I was working on an article which covers how anyone can use his or her will to achieve success in life. While writing this article, it dawned on me that my article is equivalent to me walking up to someone on the street and start telling him/her how to invest £10,000 wisely without first checking if the person even has the £10,000. So I decided to stop this article and instead write about the cultivation of will.
Will or willpower centres on one main thing and that thing is control. Having a will is being in control of oneself.
A lot of men have discovered to their own surprise and sometimes demise, that it is easier to control a kingdom than to control oneself. The quote above by Pietro Aretino is deeper than it looks at first read. It says “I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.“
No matter how highly placed one might be in the social status or otherwise, unless one acquires a strong will, he or she is still a slave to weak indulgences. For you cannot be strong and weak at the same time. You cannot develop a strong will and also be a slave to weak indulgences. Two captains cannot sail a boat.
Let’s look at the necessary steps to cultivate will.
Steps to will cultivation
1) End bad habits.
2) Form good habits.
3) Give scrupulous attention to the task at hand.
4) Execute all your tasks in an efficient manner.
5) Live by rule.
6) Control your tongue.
7) Control your mind.
Let’s look at these seven steps to will cultivation in more details.
1) End bad habits
Ending of bad habits is easier said than done. If it wasn’t, many people wouldn’t need to see a certified professional in order to end one bad habit or the other.
There is a common saying that old habit die hard and this is true when one considers the evidence one is presented with. A smoker wants to stop smoking because he/she knows it’s the cause of most cancer illness, yet he struggles. He quits this month but he’s back on it in 5, 6 or 11 months later. Why is the smoker struggling to quit? Isn’t the thought of cancer bad enough to put him/her off smoking?
The smoker is struggling to quit because of the short time pleasure that he or she gets from smoking. Every bad habit provides short time pleasure. This short time pleasure is so strong that it takes hold of the person who allows it. And no amount of scary images or information about the consequences of their bad habit will be enough to put them off.
For anyone to end any bad habit, one has to despise and hate being a slave to his or her bad habits. After this, one has to use his strength of purpose to say “never again” and to end it once and for all.
2) Form New Habits
While “strength of purpose” is really all that is needed to end any bad habit; forming of a new habit requires an intelligent direction of purpose. To accomplish this, one has to be mentally active and keep a constant watch on himself. This is easier said than done; for we all have a wandering mind. One minute our mind wanders off to far away land, the next minute it is unpicking what so and so said last week and what it really means.
So when I say you have to be mentally active and keep a constant watch on yourself, I mean you have to calm, quiet and control your monkey mind and keep watchful eyes on your mind so that it doesn’t wander off and then return to remind you it is time to indulge your bad habits. For every action a person performs, he or she must first receive and accept the instruction or suggestion from the mind. Once you can keep a watchful eye on yourself, you should proceed to form new healthy and rewarding habits.
3) Give scrupulous attention to the task at hand
Anyone that is able to do what’s instructed in steps 1 and 2 shouldn’t have a problem with step 3. A confused individual might want to know what is it to “give scrupulous attention to the task at hand?“. To put it simply, it means “to be thorough, precise and meticulous with the task at hand.”
Your aim should be perfection and nothing less. This can only be achieved by giving undivided attention to the duty at hand. So you should be single-minded or to put it more eloquently, you should have a mindset of single- mindedness of purpose.
Single-mindedness of purpose and intense concentration might be a struggle at first attempt to someone who has just started to cultivate will, but after repeated attempts, these two vital skills will be gradually acquired. These two skills are capable of taking anyone from mediocrity to master of their profession. This leads us to the next step – Execute all your tasks in an efficient manner.
4) Execute all your tasks in an efficient manner
I have an article on this site titled “Working in an Efficient Manner“. This next step is exactly what is written in that article. I advise you to read that article. To avoid repeating myself again, in order to execute any task in an efficient manner you must add power to it. This power comprises of three main things. These are strength, concentration and thoroughness.
No matter what you want to do, for it to be done in an efficient manner you must set a goal of what you want to achieve and apply your strength to it. Concentrate on the task and be thorough on each step that will lead to you achieving your goal. And remember, never procrastinate. Again read the article – Working in an Efficient Manner.
5) Live by rules
Anyone who wants to cultivate will must live by rules. He or she must fashion their lifestyle according to principles. Impulses and passions must be subjected to these rules and principles. If one cannot subject his or her impulses and passions to rules, one is still a weak individual without any real control of him or herself.
A man who has a will live by rules, not by passion or impulses. Such a man decide what he will eat and would not eat. He decides what time he must go to bed and what time he must get up. He also decides what type of friendship he would have and the type he would not have. Such a man have rules for every department of his life and these rules are adhered to in the strictest possible way.
These rules are for him and him alone. He does not suggest it to anyone let alone force it on anyone else. And if one can live by rules then he has demonstrated that he has the mental strength to control and if he has the mental strength to control his impulses and passion, he is ready for the next step – which is to control his tongue.
6) Control your tongue
Anyone who has mastered the previous five steps has acquired vital skills necessary to accomplish the very difficult task of “controlling the tongue“.
A man who lives by rules is very watchful of what he says. The scriptural verse above is a rebuke to those who have been uttering words that they shouldn’t be uttering. Anyone who lives by rules knows what is acceptable to say and what is not acceptable to say no matter how provoked they were.
The skill of “controlling the tongue” is never acquired overnight. It takes a lot of work, practice and persistence before one can bring his or her tongue under control. To make things easier, one should not be too quick to speak but should listen more instead and speak less.
If you were able to acquire all the six steps above, then you are then ready for the final step – “controlling the mind“.
7) Control your mind.
I stated earlier in this article that most people minds are always wandering without accomplishing anything worthwhile.
A person mind controls his or her actions and the person’s actions determines his results. Thereby defining the individual life experiences.
Control of the mind is a tricky thing because it requires constant effort. It’s impossible for man to stop thinking. So you are constantly thinking. If you have truly acquired the six steps above, then controlling your mind shouldn’t be too difficult because you would have developed that essential skill which is to “be in control” and when you can be in control, you can control which thoughts to permit and which thoughts not to permit. This is what “controlling the mind” is all about – Controlling what thoughts to permit and which ones not to tolerate.
But if you’re struggling to do this, you can acquire this essential skill by visiting Proctor Gallagher Institute, they have a six weeks program called Magic in your Mind, which as the title suggest is all about the mind.
So I advise you to follow these seven steps described here in order to cultivate will because anyone who is lacking of will, is a weak individual. They might be able to hide their weakness from time to time, but it won’t be long before friends and associates see them as what they really are; which is a weak personality. I hope this doesn’t happen to you.
I hope you’ve found this article useful in one way or the other. If you know anyone who might find it useful, please be kind enough to share it them using the share button. Please also share it on your social media pages. Someone might find it helpful.
Also, you are free to use this article for educational purposes. All I asked for is to be properly referenced.
Have a wonderful day.