In my experience too often clients confuse will power with commitment. “If I am forcing myself to do this I am committed to it.” In reality this conflict illustrates a lack of commitment at the deepest level within ourselves.
I hear people tell me all the time that we need discipline to succeed. We do. We need to have an aspiration and the discipline to make it happen.
What we don’t need is will power. It shouldn’t take will power. Is there a contradiction here?
No. Discipline is the working through a process such as training to run a mini, half or full marathon, it’s training and studying every day for an upcoming exam. Will power is often seen as the motivation to do these things; to get off the couch and out the door or over to the desk. When we need will power we are fighting against ourselves; we are telling ourselves we have to do something when we have not committed to it and there are competing desires for our resources. Let me illustrate this with an example.
I remember a colleague many years ago who smoked 60 cigarettes a day and had tried numerous times using will power to quit (unsuccessfully!) I heard he had a heart attack with a long stay in Intensive Care. I met him again a few months later. He was out and about, in great form and not smoking. I asked had it been hard to give up this time. His reply was simple “Stephen, when I was in that bed and saw the alternative it became very easy.” He didn’t need Will power because he had found the higher motivation ; that one idea, belief or desire that did not compete against the others but trumped them all.
When we find that one idea which is aligned with our core values then all will fall into place. The universe shifts to present opportunities to create that desired outcome. A number of things happen. Firstly, our environment changes to make it flow easier. We no longer sit in the couch with people avoiding their training sessions; we find people who will and do run. Secondly, we do not need Will power; our activity and behaviour becomes an expression of our highest desire so the idea of forcing it becomes alien and unnecessary. We go with the flow and stop creating an internal conflict. As the athletes say, we get into the zone (increasingly the scientists say this is all about our Default Mode Network being activated or allowed.) As a mentor of mine says “These things are hard; until they’re not”
These show us a number of questions we should ask about our current behavior:
What environment have I created?
So if I want to study do I have a physical environment that supports that? …. are my family, friends and colleagues understanding and supportive? If not we are fighting those things and creating a conflict.
We think it is will power that helps us win that fight but really it is a symptom, a clue that there is a conflict in what we have crated and what we say we wish to achieve. Normally this means we have not committed to that which we wish to achieve. We have not found the “Until it’s not” motivator or higher/core purpose; that which we are trying to fulfil and become.
How do we find this point of fulfilment?
We can try a number of tools such as Mindfulness – bringing compassionate awareness to how we are currently behaving and acting.
We can work with coaches or mentors, we can become less busy and rise above the fog. In short we need to create silence so we can listen to our own self rather than the stories and expectations of others. We need to create silence to recognise our true goals and act on these.
This may seem hard. We create all the barriers to this silence such as where will I find the time , I should be busy, I need to keep in touch on social media etc. but when we understand the world of possibility and fulfilment this key recognition opens up it opens up, when we see the “Until it’s not” moment any project, idea or goal stops being a challenge and simply is a becoming; a becoming of who we truly are. We flow and sudently realise we do not need Will Power to fulfill our own potential
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