Welcome back, folks! Today’s blog post is about the importance of developing and maintaining an indomitable will! Willpower is very important. Whether you’re in high school, university, a professional athlete or some 9-5 desk worker. It can determine whether you fail or succeed at many things in life or life in general.
So sit back, take some notes, and see why you should work on improving your willpower.
What is will, and willpower?
According to a quick Google search. Will is the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action. It is the strength of your character. While willpower is the actual ability to control yourself and to have the determination which allows you to do something difficult.
Some people see willpower as basically self-control. While this is true, I also feel that will is a form of resiliency, perserverance, and determination. Especially when coupled with a predetermined purpose in life (a goal).
A little Dungeons and Dragons anyone?
I decided to write about willpower because I think it’s the most important trait a person can have. Many people think the most important trait someone can have is intelligence or strength or cunning. Nope. The most important trait in life is willpower, which is followed closely by discipline. The two are actually closely related traits and build off one another.
You may be wondering why the header says Dungeons and Dragons. Well, if you’ve read some of my previous posts you’ll know that I like Dungeons and Dragons. You’ll also know that my favorite character class to play is the paladin. Nerdy, I know. But hear me out. If you’ve ever played D&D before or any role playing game or even a massively multiplayer online game like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The paladin is quite possibly the strongest character class (or type of person) available.
Roll a Saving Throw for Will, add Wisdom modifier.
Whoa, wait, what? Why exactly is the paladin the strongest character (both in game-world and in real life)? And what the heck is a saving throw or wisdom modifier? Simple. The paladin is the strongest character class there is exactly for the same reason Rocky Balboa is the strongest boxer in movie history. Rocky says it best in Rocky Balboa:
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”
And that is the essence of a paladin. A “tank” if you will. This character isn’t the fastest, he isn’t the strongest, heck he isn’t even the smartest, but he knows exactly who he is, what he wants, and he can take a beating like no other person can.
Now, I brought D&D and the paladin into the mix for a specific reason. I personally think willpower go hand-in-hand with all the character attributes that make a paladin what he is. This character needs a lot of wisdom, a lot of charisma (force of personality), and decent constitution. Translated to normal speak that basically means a person that has a strength of character, a hearty body, and fierce determination. Designed to take as much damage as possible, the paladin will always come out alive at the end when everyone else has either fallen or fled.
Is it really a wonder why I like knights?
Just in case you’re wondering… what on Earth is a paladin? A paladin is basically a knight that has pledged to protect the innocent and uphold the law. They are warriors, just like knights, but paladins have taken oaths to defend truth and justice, and to vanquish their perceived evils anywhere they find it. They were believed to take origin under Charlemagne, known as the twelve Paladins of Charlemagne. The famous Roland being one of them.
They’re granted certain divine or mystical powers from God or their chosen deity. Obviously, this is in the in-game world. However, like I said in previous posts, we all should seek to be godly, who knows what strengths lie within us?
FYI: Knights were mainly just soldiers with gentlemanly qualities.
So, how does one become a paladin? How do we increase our willpower?
Well, being 2017, you really can’t become a real bonafide paladin anymore. And I would hope not. I’m sure many of them would have been known to be called zealots in their time. However, you can definitely fortify your will and increase your willpower. You can be Rocky-like and go take what you want in life.
The power of the mind is so important. It’s so important that nearly every fable, every story, every movie and every game out there has (incorrectly) placed intelligence as the dominant attribute to have. You need to be smart in order to cast spells. Or you need to be cunning to win the race. Thankfully, though, we now know the true superstar of the mind. Willpower. The ability to get your “head right” under any condition, the ability to persevere through hard times, to have self-control over your actions, and the willingness to forego short term pleasure for long term success.
Boost your willpower!
The first 7 tips come from Denise Cummins, Ph.D. on Psychology Today. Actually, a more appropriate statement would be I took the first 7 tips from Psychology Today.
- Don’t keep yourself in a constant state of willpower depletion. Working out willpower is like working out your muscles, you need to have rest days. Though I’m sure willpower doesn’t actually grow during rest periods like muscles do, you can’t overload yourself.
