Will Power

Dear friend,

I wanted to write some personal thoughts on willpower. Specifically —

  1. What is “willpower”?
  2. How do we get more “willpower”?
  3. Why is willpower important?


1. What is will power?

I like the word willpower when broken into two words: will+power

Will: to exclaim that you will do something//proclaiming that it is a good and desirable thing.

Power: to have the strength and ability to realize your will into reality.

Thus, willpower is:

The strength and power to turn your passions, dreams, and visions into reality.

2. How do we get more willpower?

First of all, let me proclaim that willpower is good. In fact, it might be the most powerful thing we possess, or the most powerful thing we can control, harness, or leverage.

This is my thought:

We all have tremendous amounts of willpower that is lying inert within ourselves, yet — it is self-doubt and external doubt which holds us back.

Specifically — we have been trained and domesticated by society to NOT have strong willpower (for our own personal passions and dreams in life). We are only trained and brainwashed into thinking to having strong willpower for boring utilitarian purposes — studying for boring tests for boring classes, listening to our boring bosses, getting a boring (but well-paid job), and for doing things against our own will and desires.

The first step in increasing your willpower:

  1. Determine what you truly will for yourself (selfishness is good).
  2. Don’t desire any will for what OTHERS say is good for you (avoid tyrants of the will).

It’s my belief that when we dictate our own will, it is quite easy to work hard and hustle to achieve the desire of our will. Having willpower is only difficult when we are forced to do shit we don’t want to do.

3. Why is willpower important?

“Mind moves matter.” (Mens agitat molems)—Virgil [Aeneid]

Our biggest gift as human beings is our willpower. If we had no will (no desire)— life would certainly be boring, depressing, and not worth living. So first of all — having a Will is important. Then, we need to have the power to make these wills into a reality.

Willpower is important because everything interesting and epic we want to do, create, and achieve is hard and difficult. Our willpower is our obedient ox, which will help us do the heavy lifting to turn our dreams into a reality.

4. How to increase our power

Red triangle abstract by eric kim

Simple ideas:

  1. Abstain from alcohol or drug-substances which pacify you. I don’t think alcohol or drugs are bad in themselves. My thought is this: if you only have time after work to build your epic thing, drinking a beer or smoking weed is the opposite of drinking a cup of coffee (Elon Musk)— you’re not going to have the power to do whatever you desire to do. Generally speaking, depressants (downer substances) weaken our power. I don’t know any power lifter or bodybuilder who would drink a beer or smoke a joint before attempting a 400+ pound deadlift, or a 315 pound bench press.
  2. Abstain from sugar, carbohydrates, or any foods which make you sleepy afterwards and give you “food coma”. This will sap you of your energy.
  3. Start powerlifting or lifting heavy stuff at the gym. I actually think that 90% of powerlifting (deadlift, squat, benchpress) is mental. Whenever I go to the gym, it isn’t about getting big muscles or getting “ripped”— it is about me training my mind to focus, and to recognize that I have no limits. The stronger my body has become, the stronger my mind has become. Thus my theory is this: if you want to build more willpower in your mind, build more physical and muscular power (applies to both men and women).

5. Dictate what you care about

eric kim cross red black

To “curate” means to identify what you care about (“cura” in Latin). This means — you want to curate your own life; determine and proclaim what you care about in your own life. Don’t ask others what you should care about. You are the only person to dictate this — because nobody knows you but you.

Doves red eric kim wallpaper

Don’t worry about the moralistic or ethical judgements from others. If your passion is photography, go for it. If your passion is art, poetry, dance — go for it. If your passion is video games or rap music, go for it. There isn’t any good or bad goals. The only bad thing is to only half-heartedly pursue our passions and dreams. The good thing is to “put the pedal to the metal” and go 500mph in the direction you desire.

eric kim red seas

No guilt. Don’t feel any shame. If you determine something important to you, pursue it (ignore what others judge you as).

Conclusion: Never stop setting the bar higher

You cannot go from a 135 pound deadlift to a 405 pound deadlift overnight. Not even in a week, month, or a year. Muscles grow slowly. Strength grows slowly.

Yet — this is my idea:

Set the bar really high, and never stop pursuing your personal goals and dreams.

My secret of achieving a 405+ deadlift was simple:

Add 5 pounds to my “1 rep max” every week.

It took me many years to hit a 405 pound deadlift. From age 18 to age 28 (10 years). I wasn’t always successful every week (many weeks I couldn’t get the bar off the ground). But treat gravity like your fun coach — the challenge is what makes this fun and exciting.

Like Goku in the gravity chamber in Dragon Ball Z, if you want to become stronger, you must constantly add gravity, weight, and resistance if you desire to become stronger.

Never stop training your willpower, and setting the bar higher!



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