What is willpower?
Willpower is the control you have over yourself. It is shrouded in the one defining characteristic of humans: CHOICE. Humans have the choice to control themselves. Willpower is the culmination of choice and can be broken down in the following easy equation.
DISCIPLINE + LOVE + FOCUS = WILLPOWER
This equation sums up many different experts opinions on discipline. Some great minds have taught discipline in terms of love. You love yourself enough to be disciplined. I have added it takes FOCUS to have discipline. Focus requires a healthy and balanced brain to love and be disciplined. Focus is the biochemistry component of willpower.
In order to sustain willpower, humans must have a PURPOSE. The purpose can vary for each person, but everyone must have a reason for living, a reason to be healthy and wake up in the morning. (ie, a loved one, kids, lifting heavy weights and PRing, competition, future generations, work, love, total family, etc.) Purpose can also be the WHY. Humans need a ‘why’ to sustain purpose. Having a strong purpose is also one of the ways to beat cancer and I take that one step further and say one of the top ways to prevent cancer and have a fulfilling life.
Purpose must be pleasurable. Pleasure is how willpower is sustained. Change is not painful it is different, although in our society we envision change as painful. Change can be beautiful when viewed that way. Think of the following statement:
The reasons to wake up must out weigh the reason to stay up.
The other side of this will be to think about how much discipline vs love vs focus you need. They all require different habits, nutrients and lifestyle measures to support. Some people will always do the right thing and do it on time, many more will not. The place to begin for most people is focus.
Focus is a fancy word for healthy brain function. That requires a balance of neurotransmitters with the big four being dopamine, GABA, acetylcholine and serotonin. This demands many different approaches to help. Some require eating more food on a more frequent basis. Some require nutrient intervention to balance out. Some require exercise and specific timing of day to maximize hormonal effect, some need total volume of exercise for the day and week and sometimes it is as simple as moving. Lifestyle habits are required for sustained healthy brain function. It becomes a cycle that repeats itself. The healthier your brain, the higher your discipline and ultimately the more open to love you become.
Love is something everyone needs and with the depression statistics indicates in more need than ever before. It may be one of the biggest issues hampering willpower today. People need to feel love and in some cases need to love themselves a bit more. That may require some therapy, nutrition and lifestyle measures to help. Some need a new family of friends around them because they are isolated or have too much trauma to cope. In today’s 21st Century society we are love deprived on a massive scale.
When Focus and Love are balanced, Discipline can take hold. Discipline is a plan. Discipline is execution of that plan. Discipline is waking up at 4:30 AM and working out before the world wakes up. Discipline is follow through. Discipline is eating clean and avoiding the sugar. Can you see now how much focus and love it takes to sustain discipline? Can you see why Focus and Love are to be addressed before discipline? I hope so.