These are the qualities I want from my Internet connection:
ANYWHERE ACCESS no matter where: Vegas, Nepal, my porch.
ANYTIME ACCESS 24 hrs/day, 7 days a week.
SOLID SIGNAL. Strength.
SPEED. Accessibility right now.
EASY SET UP, no hassle.
SIMPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE to do the hard stuff.
Since I run my business online, all the above are requirements, must-haves, not just things I notice if they fail.
These are also the requirements I have of my willpower – a tool I use to live a productive life and do things I don’t always want to do. You know it: willpower is the force you muster when you don’t want to do something beneficial like exercise, eat healthy, write, finish your work, take the dog out, etc. At it’s most basic, willpower is what allows you to wave hello, pick up a chopstick, and get out of bed. It’s also what people argue about: “It’s not willpower but systems that trick your mind.” “No, use will power to help you trick your mind.”
I live in a world where whatever works I’ll use, so I use will power to get things done and trick my brain into doing things. I keep sneakers near my bed so I trip over them to remember to go to the gym, but when I fall back asleep, will power forces me back up. And no amount of will power in the world stops me from eating less than twenty cookies in a box, so I trick myself by not buying them.
Anything worth doing is worth doing with enthusiasm, and will power is great because it’s a tool you actively make stronger through practice. Each time you use will power to do something good, you create new grooves in your brain that enable you to keep improving and to keep doing good things. It’s the perfect virtuous cycle: you harness your will to do good things, those good things create new grooves in your brain, those grooves strengthen your will, and a strong will enables you to continue to do good things.
Since my success or failure partially depends on the degree to which I can access my will power, it’s a great way to live to always be strengthening your will. For the curveballs life throws, and they will come, a strong, fast, reliable will power is one of your best defenses.
At it’s most potent, will power is deeply connected to a “why” – the reason you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. To strengthen your will, your reason and intention have to come from a deep part of you that knows why you’re doing all this.
I believe that along with a “why,” will power is directly connected to the Infinite – a vast, abundant source of energy in the universe that we tap into when we need it. Call it God, the cosmos, whatever, there’s a source that combined with your own will, is tremendously powerful and available anytime. Like how moms suddenly lift cars when their babies are underneath them. Where does all that power come from all of a sudden? I know exactly where: that mother’s exertion of her own strong will (internal) combined with a greater source of power (external.) And that’s how babies get saved, ya’ll.
Though I haven’t lifted cars, I’ve seen my own will in action more times than I can count, and it’s grown to be a very reliable tool in my life. I’ve willed very specific things into existence like mentors, helpful resources that come exactly when I need them, be they financial or emotional, and solutions to problems I’d given up on. I once used my will to make it through a college exam while so severely sick and feverish that I emanated heat to the guy next to me. I used my will three years ago to design exactly the life I am living right now down to the people I work with, my circle of friends, even to the necklace I’m wearing right now.
You are your own powerhouse with a strengthened, responsive will.
Since it’s clearly that important, here are ways to think about and work with your will power, no matter what your station or situation in life.
1.) ANYWHERE ACCESS
Remember that no matter where you are, your will power is with you. Will power is your ability to manifest enthusiasm and energy. For anything. You can use it to finish your Monday to-do list, write your article, or go to the gym. Don’t worry if you’re down and out, discouraged, or simply lazy. You still have access to your will power and it won’t judge you. Just remember to use it, that it’s there.
Instead of numbing out or doing exactly what you did yesterday, exert a little will power to push through the mental barrier of “nothing will change.” Screw that voice. Screw the fact that you’ve repeated behaviors for years. It makes no difference because you have, at your disposal this very minute, the exact amount of will power you had then, years ago when you thought you could accomplish something. It’s still there! How lovely that our reserves doesn’t go away even though our enthusiasm and energy do. Use it!
2.) ANYTIME ACCESS
You can access your will power anytime. In a conference room, on the subway, in the smack dab middle of an awkward situation where you’ve just said something dumb. No matter what, tap into the well of wisdom and energy within you and remember that you’re not alone. The vast source of energy is here with you, so use it to rectify the situation. Correct yourself, excuse yourself, initiate the difficult conversation with your girlfriend or boss. It’s okay. To come back to a moment unflustered after embarrassment, rejection, or discouragement takes enormous will power. And grace. But remember, you have both of these qualities in droves, so simply use them and don’t beat yourself up.
3.) SOLID CONNECTION
There’s nothing more annoying than an internet connection that fails you when you need it most – like the beginning of your TED talk. Similarly, when you need it most, like in challenging situations where you’re lost and not sure what to do, or the rug’s been pulled out from under you, or you’re just getting smacked around by life, USE your will power to center yourself. This one takes training and doesn’t happen overnight. Use your will to remember that your core is strong and getting stronger by the day because you are practicing.
The stronger the breeze, the stronger the trees. Your willpower helps you remember this when you need it most.
You don’t want to wait for access to will power when you’re thrown off center by a rude comment, a selfish person, a bad seafood allergy. Your ability to regain balance and a semblance of control without freaking out is controlled by your will power. In situations where you have to recover almost instantaneously, you’ll thank yourself for practicing with your will for as long as you have. Use it to overcome automatic behaviors and reactions you may normally exhibit, like panic or anger.
5.) EASY SET UP
You’ve seen that will power is worth it’s weight in gold if you train yourself to consistently use it. This however, can only be done by you. Unlike someone who can hook you up to the Internet, strengthening your will is a solo job, and like the Internet, it can be frustrating, awkward, and take getting used to. You’ll need to go through the sucky phase of being a beginner before your will serves you, but I know from experience that if you practice without beating yourself up, progress happens much sooner than you think.
6.) CUSTOMER SERVICE
Remember who the customer service department is in your life
When solving your problems in life, the sources you get help from are important. It’s not your best friend, or your mom, or your boss that ultimately solve your problems, it’s your job to deal with life’s annoyances at the end of the day – whether you get yourself out of a bad mood or finally do that thing you’ve put off for two months. You do that by accessing your will power. And just like any customer service department, you get ahead by being polite to yourself while going through the process.
Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing with enthusiasm and vigor. Will power with a deep “why” is your greatest tool to accomplish what you want to in life, but it’s up to you to channel it. With practice, because training your will takes as much if not more energy than actually using it, you’ll see just how beneficial a strong and ready-to-fire will really is.