Question: Sir, how can we improve willpower?
Acharya Prashant: Sit, What’s your name?
Listener1: Aditya Mishra.
AP: Sit Aditya. So, what has Aditya asked? “What can we do to improve willpower?” Right? What is willpower and why do we need it? What is willpower? Yes Aditya, what is willpower?
Listener1: To have determination.
AP: To have determination.
L1: Yes sir.
AP: Determination for what?
L1: For a goal.
AP: For a goal. To do something. Right? To do something. You need will in order that something happens, something gets done. Right? Alright. Now, Why does something not get done? We often find that we are unable to act, to do. Why are we unable to act and do?
AP: Restrictions. So if fear is there if restrictions are there and you give them importance, then obviously you cannot act. And when you cannot act then you get up and say that you need willpower. So, willpower is needed only when you feel fear, only when you feel restrictions. In order to overcome them, you need willpower. And that’s what you are asking – How can we enhance willpower?
What could be a better question? Could it not be a better question, “How not to be afraid?” “How not to be restricted?” Are you trying it with me? We say “We need willpower.” What if willpower is actually not needed? What if you are fighting imaginary demons?
You say that “You know I require a lot of willpower to enter that room because in that room, there are ghosts and there are demons.” And as long as you believe that there are ghosts and there are demons, what will you require? Willpower, Motivation, somebody to give you courage, somebody to pump you up. What if you come to see that there are no ghosts and no demons, would you still require willpower? Would you still require willpower? You are shaking your head. Do you require willpower to shake your head? You are again shaking your head, do you again require willpower?
Listeners: No Sir.
AP: You are saying “No Sir”. Did you require Willpower to say “No Sir”? You just know and out of clarity a simple action is happening, there is no willpower that is needed. But if you are told that the fellow sitting in front of you is a maniac, and the moment somebody shakes his head, nods his head, he shoots from the podium itself. Then you will need a lot of willpower to nod in yes or no. Right? Otherwise, the action is simple. If you have to enter a room, you have to just step in there, if you have to shake your head, you just have to shake it, a simple nod.
We need willpower because we have created obstacles. When we look into these obstacles, we find that they are there only as long as we believe in them. Then you do not need willpower, wisdom is enough. Then you do not need courage, clarity is sufficient.
But instead of asking for clarity, we often ask for courage. Now courage is not needed, clarity is needed. Instead of asking for wisdom, we ask for willpower. Willpower is not needed, Wisdom is enough. If you are deeply afraid, you believe that everybody will laugh at you when you ask a question, then you will need a lot of willpower. But if you are wise and you say “First of all not many people are going to laugh, even if somebody laughs, how does it matter to me.” Then will you still need willpower? You don’t need willpower, you need willpower only as an antidote to fear. Where there is no fear, there is no need for willpower. So, don’t ask me “How to enhance willpower?” The more afraid you are, the more willpower you need. Is that not so?
L2: Yes Sir.
AP: The more restricted you feel, the more willpower you need, is that not so? Just open your eyes and see that there is no restriction except those that you subscribe to, except those that you willingly self-impose. Then you will say ‘Willpower’, who needs it? When you are enjoying a particular sport, then you run around a lot, you spend a lot of energy. Do you need willpower? But you will need a lot of willpower if you are told to go jogging and if you don’t enjoy jogging, then jogging even for 15 minutes, twenty minutes and you will say, “Oh My God, I am just dragging my feet, give me some willpower” When you are really into something, when there is no fear, who asks for willpower? It’s not needed.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Is willpower really needed?
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