What is will power? Will power is the ability to do what we set out to do, without being sidetracked by doubt, hesitation and temptation. Will-power is the soul force which enables us to transcend the limitations of our self.
A person without will power is easily swayed and influenced. Without will-power we can feel a helpless victim to circumstances, other people, and our own thoughts.
To develop will power is to develop greater self-control and release our own hidden potential.
How To Develop Will Power
Exercise the Muscle.
Will-power should be seen like a muscle. If we train our muscle it gets stronger. If we don’t it gets weaker. Will power is not a heredity condition. It is something that we can develop.
Will power involves being one pointed and achieving a certain goal. If we are not entirely clear what we want to do, it is difficult to focus our will to doing it. When we attempt to do something, we need the co-operation of all parts of ourself. Don’t be in two minds, but decide exactly what you need to do and stick to it.
Will Power For the Positive.
It is better to develop will power for a positive goal, rather than using our will power to negate something.
“The easiest way to use will-power is to take the positive approach. Use will-power to do something positive, not to keep yourself from doing something negative. If we say, “I shall not tell a lie,” that is important. But if we say, “I shall tell the truth,” that will-power is more effective. When we say, “I won’t do it,” already the negative thing has half its power just because we are thinking about it. If we repeat in our mind, “I won’t be jealous,” the word ‘jealous,’ the negative quality that it embodies, ruins our mind and then we do become jealous.”
– Sri Chinmoy (1)
Ignore Silly thoughts.
It is human nature, that when we attempt something, silly thoughts appear in our mind to try and put us off. These thoughts have to be ignored. We have to see them as foreign entities. If we listen and accept every silly thought that comes into our mind, we will have no will power because our hyperactive mind will pull us in many different directions.
Concentration and will-power are closely linked. If we develop our concentration which is our ability to remain one-pointed, we are at the same time developing our will power. See: Concentration exercise.
Never Give Up.
Will power doesn’t mean we have to always achieve at our first attempt. If we get pulled off our target, pay no attention and don’t allow despondency to enter. We need to keep trying. Persistence and patience are essential components of will-power.
Make It Easy Not Hard
If you want to give up smoking, avoid situations which encourage the craving. If you want to have the will-power to avoid chocolate, you wouldn’t buy the most tempting chocolates and invite your friends to come and eat them in front of you. Will-power also involves common sense to help us achieve our goal.
Understand Benefits and Costs.
To achieve something we need to understand benefits and costs. If we truly value what we are aiming at then we will develop the perseverance to continue struggling for it.
Use of Will Power
Will-power is one thing, but it also has to be directed in right direction. Napoleon undoubtedly had great will-power, but that doesn’t mean we have to become another Napoleon. Often the most important use of will-power is using it to become a better person. It is to be free of our own limitations fear, doubt and jealousy. This will-power to be happy is definitely worth growing.
(1) Sri Chinmoy Speaks Part 5
Photo Pavitrata Taylor, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries.