Before you think about getting more willpower, you will need to answer the most important question of all.
That question is…
Only after answering this question, you will be able to manufacture willpower out of thin air.
When you want something bad enough — bad enough to crawl through glass, you bypass many distracting, time-sucking bad habits in the process.
No one talks about this.
That’s why it’s pointless to talk about willpower if you don’t already have the want.
For you, it might be the to lose weight. To get fit. To make some side money. These are small wants that come and go. Eventually, you’ll land on the big want.
After that it’s just about focusing on maximizing willpower.
What does science say about willpower?
Science says we all have a limited amount of willpower.
People have tremendous willpower.
But how can this be?
If you believe in the science that people have limited willpower, guess what? You will have limited willpower. You will make excuses and point to science as a reason for your excuse.
You will say, “Man I just can’t seem to get things done. I read an article the other day saying people have limited willpower. Can’t argue with the scientists. Back to the porn and video games.”
If you believe people have tremendous willpower, guess what? You will have more willpower.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at all the 30-day challenges floating around the internet:
- 30-days of eating clean.
- 30-days of taking a cold shower.
- 30-days of body weight exercises.
Look at all the boot-camps, trainings, and programs people sign up for and pass. Even I took the Wim Hof 10-week breathing / cold shower therapy course.
Take a look at all the people who quit an addiction cold turkey. I’ve known people like this, and it’s an extraordinary feat of daily willpower.
Take a look at all the people who suffer through a dead end job. They don’t even have the will to get out of bed. But somehow they force themselves to get up and endure another day.
By the way, both statements above are true. People have limited willpower and tremendous willpower. I choose to live in the reality where people have more. If you want to know the books that influenced my thinking on this read up on:
In You Are the Placebo, the book covers the placebo effect. It’s an interesting phenomenon. If you believe a pill will cure you, give you focus, and energy, then you’re more likely to experience the effects even if the pills contains nothing.
Because you’ve sold your mind on the idea, the mind wants to produce the outcome. But it needs this pill to resolve the feeling.
If you’ve sold your mind that people have tremendous willpower, you will have more willpower. Whether that’s 10% more 50% more, who knows? All I know, is it’s more.
- People sell their minds to all kinds of bad habits and ideas that bring them down. The outcome is a life of misery and defeat.
Believing people have tremendous willpower is selling your mind on something that will make you take more, not less action. It’s living life on the offense.
If you’re going to sell your mind on something, it might as well get you something.
In the book Pre-suasion, female test takers have to write down their ethnicity. In another test, females have to write down their gender. It turns out, when Asian students write down their ethnicity the following happens:
Of all the demonstrations of how steering attention from one feature of a person’s inner geography to another can affect performance, I have a clear favorite: besides the belief that women don’t do well in math, there is the belief that Asians do. Prior to a mathematics test, researchers asked some Asian American women students to record their gender; others were asked to record their ethnicity.
Compared with a sample of Asian American women students who weren’t’ asked to record either characteristics, those who were reminded of their gender scored worse, while those reminded of their ethnicity scored better.
What do Asian students have to do with willpower?
It’s to show you that the human mind is both rational and irrational.
We try to apply rational ideas when an irrational idea is the answer. People are not ok with an irrational answer because often times it’s abstract and unexplainable.
- This is the reason you see $9.97 instead of 10$ when you walk into any grocery store.
On the surface, we all know there’s not much difference between the $9.97 item and the 10$ item, however, our brain will automatically compare the two and choose the $9.97 item instead.
Boosting your willpower is the same concept. It’s irrational to think humans have tremendous amounts of willpower because we are surrounded by weak-willed people all the time.
But it’s also true that people can sell themselves on ideas that will make them take more action, even if its in the form of a pill that contains nothing.
If you were looking for a rational answer to, “How do I get more willpower?” Then you have to re-wire your brain and accept the fact that irrational answers exist.
Selling your mind to believe in irrational ideas happens all the time. Take a look at the crazy things people believe.
Why not sell your mind to believe people have tremendous willpower?
At least you will get something out of it.