The Way to Will
Until 2001, Wang Enlin was happy living his life making dumplings and playing cards with his friends. All of a sudden his entire community was flooded with toxic wastewater from the overflowing drains of a chemical factory.
The 45-year-old farmer took the matter to his heart and started investigating and arrived at the conclusion that the factory was releasing 15, 000 to 20, 000 tons of chemical waste into the farmlands.
He escalated the matter to officials but failed to garner any interest in his cause. The primary school dropout decided to study law by himself, studying in a local bookstore and networking with people in the legal fraternity.
After 7 years of legal training, he took the evidence that he had collected to the courts. It took him another 9 years to bring the judiciary to rule in the favor of villagers. In November 2017, the chemical factory was asked to compensate the village a whooping £96,000 as the penalty for damages.
It must have taken some gold standard willpower and discipline from a semi-literate farmer in mid-age with the responsibility of a family on his shoulder to pursue against a business conglomerate for 16 odd years.
(Picture Credits : People’s Daily Online)
It is said that Human Will is the mother of all Change. Some people like Enlin are blessed with it, but for others, it can be developed. Will is a meta-skill, if you have a strong will, you can learn almost any skill. In this article, we delve deeper and get perspective into developing this meta-skill.
Here is what experts had to offer.
“Don’t let the judgment and validation of others affect the light within you. Seek opinion & counsel whenever necessary or in doubt but don’t burden yourself with other people’s judgment. Those who harshly judge have a very different perspective of life. Take note of the perspective and stay firm on your path.
Consistency and Discipline of any form is the most important tool for a Positive Mindset, since staying positive is a choice and not a condition. This directly results in stronger determination and willpower.” Devika Biswas
“Be patient with yourself on your journey to strengthen your willpower, remember willpower is not an emotion it is a thought.
You can train it like a muscle with the right training, practice, and maintenance you can strengthen and learn how to use willpower with great success.
Don’t allow stress to take over your thoughts. Learn how to manage daily stress and stressful situations using different techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.
Over time this helps with maintaining if not removing stress levels.”
“Will Power Application should be effortless.
It is important to make small realistic and achievable goals but remember just ‘One thing’ at a time. It could be installing a new habit or removing an old habit or making a lifestyle change or coping with stress etc.
For eg., if you want to cultivate a new habit like reading a book start with reading just one paragraph on the first day and gradually increase. That will become effortless willpower.
Do not unnecessarily suppress your urge, suppression leads to effortful willpower which does not last long nor does it strengthen our willpower. Instead of suppression use motivation and inspiration.
Do not take too much on and that applies to all and any facet of life.”
“Write down the list of achievements and keep looking at them often.
When we write down a list of achievements, it boosts our morale. Increased our frequency of vibration. When we vibrate at a higher frequency often, it creates a healthy pattern in the mind. When we look at our achievements, think about them and visualize them. It attracts more achievements towards us. The science behind this is called the law of attraction. So one important to do for willpower enhancement is to write your achievements and to take a look at them often.
Stop beating yourself up with negative criticism for failures. They focus more on what is not working as per their expectations. When we shift our focus from what is not working to what is working. We make it easy for ourselves.”
“I see willpower as our executive control or our ability for conscious choice-making.
The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets, like a muscle. But like a muscle, it also gets tired and depleted.
Making choices that are in alignment with our natural proclivities and for which we can see the longer-term consequences, is how we use this consciously and grow it.
Making choices AGAINST our natural grain (e.g. when we are in a job not suited to us, or in a toxic relationship), will tire us out daily. And life will seem like a constant battle. "
If you are trying to enhance your willpower traditionally, that is pushing yourself to get something done, then that is an uphill climb and a lot of effort!
It doesn’t work like this. In fact, ‘How do I enhance my willpower?’ is a wrong question to ask.
‘What are the things that make me jump out of my bed early in the morning in excitement?’
Now, this is the right question to ask.
If there is something that you find exciting, interesting, and if you can somehow infuse this in the work that you are trying to do… then you don’t need willpower. The road ahead will feel like a downhill, where gravity does the job for you!
Will Power is defined as the ability to decide to do something or restrain control to not do something. It is an effort that you make to work or achieve something that is matching your goals.
Things that help in enhancing the will are
Get clarity on what you want to do and why it is important for you. Have a clear plan on what will help you reach that goal.
It may not be that easy always, therefore we need to learn how to deal with barriers, unexpected circumstances, and stress. Identify what causes delays or makes it difficult to stick to your plans and work on those triggers.
Will power is related to the prefrontal cortex of the brain. It takes care of executive functioning and decision-making. To be able to utilize it fully it is interrelated to physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. So things like eating well, sleeping well, exercise, and self-talk are all aspects that impact the mind. This is something that needs to be practiced for it to be part of your daily lifestyle.
Training your mind to think before reacting can also be helpful.
Things that deplete will-power :
To avoid stress, stress robs you of your energy and impacts your thinking and ability to make health decisions. Having said that we will all encounter stressful situations, but learning how to manage them is something we can focus on.
Self-criticism is related to low motivation and poor self-control. To work on your thoughts and feelings related to self, how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake or find it difficult to exert self-control will impact your ability to maintain your willpower.
Avoiding temptations. To know the situations, people or places that may create that urge or temptation and to either avoid them or learn distraction strategies that can be helpful.”
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That’s all in this edition.
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