What is willpower, how is it manifested and how to develop it?

Every person periodically has to abstain from something, achieving their goals through overcoming difficulties. Achieving the desired result is possible with the expenditure of certain volitional efforts and actions, which are determined by an objective indicator of the willpower of the individual. Let us consider in more detail what willpower is, how it manifests itself and how to develop it.

What it is?

A strong will plus a strong character help a person achieve great achievements in life, build a career. Emotional intelligence also means a lot for successful advancement in various fields of activity. Motivation usually leads to overcoming obstacles. It is taken from the benefit established by reason.

In psychology, there is a definition: willpower is the ability of an individual to carry out conscious actions associated with overcoming internal obstacles in order to achieve the intended goal. This concept is closely related to the objective indicator of the will of the individual. To what extent the individual does not allow impulsive movements and copes with the difficulties that arise in the form of temptations and temptations.

Internal obstacles are associated with the unwillingness of the individual to make any necessary movements. Laziness, passivity, bad mood, feeling of fear can serve as a hindrance.


The will of a person is expressed in the ability to overpower oneself, to cope with one’s negative emotions when performing tasks.


Physiology classifies willpower as voluntary action.. The anterior part of the cerebral cortex is responsible for movement, the posterior lobe for direct communication with the outside world. Both lobes consist of the cortical tips of the analyzers. External stimuli that enter there activate a complex system of motor areas of the frontal lobe. The regulatory function of willpower is performed by the second signaling system.


An important role is played by speech signals expressed by verbal indications of the inner speech of the person himself or coming from others. The left lobe of the anterior cortex controls the “I will” aspect of volitional action, the right lobe controls “I will not”, the lower area controls the “I want”. Together, these zones provide self-control and self-awareness of a person, in other words, they are responsible for volitional actions.


How is it different from the power of the spirit?


Both qualities are characteristic of a strong personality. But there are differences, because not all strong-willed people have fortitude, and spiritually strong individuals have good willpower. A strong-willed person who does not have the strength of mind can turn into a tyrant. Willpower means the implementation of conscious efforts on oneself on the way to external achievements.

The strength of the spirit is determined by the inner core of the individual. A spiritually strong person always follows his moral and ethical principles. She does not allow the humiliation of others.

The ability to forgive depends on what strength of mind a person possesses. A weak-minded individual is not inclined to forgive other people.

What happens?

Any person is able to control their intentions. In the absence of a conscious desire to achieve the realization of one’s own dreams, the individual does not perform the necessary actions. Weak will does not allow him to achieve the goal. A weak-willed person lacks firmness in bringing the decision to the desired result.

The average cost of volitional actions can be expressed by the ability to give up at some point and to show incredible efforts in equal measure. A strong, inflexible, «iron» will is observed in a fantastically strong personality, which has a huge, inexhaustible internal energy, which it directs to achieve a great goal. A good will helps a person to come to the desired result.

Volitional processes implement 3 main functions.

  • Incentive. A person can begin a conscious movement towards the intended goal, making efforts to overcome obstacles. This variety is also called the initiating will.
  • Stabilizing. A person shows diligence to maintain vigorous activity at the right level in the face of internal and external interference.
  • Brake. Achieving the goal may be associated with the limitation of some stronger desires, which are an obstacle to its realization.


How is it manifested?


Volitional actions of a person are reflected in his behavior and character. They manifest themselves in moments of struggle with temptations and obstacles that have arisen. Whether a person has a good will can be understood by some of his actions.

For example, to move up the career ladder, an employee needs to prepare a package of documents. There are 3 motives: obtaining additional knowledge, increasing wages and prestige. Under their influence, the goal is formed — to make high-quality documentation. The execution of volitional actions depends on the subject himself. Not always the decision made can be implemented.

A strong-willed person is able to do important things on time, and not postpone them for an indefinite period. He always has time for everything.

With a strong-willed person, many problems are solved, because he is not distracted by various trifles. He keeps all the promises he made to himself. in time.

What does it depend on?

The volitional qualities of a person contribute to the mobilization of his internal reserves and to keep him from undesirable actions. Of no small importance are the chosen method of achieving the goal, the efforts expended. A person’s desires form his aspirations, while everything superfluous and unnecessary is cut off. Self-confidence helps to transform desires into intended goals.

The formation of volitional qualities is inextricably linked with the character and intellect of the individual. It depends on the beliefs, worldview of the individual.