- Use your imagination. Imagination goes a long way to improving willpower. It helps to ease the pain and often can brighten your mood when things are a bit more on the annoying side. Imagine yourself becoming who you want to be.
- Think about something else. This kind of is like the previous tip. Don’t think of the problem that is ahead of you, but imagine or think of something entirely different. Eventually, time will pass and you’ll be stronger for it.
- Build good habits. Build good habits is like practicing good technique. If you practice poorly, you’ll most likely not perform that well when everything is on the line. Good habits can reinforce your mental self-control and restraint.
- One step at a time. From my advice on procrastination, cut things into smaller pieces and tackle them one at a time.
- Be yourself. Sound advice for anything really. Not fighting yourself and what you want will help boost your willpower tremendously.
- Don’t put yourself in temptation’s way, or if you do, have a plan. I don’t agree with this. I’ve always been a fighter and believe that challenges are meant to be overcome not ran away from. Yes, it’s important to have a plan for anything, but you have already failed if your first thought is you’re too weak to overcome temptation.
Now for my own advice.
A lot of the previously mentioned tips talked more about ways to handle situations like not eating an ice cream cone because you’re trying to lose weight. They help get you through times when you kind of feel like you don’t want to do something. Which is fine, but not really all that helpful especially when you apply the “Just do it” method.
My advice, however, will help you build an indomitable will. Where nothing can knock you down or at least for too long. The human will and willpower are closely related to discipline, perseverance, and self-confidence. Use these to help you forge the determination to succeed. An iron will, so to speak.
Rio’s Top 5 Ways to Strengthen Willpower (Will)
- Build up your confidence. Every day in the morning look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re the best. That you can do anything you put your mind to. That nothing can hold you back.
- Understand that rejection is natural and that it is actually better for you than success. It builds your character and helps you bounce back and keep moving forward. Make a goal to get rejected at least 5 times a day. Whether it be asking someone out on a date, proposing a new process or idea at work, or trying out for some extracurricular activities. Get out there, and get rejected!
- Discipline. This is very important to fortify your willpower. So important that I’ll write a separate post about it later. But a quick way to improve discipline is to think of one small thing you want to do and do it at least 5 minutes a day, every day.
- Get in shape. I can’t stress this enough in all my posts. Your mind follows your body and a weak body means a weak mind. How can you expect to take the physical punishments of the world with a weak body? A rejection (and verbal abuse) have scientifically been proven to cause more long-lasting pain than actual punches and can amazingly cause physical damage as well. This isn’t a workout blog (yet), but an easy way to start is to do 20 jumping jacks, 10 pushups, and 1 minute of high-knees (running in place bringing your knees as high as they can go) every day in the morning. You can build on this by incorporating more reps and sets later.
- Read. Yep, that’s right. Find inspirational books and writings about real-life people that have struggled, failed, and bounced back to kick butt and take names. You’ll be surprised to find out that most successful people weren’t born successful. They failed many times at their endeavors until that one break which was awarded to them because they had the indomitable will to persevere through failure and find success. Celebrities like JR Rowling, George Lucas, and even Rocky himself, Sylvestone Stallone, failed before their big break. Stallone, falling so low that he became homeless and had to sell his dog.
The Iron Will
There you have it, folks. These strategies and tips will help you forge an indomitable will, one as hard as iron (or tungsten carbide, if you prefer). Whatever you do though, the most important thing is this:
Believe in yourself. Find what is truth, what is right, and what is wrong according to you. Don’t follow society because it wants you to. Follow what is in your heart and you will always do the right thing. Your will and determination thrive on the support you give yourself. Make a conscious effort to limit the time you spend with anyone that would try to bring you down. Look to encircle yourself with people that are always striving for something better. People that know right from wrong (according to your beliefs) and people that respect you and others.
Be the modern day, real-life paladin and learn to take the hits, shielding others, and walking through the trials of life a stronger and better version of yourself.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
— Mahatma Gandhi