What is willpower? by Tom Asacker

Have you heard of SmartPlate?
It’s a high tech dish that “tells” you what you’re eating.
It can “detect the difference between a fried drumstick and a grilled one.”
(In case you can’t).
I guess it’s suppose to be a sort of brain aid.
To help us achieve our goals.
Because willpower alone may not be enough.
Our cognitive powers may be insufficient.
But is that true?
I don’t think so.
What is willpower?
People think it’s an invisible mental muscle.
A mysterious inner strength that we can exercise.
And which becomes depleted.
It’s not.
Quite simply, it’s a battle.
And not between emotion and reason.
Impulsive temptation vs. thoughtful aspiration.
That’s where the confusion lies.
Your thinking mind will never control your feeling mind.
At least not for long.
Rather it’s a clash of conflicting desires.
Between tangible happiness now.
A big slice of chocolate cake.
And conditional happiness later.
A more attractive physique.
Willpower is simply a choice.
Now or later.
Reality or possibility.
Are people who lack willpower lazy?
Do they lack the cognitive power known as self-control?
Absolutely not.
Their desire for now is simply greater than their desire for later.
Do you want to achieve your goals?
Then don’t fight your feeling mind (desire) with your thinking mind (reasoning).
You’ll lose.
Your sensory perceptions will eventually overwhelm you.
They’ll fuel your short-term desires.
At the expense of your longer-term aspirations.
Instead, suffocate those impulses.
By changing your environment and eliminating enticing perceptions.
Willpower is not a cognitive battle against your desires.
It’s an ongoing struggle between them.
Give your dreams a fighting chance.
Immerse yourself in the surroundings of possibility.
And replace the tedious nagging of your thinking mind.
“Don’t do that.”
With the impassioned desires of your feeling mind.
“Yes, do that!
Again!
And again!”

Author of The Business of Belief. Rated the #1 inspirational business book of 2013 by Inc. Magazine.

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