  • purposefulness lies in the willingness and determination to systematically implement a sustainable life goal. The active activity of the individual is consciously directed to obtain a specific result.
  • Independence expressed in submission to one’s own views and beliefs. But this does not mean that an independent person rejects someone else’s opinion. He listens to him, evaluates, but ultimately makes his own decision.
  • Determination implies a timely transition to the implementation of decisions made without unnecessary delays. This quality is especially pronounced when there is a choice of measures in a difficult situation. Any wrong decision is associated with great risk. In some cases, you need to quickly orient yourself and immediately take a reasonable action.
  • persistence is a necessary quality for successful educational and labor activity. A persistent person never stops on the way to achieving a goal, does not give up at the slightest setback. He makes an effort to solve problems.
  • Endurance (patience, self-control) involves maintaining composure in the most difficult situations. A patient person is able to endure any hardships, pain. He can, if necessary, endure hunger, thirst, refuse to rest.
  • Courage gives impetus to the fulfillment of desires. It is connected with the willingness of a person to go through suffering, adversity. A brave person, if necessary, is able to overcome the fear of losing his own well-being, health and even life.
  • Courage differs from courage in the manifestation of courage and composure in an extreme situation, even in the presence of mortal danger. Courageous individuals have great endurance and perseverance. They are able to gather their will into a fist and step towards death in order to save another person.
  • Discipline associated with the conscious implementation of the established regime and daily routine, compliance with certain rules. It is easier for a disciplined person to overcome the most diverse obstacles encountered on the way to achieving the goal.


Why is it needed?


It is no coincidence that V. G. Belinsky considered this property one of the hallmarks of genius. The ability of an individual to make an effort on himself and force himself to sacrifice temporary pleasure gives him the opportunity to achieve great success in business. Entrepreneurs are capable of mobilizing their internal reserves and self-control. The level of willpower is impossible to measure, to compare how it is developed in different people. All proposed tests for its measurement are approximate.

There is one indisputable fact: no matter how developed willpower is, it is necessary for all people. If it is completely absent, then a person can quickly lose his health.

There are times in every person’s life when the mind and body come into conflict with each other. A person understands that smoking leads to lung cancer, but still succumbs to momentary weakness and once again lights up. Quitting a cigarette for the sake of maintaining health is possible only when confronting an addiction. A well-developed will power enables the mind to prevail over the lower desires of the body. The weaker the will, the more difficult it is to resist the passions.

Good volitional qualities play an important role in achieving success in studies, work, and effectively solving everyday problems. They are necessary so that a person can build high-quality romantic relationships, resolve conflict situations.

How to develop?


Even the most weak-willed person is able to develop and strengthen willpower. He can stop indulging his weaknesses and desires with the help of systematic training. The formation of the ability to volitional actions should be distinguished by constancy and regularity.

The easiest way to develop strong-willed qualities is in sports.

Self-discipline builds character. You can start its development with morning exercises, with the rules set for yourself. Effort trains perseverance and improves health. In these cases, motivation and self-discipline are important. It is possible to gain control over your desires.

The development of volitional qualities is sometimes compared with muscle training, since the brain, by analogy with human muscles, can enhance abilities in the right direction. Just as regular exercise strengthens a muscle and promotes its growth, so willpower is trained by daily work to eradicate the desire to be led by one’s own lusts.

Sometimes a very harsh method of tempting oneself with temptations is used. For example, if she wants to become slim, a girl puts juicy chebureks on the table, looks at them, inhales an appetizing aroma, but does not touch the product. This barbaric method is an effective means for developing the will. The alcoholic pours the contents of the bottle into the toilet with his own hands, and the heavy smoker, having crumpled up a pack of cigarettes, throws it into the wastebasket.

Helps some people to quit smoking switching attention. For example, a strong desire to pick up a cigarette is suppressed by switching thoughts to other considerations. You can find a statement phrase that makes you feel like a non-smoker: «I am the owner of my healthy lifestyle.» Affirmations can be written on a piece of paper. If necessary, they are spoken loudly and clearly.


Not bad help sports, yoga, meditation, reading books.


Expert advice


Experts recommend using several effective techniques to form the will.

  • Stick to a set daily routine. Start by getting up early, which gives you extra time to develop yourself or do useful things. When shifting awakening an hour earlier, you need to overcome another temptation — to lie down longer in bed.
  • Get planning. Compliance with the planned actions in strict sequence helps to get rid of instant unnecessary desires. Plan to read useful books, learn a foreign language, and do other interesting things. Check back once a week to see if your goals are being met.
  • Finish what you started. Sometimes there is a great temptation to stop doing something because of the desire to switch to another, more interesting job. It is necessary to show strong-willed efforts in the process of performing daily duties.
  • Always keep your word to someone. Such an act is reflected in the trust of others, the improvement of social status. A fulfilled word is sometimes associated with overcoming laziness or indecision, an attempt to force oneself to perform the necessary action.
  • Get rid of guilt in time. Some people self-flagellate because of any candy they eat. They reproach themselves for their incontinence. In fact, guilt causes stress, spoils the mood, thereby complicating an already difficult situation.
  • Sign up for the sports section. A physically weak person loses self-control faster. Sports bring up the will, develop the ability to cope with difficulties, contribute to the formation of determination, courage, temper character and strengthen the spirit.
  • Give up bad habits. Excessive alcohol consumption, gambling addiction, overeating, smoking, drugs adversely affect health. The fight against passions requires great volitional efforts from the individual. First, you should limit yourself, and then completely abandon bad addictions.

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