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The lie that willpower is not enough

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posted on Aug, 3 2016 @ 08:32 PM
all i ever hear is that people cannot rely on willpower alone to overcome issues there are facing…
that powers beyond your control whether your subconscious/habits/ addictions, brain, or any other factors are controlling you.

i think this is the biggest effing lie out there.

definition of WILL

the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.
"she has an iron will"
synonyms: determination, willpower, strength of character, resolution, resolve, resoluteness, single-mindedness, purposefulness, drive, commitment, dedication, doggedness, tenacity, tenaciousness, staying power
"the will to succeed"
control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one's own impulses.
noun: willpower
"a stupendous effort of will"
willpower. the power to take control of your situation is all you have. its the only thing you can use to change your situation. everyone who hits rock bottom must make a choice eventually.
you are in charge of your own destiny.


the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
"the power of speech"
synonyms: ability, capacity, capability, potential, faculty, competence
"the power of speech"
the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
"the idea that men should have power over women"
supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy.
"the car is powered by a fuel-injected 3.0-liter engine"
move or travel with great speed or force.
"they powered past the dock toward the mouth of the creek"


the ABILITY to make a CHOICE

why are we being lied to and told that willpower will not change our lives?

if willpower is not what it takes to overcome then we are basically passive beings just floating along and accepting our circumstances.

that is totally wrong if you ask me!

posted on Aug, 3 2016 @ 09:02 PM
I completely agree with your OP dreamlotus, willpower or the lack of, is a choice, sometimes a hard one, but a choice all the same. Some people may willfully decide to conquer their obstacles with some sort of help or support, but it has to start with the individuals will to change the situation.

I also think the whole "all or nothing" is bogus too......there is wisdom in "everything in moderation"....

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 01:10 PM
"Whether you believe you can or that you can't, you are probably correct." ~ I forgot

Belief (or willpower) is a magical thing. And coincidentally the power behind most "magic".

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 01:14 PM
a reply to: JDeLattre89

Very true - i have struggled to do certain things throughout life but generally once you do it, then you know you can and it works every time.

Even Harry Potter touched on this with his Patronus projection, Yoda - there is no try, do or do not.

Plenty of other examples in most cultures throughout history not just recent films.

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 06:00 PM
a reply to: dreamlotus1111

Interesting topic but so few replies. That does not surprise me. I usually head for threads with least replies if I want to read something very meaningful on ATS.

You are absolute right of course. However, I detect some lack of conviction. Although you know that WILL is the key to achieving things , you seem to feel that we are "lied to". I don't think anyone cares about what others think about will power. You either have it and use it or you don't.

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 06:36 PM
a reply to: dreamlotus1111

I disagree.

I had a methamphetamine habit from 14 years old to 23. I'd quit, and go back and quit and go back, over and over again. I OD'd and nearly died. Quit for a few days (yes days) and went back. At one point I weighed 72 lbs, I was covered in lice, and living out of my car. I quit for about four months after that; new state, new friends, a home and a supportive, patient husband and... went back. How much I willed to triumph over that addiction (and I willed it incessantly) did not matter, I couldn't shake it.

One morning about three years after that previously described Rock Bottom, I woke up, and just decided that I was done with it. I realized that I was a # useless human being, and I needed to change everything about me, my moral framework, my sense of entitlement, my ethics, my thought processes, my priorities, everything had to change. I was relatively healthy at the time. I had a roof over my head and a job, but I was still using. I dumped what I had down the toilet and just... walked away. That was fifteen years ago.

I don't feel like it was will power, there was just a profound moment of clarity that caused a cataclysmic shift in my thinking. After that, it was relatively easy. Not much "will power" involved at all. I will say that I was standing on more stability and consistency than I had ever known in my life, and I think that was the most important thing. My world was no longer chaotic and sinister and dangerous. I was safe. For the first time in my life, I did not have to constantly worry about life and limb.

I don't think will power will save you. I think that stability and making wise choices about your support network will save you, but only if that support network will continue to stand by you while you fail and fail and fail again. I was very, very lucky to have that and so... I overcame, but most of that doesn't have very much to do with any internal attribute that I possess, it was because other people were kind and willing to hold me up while I staggered and fell.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 04:55 AM
a reply to: redhorse

Good job on kicking that addiction!

However, I think its funny that you say, it had nothing to do with willpower. If you hadnt had that willpower to want to change, you hadnt done it. And that is what most addicts lack, the willpower.
Lots of addicts have a good support system, supporting families and/or therapists and whatnot. But all that wont do anything, if they dont want to quit, if they lack the will to quit.

I think, you should give yourself more credit and realize, it was really YOU who had the will to quit and made it happen!

Oh and I totally agree with the OP!

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 05:34 AM
a reply to: dreamlotus1111

Willpower is sometimes enough and sometimes not enough.

It's not enough to stop a loved one from dying of cancer. It won't cure acne and it won't overcome cystic fibrosis. There are some things in life that willpower alone can't stop. It never stopped a plane crash and people pray pretty hard when they're facing death.

