What’s more powerful than willpower?

What’s more powerful than willpower?

by Dr. Happy 

How to do what you want and need to do without exhausting yourself by trying to exert willpower!

Does that sound like something you'd be interested in? 

Well, on Tuesday June 18 here in Sydney I'll be speaking to almost 1,000 people about willpower at the Young Minds conference. What they don't yet know is that I'll be arguing against traditional notions of willpower and proposing, instead, a more positive and energising approach that I believe can be far more effective because it builds on the powerful principles uncovered and developed over the last decade or so of Positive Psychology research.

In short, this will be my argument…

  • traditional definitions of willpower refer to something like this…self-discipline or self-control; the ability to exert one’s will over the desires of the body

  • Is it any wonder much of the work in this area refers to willpower as a "limited resource"? Just reading that definition above sounds exhausting! 

  • My new approach, however, is based on the notion that "love is a better teacher than duty" (thanks Einstein)

  • Further…"the time is always right to do what's right" (thanks Martin Luther King Jr)

  • In addition, we know that those people who're more aware of and who're better at utilising their strengths tend to experience more "flow", which is a motivating and energising state of being

  • Plus, positive social support can dramatically boost the chances of someone engaging in positive behaviours 

  • And the final piece of the puzzle simple invites people to reflect upon the conditions under which they make their best decisions

So, I propose we don't need "power" what we need, instead, is…

  • to know what's right (values)

  • to use our strengths to develop flow to enact what's right

  • to surround ourselves with supportive and encouraging people 

  • and to take take care of our health and wellbeing, so we're not sick and tired, and so we make better decisions more often and…

If all of these conditions are in place then doing the right thing becomes the easist option and, in some ways, the only viable option. How good would that be? We could do what we need and want to do without feeling like we're fighting ourselves or our desires all the time. 

Anyway, I'll see what the audience thinks on Tuesday and I'll look forward to reading your comments on our Facebook Page (see below) 

PS: you can follow me HERE on Twitter and/or "Like" The Happiness Institute HERE on Facebook