Pearl and I were talking a few days ago about will power. She said something that instantly made a lot of sense to me. She basically said that when you don’t exercise will power on a regular basis, it becomes very difficult to do so when you need to. I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s the gist of what she said.
And I agree!
We know it is scientific fact that when you do not use your brain, it becomes weak, just like muscles. And we also know that different tasks are assigned to different parts of your brain. So it makes sense that the part of you that does what you know you should do, instead of what you “feel like” doing, needs to be exercised regularly if you want it to be there for you when you need it.
The alternative is “atrophy of will“. Someone who doesn’t say no to the candy bar is going to have a lot more trouble saying no to something more important than just a candy bar.
I think the mistake some people make is that they assume it works the other way around. I know people see it this way with trumpet. They think that the mistakes they make at home, when they are practicing, are just minor mistakes. They will “get it right” in the performance because that’s more important. But it never works that way! If you are not getting it right at home, it’s a 99% chance that you won’t get it right on stage either.
Will power is the same way. You cannot assume you will ultimately do the right thing when it’s important to do so, if you’ve been slacking on everything leading up to that moment.
So, that is a thought for everyone to ponder today.
What do you think? Do you think that someone can exercise will power when they need it, regardless of whether they’ve exercised it in the past? Or do you agree that it must be exercised regularly or become atrophied?
(There is also a spiritual element to this conversation that I didn’t want to get into, other than to acknowledge that it exists.)