Will Power



Every year, around this time, I hear people as individuals or in teams, zooming in on willpower. They set goals they feel they "should" achieve (rather than ones that align with their strengths, real values, and who they are) and they make up a plan that will depend heavily on Prefrontal-Cortex and left-brain functions to put themselves in a narrow lane that will, if followed through persistence, lead to achieving their goals.


Ironically, over-depending on willpower can easily make change really difficult!


Here's the trouble with the above model: Because of the parts in the brain that are active when we take this approach, willpower (while a wonderful asset) can quickly turn into self-judgment. When willpower is accompanied by criticism and self-judgment we often start feeling like we need to force ourselves to move forward. This coupling will diminish forward movement, initiative capacity, self-starting abilities, and drive. It's because certain systems in the brain override other systems. A simple 1+1=2, not the result of not being motivated enough or having weak willpower (a good way to see this in action is to realize that you may have tremendous willpower to do things you enjoy and don't activate self-judgment around).


Because of the way the brain works, it is very important to couple willpower with a combination of gratitude, choice, and connectedness instead. Adding gratitude to the mix literally keeps us in the right "mind-space" for forward movement, adding choice invites non-judgmental accountability, and connectedness with other people amplifies how nourished we feel so we can keep going.


Attached please find a quick article about the Neuroscience of willpower (look for a more comprehensive scientific version about the topic in the comments below if you want to dive deeper:)).


So here's to a new recipe of working towards achieving our goals - one that works with our brain to make transformation easier rather than more difficult, and nourishes us along the way!


Catch the article: