BOOK EXCERPT: “Willpower is an Indirect Game” | How to Conquer Yourself 101
Here’s a quick excerpt from my book, How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker. To get two (2) full chapters – completely FREE – scroll down. To hear client feedback and testimonials thus far, click here and for personally-autographed copies, delivered extra-fast, use this paypal link.
“Willpower is an Indirect Game”
This first concern, ‘Willpower is an indirect game’ means that the internal aspect to conquering yourself (everything that you can influence and control personally, such as your level of willpower, motivation and productivity) is best handled by methods that are indirect and counter-intuitive, never obvious or straightforward.
‘Willpower is an indirect game’ because willpower, for the most part, is determined by factors that we’re typically unaware of. We have to use an indirect process to attain willpower because it’s governed by dynamics we don’t intuitively understand.
Specifically, willpower is not a direct game because human behavior, as a whole, is not a direct result of conscious will or of any rational, decision-making process. To the contrary, almost all human behavior is the indirect BY-PRODUCT of subconscious emotions and instinctual drives which we humans tend to remain oblivious to.
Again, almost everything we do as humans is a by-product of instinctual drives and subconscious processes, not conscious “will” or rational thinking, which is why trying to force or compel discipline out of yourself (or out of anyone else for that matter) – trying to coerce yourself to be more productive, have more ambition or stop procrastinating – simply doesn’t work.
>> Simply demanding yourself to wake up earlier won’t remove you from the comfort of your bed at the time you’d like to
>> Simply forcing yourself to exercise daily won’t motivate you to stay with a routine more than a few weeks (if that) and
>> Simply deciding, even with full resolve and conscious intent, to write and direct a new screenplay won’t convert itself into a finished cinematic product.
In fact, these methods can even be thought of as unsophisticated and naive, because they ignore the subtle dynamics that actually determine human behavior to begin with.
Don’t Romanticize Willpower…
NOTE: Most people mistakenly think of willpower and discipline as character traits; as part of their personality they either have or don’t have enough of (no different than honesty or confidence).
This mistaken view then takes their attention away from where it should be – away from the real mechanics involved – and places it on their own identity, which can lead to having the negative self-image of an undisciplined or weak-willed person, a much more difficult problem to solve. In this way, mistaking willpower for a character trait convolutes the entire concern, and can lead people to feel defeated and helpless rather than motivated or encouraged to change.
My point here is that we human beings are essentially organic machines. I’m not saying this to tarnish or revoke the elegance of being human; only to put willpower in its proper frame and perspective. Specifically, you can’t Conquer Yourself until you see that the “self” you’re trying to conquer is an animal first; a creature that acts through routine and responds to animalistic stimuli much more than it does factual information, logical reasoning or conscious will, which is why it’s so challenging to conquer in the first place…
In fact, neuroscientist Dr. Paul D. MacLean developed the “Triune Brain Theory” to help explain this. According to the Triune Brain model, our brain’s evolution can be categorized into three distinct phases, which, in layman’s terms, means that we humans don’t just have one brain, we have three.” ~ pg. 5-7 of How to Conquer Yourself
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