Willpower's great for losing the pounds, succeeding in sports or even writing a book. It's a great strength to have, but it isn't a panacea for all the ills and woes of this world.

If anything, the *lie* is how willpower and positive thinking are being marketed as cures for things they can't touch.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 09:13 AM
Interesting thread, and I agree with the OP and all replies so far.
I thought of the nefarious 12-step programs that most "addiction" treatment is based on. I'm here to tell you it does not work the way it is thought to work.

"Surrendering" is not enough. Will power is how you change yourself (or you have sudden clarity and realize you're done with whatever). Not talking about anything but addiction here -

it's the claiming that "I have no control over this behavior" that is the lie.
God doesn't control you, only you control you. If you need God as a crutch, then you are just substituting one thing for another, which is fine and a common strategy. I have quit many things that I realized were counterproductive. Just walk away. Just say no. That's really the trick. Just say no.

As for actual physical illness (like true alcoholic physical addiction, which very few people actually have), that's a different thing.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 11:51 AM
a reply to: justbe

love this comment and that is totally my point. i have struggled with various addictions and its almost like everyone under the sun is trying to convince you that there are powers beyond your control preventing you from stopping. i cant understand why people do this? maybe they are trying to sell you a cure but even if its friends or family they have this hopeless attitude when it comes to healing...

i think its great REDHORSE that you were able to overcome your issues
but i agree that moment of clarity is not more then WILLPOWER! you had to make the decision after becoming tired of your situation. no one else did it for you.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 12:09 PM
a reply to: redhorse

Glad to hear you kicked it

Most addictions seem to be like that - most of us want to kick the habit but not enough to do it.

But if you get that moment of clarity it just seems easier - it's like your thinking has changed and you just lose the desire to do whatever it was any more. You just see the truth if you like without all the bells and whistles - it's bad for me so why on earth would i want to take that.

I know that sounds flippant but I hope you see why I am trying to say

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 12:32 PM
Honestly it's some sort of retardation to think willpower isn't enough. I got caught a couple times for DWI, and had to take some classes on corrective thinking, and substance abuse... you know state mandated, lowest common denominator.. crap.

It took me a solid month to get the counselor to come around to my views. She was pretty broken by the time I was done with her

Had to slowly ease her into viewing things differently. I wonder if she still has it in her to teach the way the state wants her to.

There is no logic at all in thinking something outside your own willpower gets you through the process of restructuring your psyche. You can't do it outside of yourself... it's impossible. I can understand locking someone up in a center to push them through withdrawal (safely), but after that the locks are internal, and you are the only one who holds the key to your salvation.

I'd like to note as well that when I first became sober, was a few weeks after my parents told me they were getting a divorce. It was when my Father's company was at a very low point financially, and we had to shoulder the burden (my brother, father and I) of pushing through our debit and coming out not on the streets.

It would have been most easy for me to give up and call it quits. I don't take the easy way out. I also tried to quit a few times prior, and it didn't work out. I'm fully aware that it took all that prior will-power... energy... to begin the process that lead to my realization.
edit on 5-8-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 12:39 PM
DUI many years ago. Didn't really deserve it but was above the limit and setup. Had to go to AA quit drinking and it wasn't an issue but AA seemed to have an answer for everything except the one thing, you can't recover it's against their rules!! That baffled me why bother trying if you cannot succeed. I never could wrap my head around being a recovering alcoholic the rest of my life. Why bother then and not trying to recover was OK with the AA crowd????

Moved on and life is good.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 01:07 PM
Meh. I guess I don't agree entirely. I don't think we can say anything definitive and universal like that.
Not all people are the same, not all situations are the same. My handicapped (oh wait, what's the PC term now? Disabled, Challenged??) sister has more will power than any person I have yet to meet on earth- and yet, I can and have done more than her in life.

But she has real obstacles in her physical and mental make up! She wasn't supposed to ever get beyond a vegetable that cannot walk, eat or use a toilet- but now she has a job, drives a car, raised a child....

I think it is good to develop will, and to use it. However, the irony of life from my seat in the show is that those with the least real obstacles or challenges actually develop and use their force of will a lot less than those who with more limits.

I grew up lazy. I had certain gifts that made things too easy for me for too long. I didn't realize this until I was an adult.
It was a big lesson I learned working with horses at first, when it finally hit me- I just had to CHOOSE or decide, what was going to happen next, what the horse was going to do next. Period.

It was not about what I'd like him to do, and geez, how exactly am I going to get him to do that???
It was just this big choice- BOOM- and then it goes as I have chosen. Something in my body language carries that will; my actions spill forth from that will... there is no doubt, there is no calculating to do, no worry, no "what if...", just "this is what is happening now, I have chosen."

It sounds silly, but it was an internal experience that enabled me to use that same will in other areas of live as well. We can do much with force of will.

