Volitional qualities of a personality: definition, types, methods of development

Surely many are familiar with the situation when people, justifying their weakness or lack of will, try to laugh it off, saying that they have both strength and will, but there is no willpower. Let’s see what the will is, whether it is given to everyone, whether it can be developed and how.

What are volitional qualities?

Specialists in the field of human psychology pay great attention to the study and diagnosis of personality characters, including giving a detailed description of such an individual’s quality as will. The volitional qualities of a person are a combination of many different characteristics that define a person as emotionally, morally and spiritually strong. To be strong-willed means to show such traits:

  • purposefulness;
  • determination;
  • exposure;
  • patience;
  • courage;
  • energy;
  • initiative;
  • persistence;
  • adherence to principles;
  • organization;
  • discipline;
  • self-control.

If such qualities of character are absent in a person or their opposites are present, then this indicates a poorly developed volitional side of the personality and a negative character. Volitional qualities are most often acquired and developed in the process of gaining life experience.. Of course, the basis for the development of personality is laid genetically in the human psyche, but one or another aspect of character is cultivated in the course of educating a person in childhood and adolescence. Over the years, by a certain age, it is already possible to judge and evaluate the existing personal image.

If the process of personality formation had favorable conditions for the development of volitional qualities, then during life they will be stable and stable, and their manifestation will not depend on any particular situation. That is, people who have a strong and steadfast will always have it under any circumstances, and not from case to case. A person can have both individual volitional qualities, and their combination. In the latter case, we are talking about a special strength of character and the presence of complete power over one’s personality.

Such people are highly conscious and comprehensively regulate their behavior, are able to overcome various difficulties in their life path and achieve any goals.

What are they?

The volitional qualities of a person are usually divided into basic or primary (they are also emotional-volitional) and systemic (moral-volitional or moral-volitional). Primary qualities, as a rule, are laid in the human psyche genetically and are the basis for the development of systemic qualities.


Their list is quite extensive and includes not only positive, but also negative qualities. Consider the main positive qualities, which include energy, patience, self-control and courage.


An energetic person is able to make decisions quickly and act quickly. At the same time, he puts the maximum amount of physical and emotional strength into the process. He is always positive, no difficulties can stop him, on the contrary, they only kindle excitement in him.

Such people are always they make plans, set new goals for themselves, attracting other people to themselves and dragging along with them. They always strive to materialize their thoughts, their whole essence is able to turn into an inexhaustible stream of energy and at the same time infect others. In this case, energy, as a quality of personality, is not related to physiological energy or energy of temperament. These are different concepts.


People with patience achieve results by willpower in spite of everything, even poor health, ailments, fatigue or headaches cannot stop them or force them to slow down their activities. A weak-willed person, as a rule, surrenders to the power of such negative states and postpones the execution of all affairs to a later date.

Patience can in some cases be the opposite of energy, since the latter calls for quick response and action. And patience is determined by the ability to wait a long time, persistently and methodically approach the goal, even if it is far away, while maintaining composure and calmness, when there are still no visible results of activity. But one cannot equate patience with the passive character of the individual.


Feelings and emotions are not able to take power over a person who has self-control. Constant control over oneself makes it possible to think over everything, weigh it and not take impulsive actions, which, as a rule, lead to the destruction of already existing results of activity. A person with a high level of self-control remains emotionally balanced, even if plans for some unforeseen reasons are frustrated, and the path deviates from the set course. Aggression, panic or apathy is not about those who have self-control.

Also, people with a similar trait are quite capable of giving up the temptation to commit erroneous and irrational actions that can harm the whole business.


Courage is the conscious effort to overcome various fears. It makes it possible not to succumb to fear, which hinders the path to goals. At the same time, a person is aware of all possible risks and dangers, but still retains his mental stability and the level of quality of his activity. But do not confuse courage with stupid recklessness, exposing health and life to senseless risk. Such behavior causes not courage, but a desire to receive admiration and boasting of others.


Volitional qualities, which will be described below, are called «systemic» because each of them is the result of a complex combination of several unidirectional character traits. For example, courage can be considered as a combination of courage, energy and self-control. These qualities include the emotional side of the personality, both intellectual and spiritual. If the primary volitional qualities are poorly developed in a person, then it is very difficult to develop systemic qualities on their basis.


Already from the name it is clear that the main thing in this capacity is the desire for a goal. This desire must be conscious and active and lead to certain results. No internal or external barriers can stop a purposeful person on the way to achieving his cherished goal. There are strategic goals that may take a long time to achieve.

Such goals define the principles and ideals of the individual. To achieve them, discipline is required, the ability to steadily follow the plan. And there are goals of a tactical nature, daily, monthly, etc. The ability to achieve them shows the ability of a person to quickly and correctly tune in to work, gather his thoughts and strength and meet the given short deadlines, despite the possibility of some obstacles and difficulties.


