A random philosophical musing: I think ‘willpower’ is misunderstood/overrated in the general sense. What exactly is ‘willpower’ — do we start each day with a limited supply of it? Do we ‘deplete’ our willpower as the day goes on? Can/how you replenish your will-power? And are some people born with more will-power than others? And if you don’t have enough ‘willpower’ — is it because you lack some sort of genetic deficiency, because you are “lazy” (attributable to your lack of effort), or can/should we blame our lack of willpower on external sources?
What is willpower?
First of all, let us break down the word ‘willpower’.
The word ‘will’ comes from Proto-Germanic (wiljana) which means ‘to desire/wish’, which comes from Proto-Indo-European, “welh” (which means to choose/wish).
So in the general sense, to “will” is to desire/wish something.
What does the word ‘power’ mean?
The word power comes from Latin (possum/posse) which means ‘to be able’.
Therefore we can consider if someone has the ‘power’ to do something, they have the ability/faculty to do something.
Therefore the word “will-power” should be defined as this:
To be able to do something you desire.
The difficulty/trouble with will-power is this: If you somehow lack the willpower to do something, others will judge you moralistically. If you don’t have willpower, others will negatively judge you as being lazy, incompetent, and perhaps consider you an ‘evil’/bad person.
But the hard thing is this: as individuals sometimes we lack either the ability to do something, or we don’t know what we desire.
Furthermore, sometimes we do desire something — but we mistakenly think that we don’t have the ability to do it.
For example, let’s say you want to start your own business. You got a great idea and concept, but you don’t think you have the ability to do it — because you believe yourself to lack resources, money, time, or something else.
This is self-doubt. This self-doubt comes from nay-sayers, negative “haters”, or what society or our parents have socialized us into believing. It is of my belief that if you grew up without having anyone believe in you or your dreams, it technically isn’t “your fault”; rather, you were unlucky that you were born into a life situation where you didn’t have the right support network. But the positive note is this: as an adult, you have the opportunity and power/ability to control and change your life! You can decide whom to spend time with, and whom not to spend time with. You can decide and control what to spend your time, attention, and money on. You have the power and opportunity to direct your life however you would like!
What do you desire?
This is another tricky thing: a lot of us don’t know what we desire in life. Not only that, but we must also consider: do we desire stuff (physical things?) Do we desire to obtain markings of external “success” (money, fame, influence, power)? Or do we desire to do stuff, desiring to create, or make stuff?
Personally I think we are most fulfilled when we are in the creative flow and zone of making stuff. I’m the happiest when I’m coming up with new ideas and sharing them with others. I’m happiest when I’m trying out new things, innovating new processes, discos discovering new things, learning new things, taking new risks, and taking on new challenges!
What do you desire in your life, and what do you desire to do, make, achieve, or create?
How to build more will power
So I will break it down with you; how we can build more willpower in a practical sense.
First of all, to build “willpower” we must build more strength in our ability to do stuff.
Part 1: Build your abilities and skills
Now, we can increase our abilities by the following:
- Learning how to do stuff, building our skills, our technical expertise or know-how (reading books, online courses, in person-courses or workshops, school, videos, information)
- Self doubting ourself less: Philosophically asking ourselves why we doubt ourselves, and asking ourselves, “Where does this self-doubt come from?” Not blaming yourself for doubting yourself, but trying to figure out practical solutions to overcome/conquer your self-doubt.
- Determining whether you’re suffering from “paralysis by analysis”: You are paralyzed into indecision because there are too many options in the modern world. My solution: just do it 80% “good enough” and publish, share, or create it! Also, creating your own “minimum viable product” (MVP), which is the minimum possible manifestation of whatever you desire to create or do. For example if your big dream is to own your own big restaurant, a “minimum viable product” may be starting your own food delivery service, where you do all the cooking and delivery (and you don’t pay for rent for a physical space).
Part 2: How to build your desire
A lot of us don’t know what we desire to do or achieve in life. And not only that, we don’t know whether our desires are genuine or not; sometimes we think we really desire to do something or achieve/possess something, but in reality, we were just spoon-fed that desire from advertising, social expectations/pressures, cultural values, etc.
I challenge you friend to spend some time to “Zen out”, disconnect yourself from the outside world (uninstall social media, distance yourself from negative people in your life) and really ask yourself:
“What do I truly desire in life?”
I don’t think there are any “right” or “wrong” answers here. Just be brutally honest to yourself.
Then ask yourself: how can I achieve my dreams? How can I do this thing I desire, everyday?
Then you can setup your life accordingly, to live our your dreams (I suggest everyday).
ERIC KIM PSYCHOLOGY
I cannot speak for you, but I’ll share my personal psychology with you.
In my life, I desire to seek the secrets of living the best possible life. I want to learn these truths/secrets in life and apply it to my own life, and of course I also want to share these discoveries with others.
So a lot of this in my life is self-experimentation, self-doubting, and self-introspection, risking, attempting, and trying out as well as learning new stuff.
At best I’ll live to be 100. At worst, I’ll die today by a distracted texting-while driving driver.
I value life and I love life. I love being alive, I love all people and humanity, and I want to empower all of humanity to be as happy, dope, fulfilled, and epic as possible. That’s it.
This is why I study philosophy, this is why I write, why I make videos, and why I share these ideas with you. Because I know what it feels to feel disempowered, I know what it feels to be depressed, I know what it feels like to lack willpower.
I don’t have all the answers for myself (yet), and I won’t have it all before I die. But that’s the fun and exciting thing; I’ll never stop striving, questioning, and exploring. I want to live my life to the fullest, and also help you live your life to the fullest.
So friend, once again; what do you desire to achieve in life? What’s holding you back (if anything)?
BE BOLD, be a little foolish, have fun, and put a dent in the universe!