One Thing Leads to Another…

Is it Motivation or The Power of Will?

Will Power"Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear." - Dan Millman

The other day I was having a conversation with a gentleman regarding quitting a habit he had.  It just so happened I had recently quit a habit I have had since I was a teenager: drinking Dr. Pepper.  For me, a habit had been formed and a dependency created around the sweet, bubbly, caffeinated cola.  I decided one day that since both my parents now have diabetes, perhaps I should change some of my habits now, and so I did.

I told the gentleman that I had decided to make the change and from one day to the next had made it.  ‘Wow,” he said.  “You have incredible will power.  I don’t have that kind of will power.  I have wanted to quit smoking for years and just can never do it.  You must be very strong willed.”

I have thought about this subject and led people through this topic for some time.  This is something that challenged me greatly in my younger years.  Why, when two people are faced with the same choices, will one succeed and one fail?  Will power, we say.  One has strong power of will and the other lacks it.

I don’t think so, and this is how our conversation progressed:

Me:  “How long have you held your job?”

Him:  “15 years.  Never missed a day.”

Me:  “You could have just stayed home.  Why not just miss one day?  That’s a lot of years to not miss a day!”

Him:  “I suppose you are right.”

Me:  “Do you think it took will power every day to get up, regardless of how you felt, and get to work?”

Him:  “I guess it did!”

Me:  “I don’t think you lack will power.  I think you lack the motivation to apply your will”

What I was trying to get across was that he HAS will power.  He just didn’t have the motivation to apply it.  I told him that once he felt strongly enough about it or had the motivation to make the change, he would have an easy time quitting.

He had never looked at it in this way.  I encouraged him that he was perfectly strong enough to do whatever he set his mind to.  He had already proved that.  His job is evidence of that.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." - Mahatma Gandhi

I told the man that I think we are all born with strength of character and strength of will, among many other things.  Some people have figured out how to harness their will power so that their mere decision to do something is enough to engage their will power.  Most need to find their motivation in the individual circumstance(s) in order to engage their will power.

When you are faced with a circumstance that you want to change or a habit you need to break, rest assured that you likely have more than enough will power.  First ask yourself, do you want to change?  Then ask, why do I want to change?  If the why is strong enough for you personally, your will power will be strong enough to make the change.

"What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that's another matter." - Peter F. Drucker