Persistence is usually indispensable companion of purposefulness. Thanks to this quality, the path to success is paved. But this happens if perseverance is supported by rationality and a clear understanding of why exactly this or that goal should be achieved and how to correctly calculate the forces and actions to achieve it so as not to waste energy. Perseverance allows you to achieve long-term strategic goals, preventing a person from losing faith and attitude.

But do not confuse perseverance with stupid stubbornness and unreasonable persistence.


A principled person necessarily has his own views, opinions and beliefs. It is they who are guided in their activities and in achieving goals. He is not afraid to demonstrate his position on a particular issue, he knows how to defend his point of view and remains true to it under any circumstances. Often integrity is paired with honesty or justice. The arguments of principled people are, as a rule, reasonable, objective and expedient.


An initiative person has energy, courage, integrity, independence. Such a person is always ready to take responsibility for his actions and actions. The initiators want, as a rule, to achieve not only personal goals, but also public ones, acting for the benefit of others. They strive for transformation, for creating better conditions for life, for putting in order what requires it. Most often, enterprising people achieve success in social activities and in creativity. These are active, ideological and creative people.


Making thoughtful and balanced decisions and implementing them step by step is what lies at the heart of decisiveness. If there are any problems and obstacles on the way to achieving goals, a decisive person does not get lost and does not wait for everything to work out by itself, on the contraryacts promptly and without hesitation, quickly building a new plan of action and thereby bypassing or eliminating the obstacles that have arisen. Decisiveness implies the presence of logic in actions and an immediate transition from thought to action. Therefore, one should not confuse decisiveness with impulsiveness, they are not the same thing.

Impulsive people act under the influence of emotions, and there is no logic in their actions.


A person with such a strong-willed quality clearly sees the desired goal in front of him. and knows how to consistently go to it. He analyzes all his actions, based on the final result, which should be obtained according to his understanding. The strategist not only draws up a detailed plan of his actions, but also correctly prioritizes. As well as skillfully adapts on the way to the goal and changes in conditions, as well as the emergence of unforeseen circumstances.


A self-sufficient person is distinguished by independence and the ability to do without outside support in solving his problems and achieving his goals. Such people are not afraid of loneliness and do not need anyone’s help. Their activity depends only on them. They are not amenable to outside influence if it is contrary to common sense and their deep convictions. But at the same time they are able to soberly and critically evaluate their actions.

How to develop?

The formation and development of a person’s volitional qualities goes on throughout life when faced with various problems, obstacles, difficulties and difficulties, if necessary, make some decisions, when setting and achieving various goals. They train the will and instincts of self-preservation and survival, laid down by nature, and the genetic heritage of mental and physical abilities and capabilities transmitted by ancestors, and the educational base of childhood and adolescence. But the most important and important motive for the development of willpower is the desire for self-improvement of the individual and the desire to achieve success in life.

Ways to develop and strengthen willpower:

  • start instilling in yourself a love for a healthy lifestyle and try to get rid of bad habits, if any;
  • go in for any kind of sport (athletes have always been considered one of the most strong-willed individuals);
  • sign up for a club of interest and attend classes regularly;
  • whatever you do, try to complicate the process, the development of the volitional qualities of a professional is determined by the fact that he constantly directs the vector of his actions upwards so that over time the result of advanced training in a particular activity and an increase in the effectiveness of his actions become noticeable;
  • subject all your plans and actions to analysis, as well as the results — both successful and unsuccessful.

Ideally, one should start training the will in childhood. If you have not had time to do this, then, as they say, it is never too late, it will just be more difficult to do it. As for the upbringing of children, the same advice is appropriate here as for adults.

To become a strong-willed person in the future, a child will be helped by attending sports sections and various circles, observing a strict daily routine, regulating behavior through classes and exercises conducted with a child psychologist.

Psychologist’s advice

If you want to develop volitional qualities in yourself, then psychologists advise the following.

  • The first thing you need to do is to learn how to set goals intelligently. You can not immediately load yourself with overwhelming tasks. This will not lead to positive results. If you manage to achieve the first small result, then this will cause joy and satisfaction, which will become an incentive to achieve the next goal. That is, learn to gradually move from simple to complex.
  • Determine for yourself an area that will serve as the basis for the development of volitional qualities. It can be a profession, a hobby, some other interests. It is better to choose an area that you will start to master from scratch. This will help you see how quickly and efficiently the development process is going.
  • Keep a diary of successes and failures. Success will stimulate the desire for new success. And the analysis of failures will help to learn from mistakes and take this into account in the future, but one should try to take failures calmly, perceiving them as “teachers”.
  • Praise yourself for success (if you are working on educating the will of your children, then do not forget to praise them).
  • Be persistent and consistent in your actions. Do not forget that willpower training, like any other, should be regular.

If you do not develop constancy, then there will be no good result, on the contrary, it can cause laziness, apathy and sliding down to the original position.

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