What is Will Power?

   Even though some intellectuals tend to assimilate human beings with animals, psychology teaches us that the human being is superior to animals, because humans have an intellect, affection, liberty, and most of all, will power.

   The word will power derives from the Latin word “voluntas-voluntatis”, which means to want. It is an intentional act of orienting one’s self decisively towards something that it considered to be positive and valuable. There are three ingredients that can be identified as part of this power:

   1. A tendency or preference for something. It is having a longing and aspiration for something.

   2. A firm determination and decision for something concrete, after having evaluated all the different possibilities that were available.

   3. An action or implementation of all one’s personality in order to achieve that which is longed for.

   However, there is a distinction between wishing and wanting something: Wishing means to long for something from the affective or emotional point of view in a superficial manner. Some young people express this by saying: “I feel like…”, “I don’t feel like…” This wish, which has its roots in the emotional plane, does not lead to anything or hardly anything.

   Wanting, on the other hand, is more rational. It is born out of analysis and evaluation of values and ideals, thus it guides the mature individual towards reachable goals.

   In the process of will power, there are four phases that can be distinguished:

   1. To know the goal that we want to reach. The teenager, who has not learned to say “no”, wants to embrace too many things at once and it is exactly this dispersion that prohibits the individual from progressing towards the achievement of his or her objectives. On the other hand, the mature individual that stops to think can make concrete in a clear manner what are the wanted goals.

   2. To have specific motivations or an illusion for whatever surges and is attractive, thus pushing the individual to go after a far away and valuable goal. On the contrary, some young people are defined as “drifters”, without ideals or motivations. Will power cannot be cultivated from indifference.

   3. To firmly deliberate and analyze the means and the ends. Is it worth doing all of this? Is it worth making the effort to make this project happen? Or improving my personality? Or getting good grades? Or getting professional training? Is it worth it?

   4. The fourth phase is to decide or take a determined determination (as Saint Theresa of Jesus used to say) of achieving something. The mature individual is capable of establishing for him or herself concrete goals for life as well as make the efforts necessary to reach them (Translated by Gianna Sanchez Moretti).

Arturo Ramo

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