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Mindful use of willpower

Dear Integral Meditators,

Willpower is an important domain to be mindful of because the way in which we use or abuse it in our life has a major influence on both the quality and the quantity of what we experience and achieve. The article below considers how we can start making better use of our willpower using mindfulness…
This week’s Tuesday and Wednesday class will be on mindful willpower, so if you enjoy the article, then do come along!
The first two weeks of April also sees a special offer on my Stress-transformation coaching, details below!

Yours in the spirit of mindful will,


Willpower as Your Object of Mindfulness

Willpower is the way in which we consciously direct our energy and action through intention. Here are a few thoughts on becoming more mindful around your willpower.

Willpower is precious 
It is an extremely important domain to be mindful of because the way in which we use or abuse our willpower in life has a major bearing on both the quality and the quantity of what we experience and achieve.
So the main mindful message here is to value and prize your willpower

Willpower is finite
We only have so much willpower. As a younger man I used to believe that the solution to a lack of willpower was simply to find more willpower, but each of us only has so much. For example, the right amount of exercise will generally cause me to feel good and complement my work life. However if I exercise too much my physical and vital energy will be depleted and the amount of willpower and energy I have available to achieve things in my work will go down.
It is also very easy to deplete your willpower and vital energy doing little things that you don’t necessarily need to do (eg: check your email 5 times an hour), which in turn inhibits the amount of willpower you have to get what you really want done.
Main mindful message: Be clear about what you want to focus your willpower on

Willpower is sustained by regeneration and rest
If you want to have good and effective willpower, you need to have effective strategies in place to recover your energy levels through rest, meditation, getting good sleep and diet, appropriate amounts of leisure, non-doing and so forth.
Mindful message: Nurture your willpower with periods of mindful recovery and rest

Wise use of willpower is not the same as forcing
Often the image that comes into our mind when we think about willpower is that of a high energy, high intensity activity where we force our way through obstacles and achieve exponential results in a short time. Actually willpower is often more effective when we use it gently and mindfully to keep our attention focused upon what we have decided to do until we have finished it. Effective willpower uses our intelligence to gauge the level of intensity appropriate to the task, only rarely trying to force things.
Mindful message: Effective willpower can be gentle and consistent as well as focused and intense.

What do I want to focus my willpower upon today?
Given that your willpower is precious, that it is finite, that you need to nurture it and use t wisely, what is the thing or things that you are going to focus your will power:

  • Today?
  • In the next hour?
  • In the next minute?

This way of questioning is one way to bring mindful awareness to bear upon how you can make good use of your willpower each day.

Related ArticleBecoming mindfully unfocused
Mindful Work Effectiveness Secrets (From an Ex-Monk)

Article © Toby Ouvry 2019, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website   

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