But still. We have limits that are real too sometimes.

edit on 5-8-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 03:16 PM
a reply to: dreamlotus1111
Thank you.
I dont know why they do that, to keep them controlled maybe, dunno. I can totally relate to the friends and family with a hopeless attitude and I simply gave up talking to them about certain issues. They dont want to hear that they are in charge and its really down to their way of thinking. Also has a lot to do with taking full responsibility for your own actions. Its always easier to blame others or circumstances or your childhood or whathaveyou.

a reply to: pl3bscheese
great post! good for you!

a reply to: Bluesma
Wow, very impressive what your sister accomplished!
Maybe it's all in the definition of what one calls "real limits". Seems like your sister didnt define her limitations as "real"

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 03:30 PM
a reply to: Kandinsky

Well, of course my will cant stop a loved one from dying of cancer. It has to be their will. I cant make anybody else do anything. We all have our own will, our own free will.
Lots of diseases are overcome with will and positive thinking (and trust and faith).
How do you know if it never stopped a plane crash... if the plane didnt crash....

And yes, people do pray pretty hard and lots of times that works too.

The lie is, that it is not up to us, that we are victims of circumstances, genetics, fate and luck, and that we have no control of ourselves, our bodies and our lives.
Because we do

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 03:34 PM
"be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

Willpower, setting goals and then achieving them, brings even more motivation and more willpower than most people imagine.

posted on Aug, 7 2016 @ 01:48 AM

originally posted by: justbe

Wow, very impressive what your sister accomplished!
Maybe it's all in the definition of what one calls "real limits". Seems like your sister didnt define her limitations as "real"

That's just it- I raised her, I was the one that repeated that mantra to her all her life. It did get her to accomplish more than anyone expected. But the problem is- she still runs into limits she can't seem to get past, and it causes her much confusion and distress. She is a shaky stressed out little thing, constantly down on herself because she is not out accomplishing amazing feats, or not doing things as well as others around her who don't have the same disabilities.

The stress she lives with inside ruins her life in many ways. This ideology can be a source of maladaptive perfectionism, perpetual discontent; a cognitive dissonance with reality and ones own physical body.

It's a coping mechanism, a tool to be used in specific situations. Repeat it and believe it while you are studying for a big exam, or trying to kick an addiction. But then, when you've done that, come back to earth, put the tool down and remember that is what it was. Nobody lives with a hammer in their hands at all times, though a hammer is a useful thing indeed.

There are times when accepting oneself (with flaws and weaknesses even) can be very important too.

posted on Aug, 7 2016 @ 01:56 AM
a reply to: dreamlotus1111

Hey dream lotus1111: I deeply appreciate your point of view, and when I was 25 would likely have completely agreed with you, so strong was my will....

However, after many long years, I gotta say, ever lived through torture, for instance? Ever been in so much pain, and wracked by hell that you'd do almost anything to make it stop, if someone offered you something else for the relief?

I don't think unless you've been through that, that it's so easy to judge what you're currently judging.

But that's just me. And by the way, I hope sincerely, you never go through something like that.
There is a way, to hold onto your integrity while still experiencing the depths of misery and hell on earth. But thinking you always have a choice, and it's as simple as your will is a little naive, imho......

For instance, I notice this about your profile: your mood: "certain." Again, imho, the more we know the less certain we are of absolutely anything. I try never to judge in absolutes, because I've found every time I did, the universe has a way of teaching me my lack of understanding. I don't invite that any longer, so hard that lesson can be, my friend.
Just because, for instance, that is your particular experience in life, doesn't mean t's everyone else's. Functionally, what that really means is you aren't wrong, but neither are they. We all have our own perspective, experiences and attendant fears/wishes/insecurities/weak and strong points. Think no one and nothing manipulates us by all that? Think you are so strong you are beyond manipulation? Many who are manipulated are very strong, but none are beyond the manipulations, frankly. If you are being hurt, my friend, you will do just about anything, if the pain is great enough, to get away from it. If you have a child, for instance, and someone takes the child in front of you and points a gun to your child's head, and says, "Do what I tell you, or your child is dead,".....forgive the graphic reference, herein, but who wouldn't do whatever was demanded?
Just saying'.
take care.
edit on 7-8-2016 by tetra50 because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-8-2016 by tetra50 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 7 2016 @ 01:59 AM

originally posted by: justbe
a reply to: Kandinsky

Well, of course my will cant stop a loved one from dying of cancer. It has to be their will.

That has absolutely nothing to do with will.

Lots of diseases are overcome with will and positive thinking (and trust and faith).

I think you need to actually look into the raw data. You can't look through unbiased statistics and still have this perspective.

The lie is, that it is not up to us, that we are victims of circumstances, genetics, fate and luck, and that we have no control of ourselves, our bodies and our lives.
Because we do

Genetics go a long way, but they are not the end all be all. You can think of genetics as the underlying hardware, and will power having more to do with the software which runs on top of the hardware. We can tweak the code, but still there are inherent, hard limitations that will power does nothing for.

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