Willpower = Persistence?
Because a lot of things that we do in our lives require persistence, people think enthusiasm or willpower is the key factor that gives us results. Of course, in some cases, just doing something actually gives good results, but only short term. Like, workout, getting up early, cleaning etc doesn’t require too much thinking, if you do them, you get results immediately. But how is it when it comes to maintaining them? or building a study habit? or building a business? people forget, quit, don’t have time etc. You need persistence, and persistence is not equal to enthusiasm or willpower. Enthusiasm or willpower is only needed when starting something new.
My University Story
When I was a university student, I was one of the people who spent all day at the library from when they open to close. I did that for 5 years. I didn’t like it, but I kept doing it. Some of you might have similar experience. Initially, I was eager to become one of the top professionals in the medical field, but it only lasted 1~2 years. The reason why my enthusiasm lasted that long was because I was actually pretty good and that gave me confidence in becoming the top professional. Belief that you will succeed makes your enthusiasm or willpower last longer.
But what if you dont have much good results? How do you believe in yourself if you don’t have any good results? Its about being positive. Lets give an example in terms of business. If you run a store and you have 100 visitors a day and 1 person buys your product, thats 1% conversion rate. Let’s say you did an advertisement and raised that conversion rate to 2%. In negative perspective, you only sold 1 more product, still there’s 98 people who didn’t buy the product. But in a positive perspective, you’ve doubled your conversion rate, If you run the business for a year, you’ve got 365 more people buying your product. Do you see the difference there? if you were looking at it in a negative perspective, you would want to stop running the business, but if you were in the positive side, you would be considering running it longer. That is how you believe in yourself, by looking at the positive side.
Back to Uni Story
But anyway, how did I go after my enthusiasm burned out at uni? by the time I burned out all my enthusiasm, I have built a habit in going to the library to study, but what was more important was, I have created an environment where I must be doing this. First, I had nothing else to do other than going to university. Second, the knowledge I’ve built in that 1~2 years was in medical science field, so I couldn’t transfer to other courses like accounting or law because I’ve already used so much time and effort in acquiring these science knowledge which I can’t use in other fields, because that would be throwing away all my time and effort.
Another example – Exercise
I know its not a good example because I had to do it for my future survival and not everything kills you even if you don’t do them. Lets give an example of exercise then. I do weightlifting, I used to go to the gym very often but at some point, I started slacking and I didn’t go to gym often. I also started eating junk foods a lot. So I decided to just stop and think for a while about why I am not doing it, and I noticed I’m a person that hates going outside, I don’t like packing up all my gym gears and also I didn’t have a set goal. So I decided to set a goal so that I know what I have to focus on at workout, and also bought some gym equipments to set up at my house. This way, I reduce time to get ready and go to the gym, and I don’t have a walk all the way. I don’t have to prepare anything, and I can just enjoy exercise straight away at my house. Also, having a set goal gave me a bit of determination, and I started to eat healthy to get to my goal. It was some simple changes. But it changed the way I acted, and reduced the time spent as well. Also some gym membership fees! Setting up a environment doesn’t have to be anything fancy or scientifically backed up by evidence or something like that. It can be simple.
Persistence = Environment!
Of course, not all things will be that simple. Some people give up thinking the problem is in themselves because they lack the willpower and they start to put themselves down. But its not you, its the environment you are in. You can change that environment. Also, in the process of making the right environment for you, you will go through some trial and errors. You don’t have to get it right on the first go, as I told everyone, its not a race.
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