Seeing your favourite treat in a cafe, feeling the overwhelming desire to have it and making the decision NOT to have it.
Power of will
Deciding on a course of action and living it out completely.
A high level explanation for how we make decisions
We receive information through our senses, which is interpreted at three levels.
1 – Fight or flight (0-1 second)
2 – Emotional (2-5 seconds)
3 – Logical (10-100 seconds)
Information always flows 1-2-3.
Will this hurt me?
How do I feel about it?
What do I think about it?
Will power is to over ride our emotional decision in favour of a reasoned decision.
Which does sound like a good thing right?
The problem is it takes up a LOT of energy to do this. It’s ALWAYS preferable to go with our emotional decisions, than it is to change our mind with logic.
“I don’t need that snickers bar”
“Just the two beers for me tonight”
“I’ll just have a small serve of ice cream”
The thing is, we know what we SHOULD do. We know what is best for us.
But knowledge is never enough, to get us to do it.
So when we know we should cut out sugar in order to lose weight, we start engaging our will power to stop ourselves from having it. But eventually we always cave into the craving and we eat something sugary. We associate this failure with a lack of will power. If I have more will power, then I’ll stop eating sugar.
The problem with this logic is, will power is a finite resource. No matter how much energy you have in the tank, you’ll eventually run out. Every time you stop yourself from having sugar, punching a stranger, shouting at a colleague… You are using up that will power.
When it’s late at night, you’ve had a big day, you got a flat tire and you’re completely tapped out… You’ll go straight for the sugary treat! You always revert back to your emotional decision.
You could be an ice cream eater, a drinker, a porn addict… You’ll always revert back to your deep behaviours when you’re tired.
Power of will is to enforce on ourselves an end result
It seems like improvement is the process of using our will power to make better individual decisions…
But even if we were able to make better decisions for a long period of time. Let’s say a whole year.
We somehow manage to lose 15kg making good decisions for 12 months.
Are we meant to keep this up forever?
4/5 people who lose weight put it back on within 12 months.
WIll power runs out and we always fall back onto our emotional decisions.
After a few weeks of dieting, all we feel is tired!
We probably think this is caused by the lack of calories, but in fact it’s due to huge toll using our will power places onto our mind.
Let’s take a step back…
If improvement is changing our behaviour and will power is over-riding our emotional decisions with more logical decisions. Then if we were to change how we perceive things at an emotional level. We wouldn’t need to evoke our will power.
Lets use the analogy of weight-loss.
Let’s say you need to make 3 changes to your behaviour to lose 25kg of fat.
1 – Eat
2 – Sleep
3 – Move
There’s a set of behaviours that keep you at 110kg.
There’s a new set of behaviours that will take you down 85kg.
You need to evoke will power at every step in order to bridge that gap… If that gap is really big, then you’re going to burn out really fast and give up. Often cursing your lack of will power.
So you could make the gap smaller and the energy cost lower by choosing smaller changes in behaviour…
But hang on…What causes our behaviours?
Remember earlier we mentioned that when we get tired we always fall back onto our emotional decisions?
So what we feel, is exactly what drives our behaviour.
The second level of decision-making, the emotional center, think of it like an autonomous personality. It represents our unconscious brain and is always working on problems without us being aware.
It’s job, is to save our brain energy!
We create beliefs about the world around us, based on our experiences, needs and values.
Our emotional brain, checks new information against this data and gives us an automated response before we’re even aware of it.
This is great, because it makes our brains super efficient. Imagine having to think about everything your entire day. Take a step, another step, open mouth, exhale, steer car – hand down – shift down.
We develop habits and rituals that make our day easier.
The problem is these short cuts, habits and rituals that form from our beliefs. Aren’t fact checked for health and safety.
So right now you have a set of beliefs that your brain checks against for congruencey.
“I love cake”
“I love beer”
“I hate exercise”
“Work comes first”
“Trying to change your behaviour without considering the underlying psychology is like trying to swim up a waterfall”
The ONLY way to make long-term behaviour change, to lose weight, quit smoking, get better at tennis, be a better person… Is to close the gap completely by changing your beliefs.
Aligning your beliefs with your goals, will eliminate the need for will power!
This is what is called Power of Will (or mental alchemy)
What set of beliefs will be more helpful to you for losing 10kg?
“I will get skinny. I really enjoy my walk everyday it makes me feel great. Fresh food is amazing I really feel the difference”.
“I’m sick of being fat. I love getting pizza on Fridays. I have to get a large coke at movies. I can’t exercise I’m busy”.
The discipline it requires to lose weight is not in the will power to PREVENT action.
It’s the mental discipline to exist on a plane above your thoughts.
You’re WILL is so powerful, you cannot out think it, out work it or over power it with desire.
The ONLY way is to REFRAME your perspective, in order to align your beliefs with your goals.
No longer will you wish yourself to be something, once you believe it completly, you BECOME that thing and it becomes you. You close the gap and you WILL reach your goal.
Once you learn how to apply your mental will – You can become or obtain anything you want