Tuesday, October 25, 2016

BUILDING WILLPOWER

I have been asked on numerous occasions how one goes about building willpower.  People perceive me as someone who has a substantial amount of willpower due to the amount of pain and misery I tend to inflict upon myself in my pursuit of training, along with how I’ve trained around and through numerous injuries.  Their belief is that I’ve acquired a large amount of willpower through some sort of process, and that it is something that can be replicated in order for others to do the same.  In reality, similar to my discussion on the impact of priorities to willpower, I find that willpower is more the product of one’s psychology and philosophy rather than a quality that can be directly increased.


Image result for Matt Kroc nail bicep
But I suppose doing something like this couldn't hurt.


In my experience, one of the keys to possessing large amounts of willpower is an understanding that one’s body is not one’s self.  “Self” is an entity entirely separate from the body.  The body houses the self, but is in no way the manifestation of the self.  In fact, the body is what LIMITS the self.  We have our own ideal image of ourselves, but our body limits us from achieving that ideal, because the body is imperfect.  This understanding is crucial in the quest for willpower, for it is the foundation for one of the key elements of willpower: resentment.  Specifically, we experience self-resentment, for we resent our bodies for not being what we envision as our “selves”.  As much as we have been conditioned to believe that self-resentment is a negative quality, we must understand that resentment is in fact crucial to the “creation” of willpower.  Resentment is inherently a lack of satisfaction, and a satisfied man has no need for willpower.  For what would a satisfied man will toward?  He would have no need.
 This base of self-resentment segues into understanding exactly what an act of willpower is: an act against one’s nature.  As I’ve written before, one needs no willpower to do something that they want.  Acting in accordance with our desires in completely natural, to the point that many religious groups decided to make such acts “sins” as a means of instilling a sense of morality and provide some means of controlling a population.  For you Hobbes fans out there, the state of nature was reported to be solitary, nasty, poor, brutish and short because it was a constant state of war, as man fought against each other for resources to ensure survival.  Despite the hardships, that was not a life of willpower.  Willpower would be required for one to EXIT the state of nature and form the social contract, because it would mean acting against one’s base desires and drives and performing an action that seems entirely alien.  Why is this understanding important?  Because it’s indicative of the reality that, to have willpower, one must resent their current self more than they enjoy chasing their desires.


Image result for hedonism bot
I mean, does this scream "willpower" or what?!

Overcoming out instincts (what many perceive to be an act of willpower) necessitates that one have so much self-resentment that it overcomes one’s self-preservation instincts.  Essentially, one has to be so unsatisfied with the way that their body is limiting their expression of their self that there are NO risks in any actions.  Either the body is broken, or the body improves; either is an acceptable outcome.  Why would one want to preserve something that they resent with every fiber of their being?  Why would one have any desire to spare their body pain, misery, torment, anguish, damage, fatigue, and ultimately destruction, when it is the body that prevents one from being their true self?  When one resents everything that their body stands for, they will find no difficulty doing whatever it takes to change it, in whatever way that happens.
Once all of this occurs under the hood, we witness “willpower” occurring.  Specifically, when one is in the process of either destroying or improving their bodies, they meet resistance in the form of pain, fatigue, sickness, injury, etc.  When one resents their body to the point that they are willing to destroy it, resistance of any form should result in anger.  Resistance is the body striving to maintain the status quo and deny you your ability to express your true self.  It is opposing you in your goal.  This SHOULD make you angry.  The absence of anger in this situation is indicative that one lacks the proper amount of resentment in order to affect change ON their body.  Once this anger takes hole, willpower occurs.  One feels the pain, injury, fatigue, sickenss, etc, and their rage drives them to push through and conquer the body as it tries to fight back.  The body is not the self; it is the enemy OF the self.


Image result for Juggernaut vs professor X
AS much as it pains me, there is a reason that Professor X always won these fights


