As some of you may recall from last blog that I just finished a MasterCleanse detox. It’s a liquid diet. You don’t eat any solid foods at all. The minimum you can do it for is 10 days and I did it for 15 days last year. And this year I decided to push my limits and do it for 20 days. When I discuss this with others their first reaction is “What, Amazing Self Control”, “You have a lot of will power”. I thought I will dedicate this blog to my favorite friend – Will Power.
The dictionary meaning of Will Power is “control exerted to do something or restrain impulses” If you are planning to do yoga everyday or stop eating chocolates – will power is your best friend.
First thing about Will Power is that you can build it – it’s not something that is genetic or hereditary. You can work on it like meditation really! In India, when I was growing up the only way to ace exams was to memorize textbooks. Teachers would give you answers and you had to regurgitate them in the exam papers. I generally didn’t care much for studies so I didn’t even give memorizing a shot.
When I was in Delhi one of my close friends was trying to memorize a answer to a Hiroshima/Nagasaki question and she asked for my help. And in helping her I ended up memorizing the answer, and not just that I could repeat it in a super fast manner as well. This was a new skill that I had discovered and it got me excited. This did not encourage me to study though.
It wasn’t until I was in Nagpur that I was driven to excel and ultimately to memorize. And I still remember how I started – I would write down every answer thrice for almost 2-3 days [Yes, I am extremist and obsessive] it was a lot of hard work initially but slowly I realized that even if I wrote an answer only once I would remember it perfectly.Soon it got to a point where I could read something and memorize it quickly. This required a lot of will power and mental stamina but it grew easier over time. The point I am making is that Will Power is like a muscle which grows stronger every time you use it. Doing MasterCleanse for 20 days was one such way to exercise my Will Power.
Another quote is that if you exert too much of the Will Power then you might end up doing violence to yourself. Just like every marathon runner knows that there are limits so does Will Power. This is where Aristotle’s Golden Rule comes into play – “Moderation is the key to virtue” Sometimes you have to do violence to yourself to find out where your limits are.
Another important factor is how important it is for your really – for me it was important to look thin, important enough that I could motivate myself. This is summarized very well in the quote below.
The ultimate goal for Will Power is where you do an activity not because you will it, but because it’s who you are. It should be such an integral part of your life that you don’t even think twice about doing it. And you start off by willing yourself to do it and take it to the point where you just do it.
For example, When I first started meditating it was a battle in my mind until I got to my seat and now it’s a almost a reflex action to wake up and meditate. It was achieved by a)awareness of the importance of meditation in my life b)exercising my Will Power muscle slowly and steadily and c)by keeping my mat next to the bed.
It is a journey you embark on from Will Power to Just Do It. One Step at a time and from violence to inner peace. And as I stated in one of my previous blogs –
You cannot travel the path until you become the path.