“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
This quote embodies everything I know about willpower. It displays what we as people are capable of when we are pushed to the nth degree.
While this quote is indeed powerful, most of us still don’t understand how to increase our willpower. Whenever we perceive even a little step in the wrong direction, it becomes the end of world. Such thinking cannot yield good results. Remember that you have to always…
Try, try again
I can not stress this enough. No matter how long it takes and how beaten you may feel, you must try and try again. You’ll never know how much you can handle if you don’t put your limits to the test. How many times does it take for a baby to stand up before he or she finally does? How long do great athletes, actors, writers, composers, first-time mothers and fathers practice before they finally get it right? How much heartache do you have to feel until you finally feel true love? You will never know if you do not try. The very act of trying itself increases your willpower because it instills in your mind that you can do it; that you can succeed.
Eliminate negative influences
Who has not felt the sting or hurt when someone you thought supported you, in fact, actually didn’t? You are not the first one to be criticized. People de-constructively criticize what they do not understand. If you come from a long line of farmers and you have big dreams to be a “hot-shot lawyer”, expect some backlash. If your friends are all planning to work in the same field, but you choose another, I bet you dollars to donuts that at least a few of them will look down on you. Cut them loose if you have to. There is no way a negative influence has ever made a person successful (except in defiance of that said influence). Listen only to constructive criticism that helps you learn and grow as a person.
Seek out those who you resonate with
You may think you have achieved great willpower, but nothing can push it ever higher than surrounding yourself with those who are similar to you. In times of sheer doubt, they can fish you out of your pit of despair. When you achieve the little goals, they will revel with you in your glory. When they are down for the count, it will be your job to push them back up. What you can accomplish alone will be amplified when you put great minds together. To have someone always there to drive you forward makes you feel as if you’ve promised them to endure what lies ahead.
Realize defeat, but never accept it
Those who know defeat are the ones that have the most willpower. After their long line of defeats they will always say, “But the day I was about to quit, I decided to try one more time…”. There will always be days when defeat rears it’s head, but that doesn’t mean you should accept it. Even when it seems as if you are making no headway, stop and think about how far you’ve come. The effort you put in beforehand has made you who you are now. Learn from your defeats, but act immediately afterwards to redeem yourself.
It has been said that confidence cannot be faked; that you must fake it until you make it. This is not the case with willpower. You cannot fake effort or will. All the hardships, all of the constant forward trudging: it’s all real. As long as you keep acting positively, you can be sure to achieve anything you put your mind to.
Give up. Quit. Can’t. These words should not exist in your vocabulary.
Are there any other ways you can think of to increase your willpower? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.