Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Limited Use of Willpower

When I was a teenager, I used to have what seems like a copious amount of willpower - waking up before 0500 to put in a good hour and a half studying and catching up with the school work; losing up to 30 kg in a short 8 months time frame, and generally just coping and adapting well to the demands that school has placed.

When I started doing investment banking as an Analyst, well I didn't really need to call on my willpower given the pervasive use of the why that I constantly dangled over the top of my head in order to keep the wheels going true. But these days, with more time in my schedule, I have to deploy a conscious and concerted effort to implement some positive initiatives that will add value to my living. Say... instead of coming back home and gorging myself on TV serials (seriously Americans make legendary entertainment products... where do they get all these creativity from??), or drinking myself silly (beer creates endorphins and leads to good time...), perhaps a bout of HIIT workout or reading up on new concepts that can help me in future life (such as natural foraging, backpacking, human physiology, etc.) might be a more productive use of my time.

And that's when I realise that by lord, my willpower (the stat that I felt was one of the highest in my hero character attributes) wasn't that high anymore. I started noticing this when I choose to fucking sleep in most of the time. Say out of 10 times when I choose to wake up early to work out, I'll do it twice. Which is pretty fucking lame...

So I did some research and realise that it's probably my job that's burning a huge amount of my willpower on a daily basis, and my brain, realising that the reserves of willpower will be required during the course of the day, decides to switch off. Or well, at times when my willpower has been totally suckered out by the daily grind, well the cold can of Tiger beer in the fridge ain't that hard to resist...

I'm still trying to figure out a useful and productive hack that I can employ for this, and have done some research around creating systems and wiring habits into the fray. I'll definitely be reading more into this area and will come back with my experience and suggestions on how to make things better. But if you guys have something that has helped you to deal with these type of situations in the past, please shout out!


  1. Hi!

    What a refreshing article! From what I'm seeing, it seems that it's either your "why" is not strong enough, or the things you want to accomplish has very little to do with your "why". Like.. Financial freedom and exercising in the morning, don't seem quite go hand in hand, but I suppose if you can build the link, and if strong enough, you will find back your willpower.

    All the best in your quest! Cheers!

    1. Thanks, Aloysius. Would you reckon the link of exercising in the morning being a distraction (and perhaps leading to more relaxation) in order to cope with the drudgery of work whilst farming towards F.I.R.E might be an effective solution? :p

  2. I think it could be because willpower is linked to the conscious mind and when our conscious mind and subconscious mind (works 24/7 even without us realising it) are aligned, everything seems to be hunky dory but when only our conscious mind are at work then the results can wear off over time

    1. how's it going Joyce? Thanks for dropping by.

      Not too sure I understand you correctly, but did you mean that willpower wears off when our conscious mind is working against the subconscious which takes an opposite position?

      If so, how do you "train" for both minds to be aligned? Any thoughts?

    2. Yup that's right. Stay away from "virus attacks" aka people who tell you negative thoughts etc as it takes 3 positive affirmations to outdo 1 negative thought! Speak in the language of your unconscious mind using imageries of positive affirmations/refocus points daily..they act as upgrades to the software of our mind..this can be done through post it notes or reminders in mobile devices etc. Since it takes 4 days to create a habit, it's best to do it consistently at the same time which is once in the morning to input good thoughts into the subconscious mind upon waking and before sleeping to have a positive mindset.