.

6. I hate not having control

To me, the thing I hate the most is:


To have someone tell me I cannot do something —this is the thing I hate the most.

Now of course, I must listen to the law. Yet, when it comes to social customs or “rules”—I want to have the freedom to do what I want, how I want to do it, and according to my own rules.

Ultimately , we have the freedom to live our everyday life the way we want to. We also have the freedom to make art according to our own rules. We should not be forced to live otherwise.

7. In praise of entrepreneurship

If you want true freedom in life, the only way I see you to have full autonomy over your life is to become a self-employed entrepreneur —who can dictate your daily schedule, your work schedule, and your life. Unfortunately this is one of the downsides of living in a capitalistic society — only the entrepreneurs (bearers of risk) have more freedom and control in life.

8. Get the maximum upside, minimum downside from your job

Another idea:

Keep your day job, but just do the minimum amount of work at your job not to get fired.

Then you have 100% freedom before work, during your lunch break, and after work, and on weekends.

When you’re not working, turn off your work phone. Disconnect your work emails from your personal phone. Refuse to work when you’re out of the office. This is gonna prevent you from getting raises, or advances in your career — but if you don’t really care for money, honor, or prestige (rather, you value your personal freedom above all)— this is the option I would recommend.

When I realized at my old 9-5 office job that I was just another “cog in the machine” and all the extra effort I was putting in my job wasn’t leading anywhere —rather than complain, I decided:

I’m just gonna do the minimum at work, to collect my paycheck, and to have security. Then on the side, I am going to pursue my photography entrepreneurship passion 100%. And I’m gonna see if I can build up my side photography business on the side, and maybe one day— I can “jump ship” and make a living from my photography.

That day forward, I felt freedom in my heart — even though I was confined to my cubicle prison during working hours.

9. I was lucky

Anyways, I got lucky — I got made redundant from my job. The company was losing profits, and they cut a lot of people to save money. I got a modest severance package, cashed my stock options, and decided to pursue my photography entrepreneurship passion 110%.

10. Question yourself

Photograph by Cindy Nguyen

Sorry friend, I got off track (as always).

My suggestion for you:

Ask yourself,

Do I lack willpower in my life?


Am I lacking the will… or the power?

If so, what do you want to do about it in your life? Do you want to change, or not?

Conclusion: Take control of your life

Red eyes. Kyoto, 2017
Red eyes. Kyoto, 2017

In the meanwhile, let me philosophize about how to increase willpower. I’m in the same boat as you — trying to figure out what willpower actually is, and ways to manipulate our mental psychology to become more mentally powerful and resilient.

KUROSAWA x ERIC KIM / Seven Samurai
KUROSAWA x ERIC KIM / Seven Samurai

In the meanwhile, if you want to figure out how to create your own photography business or startup, or how to monetize your photography or passion, read my PHOTOGRAPHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101 series.



HAPTIC INDUSTRIES: Creative Tools to Empower You >

Scroll to Top