We understand now that building willpower is simply building resentment.  In turn, resentment is built by increasing the divide between the body and the self.  The further this divide, the greater the amount of resentment, which in turn means the greater the amount of willpower demonstrated.  One who is content with how their body represents themselves will have no need for willpower to affect change.  One whose self is only marginally different from what their body represents will only have a marginal amount of willpower.  However, for those where the chasm between their self and their body is enormous, their amount of willpower will appear immeasurable, for they possess enough resentment to overcome vast amounts of pain, suffering, fatigue, injury and anguish.  In order to "build willpower", we must build the self.  We must envision our self to be truly unstoppable.
This is my “secret” to willpower.  Yes, it is unbalanced and unhinged, but it works.  Make no mistake; just because I resent my body doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem.  It’s actually the opposite; my self-esteem is far too great. I think far too highly of my “self”.  In my mind, I am the Juggernaut, Superman, Samson and Hercules, and the only thing holding me back is my body.  My neighbors think I’m a lunatic, because during conditioning sessions, they’ve heard me swearing at my body, telling it to harden the f**k up, strap in and hold on because I’m not quitting until the session is over, and f**k everything it has ever stood for.  When I blew out my knee, I blew it out because my “self” was greater than my body, and consequently I spent the next 6 months angry at my knee.  How DARE it try to deprive me of myself.  How DARE it hold me back.  And I punished it with no rest, constant training, and WILLING it to heal.



Still don't understand these folks that can't squat because of "bad knees"

The Hulk had it right.  “That’s my secret; I’m always angry.”      

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks dude. This was enjoyable to write. I didn't know where it was going to take me, and exploring it really opened up my eyes.

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  2. This was an extremely interesting article, which I enjoyed tremendously. I particularly enjoyed it because I agree with your assertions about the nature of mind and body, but draw the opposite conclusion.

    For me, it is precisely because the mind is what is remarkable about man, and the body such a fragile, insulting vessel for it, that we must take care of our bodies, so that our minds might be free.

    Though I train hard, and have learned a great deal from you over the years, I have come to the conclusion that we must take great care not to excessively abuse the body - pushing to the point of (serious) injury. These chronic concerns are things which, to my mind, may detract from a.) our ability to train hard late into life and our ability to reap all the wonders hard training does for the heart and mind, and b.) may distract the mind with unnecessary aches and pains during the long years that represent a man's intellectual prime.

    Essentially, it is my view that our minds are what will allow us to ultimately become the gods we've always been destined to be, not our bodies, but without bodily health our minds must be diminished.

    I hope this doesn't come across as gratuitously contrarian. I thought it was interesting that we could follow a very similar line of reasoning and end up with markedly different conclusions.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment dude. I am glad you enjoyed the article, and I appreciate you sharing your perspective. I imagine our differences in conclusions stem from our different views/goals on aging. In a few of my other writings, I've stated that I have zero interest in training when I'm older. I do not enjoy training, and I have no desire to continue doing it. I only engage in it because it makes me bigger and stronger, which is ultimately what I want. When I age, and that is no longer possible, I will see it more as a release from my prison sentence; I will finally be free to STOP training and just allow myself to decline physically. Right now, I know that I can still be bigger and stronger, and I still chase it tirelessly, but I am aware that this time is finite, and once it is over it will be time to do something else.

      On the topic of aches and pains, there are a few factors at play here. One of them is that, observing my family, I have never once witnessed anyone be old and NOT in pain. It seems to me, at least with my genetics, that pain is simply a pain of being old. Knowing that, I'd rather be in pain while old because I pushed myself too hard when I was young than spend my youth taking care of myself only to STILL be in pain when I'm old. The pain seems inevitable, but the strength in youth is not. The other part is that, having been in as much pain as I have, my threshold has gotten to the point where pain isn't much of a motivator one way or the other.

      I'd say one of the most influential moments in this thought process was watching my Grandfather die of various cancers. He was, hands down, the smartest man I had ever known. Could quote entire passages of the Bible, started several businesses from the ground up, published author, speaker on a real estate seminar circuit, always had a comeback, etc etc. Despite what he did, cancer came for him and that brilliant mind is now gone. There MAY have been a few things the could've done to lessen his chances of getting cancer, but ultimately his time came when it came, and nothing he did while he was younger was going to stop it. Some may view it as grim, but ultimately I view it as liberating. I understand what my end is, and I am at peace with it, and it leads me to just live in this moment as hard as I can.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. Glad to have you following my blog.

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    2. This is the thesis of that great though overused Mark Bell "fuck you and your elbow" video where he states that yeah, we're all gonna be in pain someday, we're all gonna get injured someday, we're all gonna die someday, so why let that govern your actions.

      Will

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    3. I have seen that video linked a lot, but never sat down to watch it. Glad to know it's a shared sentiment. I honestly wonder where all these painfree old people are that people want to grow up to be like. And just what are these people gonna do when they're old and painfree that is going to be so awesome that it was worth NOT enjoying their youth?

      But I guess I'm the cynic with those questions.

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    4. Like many other things, it's more of a built-in excuse than it is reflective of an actual goal.

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  3. I enjoyed your response. I'm a regular reader, and will remain so. All the best!

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