The Magic of Willpower: How to Change the Course of Your Life

Human beings are the most advanced of all the species on earth. Possessing an intellect, we have the ability to ponder over, communicate, and comprehend issues. We also have the prowess to tackle the circumstances life throws at us. We can let harsh times overwhelm us or take what comes our way with a pinch of salt. Accepting it all, we can steer through life with our knowledge and experience. At such moments, we tend to question the true existence of destiny and ask, “Are we bound by a pre-existing template of fate that we can reshape at will?”

When confronted with life’s striking lessons, our complex minds help question the challenges ahead. In such moments, we explore the freedom to alter the outcome of our present experience, and develop the muscle to alter what doesn’t benefit us. So what must we take into account before delivering an action that is potent enough to bring a change that works to our benefit? Here are three ways to change the course of our lives for the better:

The Power of Choice

As human beings, we possess the liberty to choose between things that best align with our personal or professional goals. Therefore, our intellect is perceived as a boon, unlike animals, who thrive on instinct and cannot lead lives based on the possibility of informed choices. Once their basic needs are met, they continue to live a satisfied life. But as humans, we are able to doubt and hence, challenge the status quo in order to apply the intelligence bestowed upon us. We also exercise our power of choice to make decisions on a daily basis. To fulfill our perceived needs, we combine intellect with effort in the right direction, to pave the way for creating success and satisfaction. To achieve such levels of excellence requires a good measure of daily and consistent motivational planning.

Where There is a Will, There is a Way

Planning and preparation take us a certain distance towards our goals. But what happens when we encounter change? In the event of a sudden change, we require more than our usual reserve of habitual strength. This is where willpower plays an important role. In life’s journey, if ‘intellect’ is the rudder of the aircraft, then ‘willpower’ is the engine that helps our dreams to accelerate, gain momentum and gear for a powerful takeoff. Therefore, willpower is imperative in the play of destiny. A strong willpower is enough to move mountains. Then no goal is too big or intimidating to achieve. But when we fail to act upon it, we tend to live unremarkable lives.

Awareness is the Key to Succeeding at Life

Even when backed by the right knowledge and willpower, success and peace of mind are not always a guaranteed result of the effort applied. For a positive outcome, it is imperative to be aware of our thoughts and actions. While oscillating between change and our resistance to it, we need to remain a witness to our thoughts too. It is only when we are fully alert, available and attentive in the present moment that our willpower can truly help us push past upheavals. When we perceive the subtle, underlying phenomena that impacts our world, we develop an acute awareness that cuts through the fog of doubt like a blade, delivering the clarity to proceed. Our goals become clearer, the journey to reach the desired destination smoother, and all this is achieved with a minimum loss of time and energy.

Although misfortunes are a part and parcel of life, inner attentiveness neutralizes the results of undesirable actions from the past. The path of understanding life’s journey opens up when the feeling of entanglement with the effects of past actions disappears with time. Come what may, the spirit to keep going continues, when one is aligned with the objective, while possessing the strength and willpower to remain untouched by challenging moments. Indeed, the stimulation of one’s intellect, willpower and spiritual awareness opens up to a wider field of love.

Swami Swaroopananda
Global Head, Chinmaya Mission