(This is the fifth chapter of Scott Arney's Super Hero Series, which starts with Fear is Our Enemy)
You may know him as the guard that stands between you and the triple chocolate cake that is seductively transfixing you from the dessert menu. You may also know him as a reference point in some of my previous articles. You may have never heard of him before.
However you may know or not know him, I would like to re-introduce an old friend of mine, Will Power. Will, as he is known to his friends and relatives, is another one of those people I am lucky to know, a seemingly ordinary person with extraordinary super hero qualities.
At an early age, Will Power determined that he could exercise a greater control of his life and its direction if he took command of his decision-making. Once he developed that resolve, he quickly discovered that it was only the first step in his journey. Deciding what he wanted and how he was going to go about getting it was only the beginning.
Once he made a decision and then began taking the corresponding steps he determined he needed to take to achieve the goal associated with that decision, he started experiencing all kinds of unforeseen circumstances, unexpected turns, and various other obstacles.
When he gave thought to how he might be able to regain control over his situation, he started by looking for any common elements he could find amongst the events and situations that had knocked him off track. He determined that there were three main problems that he needed to fix: unclear priorities, a lack of focus, and inadequate determination.
This was his turning point because each of the three problems he identified were completely within his power to resolve and his resolution gave way to his three step process that ultimately made him more powerful than he ever could have imagined.
He tells me that when your priorities are in order, your path to your desired result is a lot less cluttered. More simply put, your priorities help you to determine whether or not the result of the action you take or don’t take will mean more to you than the result of doing the opposite.
If your priority is to lose weight than that result has to mean more to you than whatever pleasure you will derive from chowing down on that luscious dessert. If your priority is to save money than the benefit you will gain from that savings plan has to be more valuable to you than what you are considering spending that money on before you achieve your savings goal.
How you choose to set your priorities is merely an extension of your own decision-making. Will Power learned that his path to becoming a super hero would be much easier if he knew the rewards he would reap from setting goals and he would be more likely to achieve worthwhile rewards if he took the time he needed to organize his priorities up front. He also found that his priorities were easier to set when he made it a point to clearly understand the people and plans that were most important to him.
From there, he turned his attention to his lack of focus. He felt that it was something that was getting more difficult to achieve and maintain. Even if he was not seeking information, he was likely to get bombarded with it. As an example, even if he was not shopping for anything, he would still receive multiple sale offers. With the proliferation of social media and multiple communication channels, the opportunity to get distracted is greater than it ever has been.
Will Power figured out that the strength of his focus would basically be derived from the clarity of his priorities. He was able to maintain his focus by concentrating on what his priorities were. He is not immune to the potential distractions and temptations that you may be surrounded by. He simply is able to effectively ignore them because he is focused on his desired result or ultimate goal. Because he intertwines his focus with his priorities, both his focus and his priorities are individually and collectively stronger and more effective.
Once he had his priorities and focus lined up, the only test left for him to pass on his way to becoming a super hero was the strength of his resolve.
Anytime you demonstrate inner strength, you run the risk of putting yourself at odds with your peer group or your neighbors or your co-workers. You can count on there being a reason that it takes power to stay true to your own will or to follow a path that you have carefully planned.
Perhaps the strongest test of your will you will ever face comes from the people you know the best, your peer group. For as far back as you can remember, you have probably been aware of the pressure, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, to be like everyone else in your group. Maybe it was pressure to dress a certain way or pressure to conform to a certain type of thinking. Maybe you have felt pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle.
In whatever form it has taken, you have likely been subject to peer pressure. Will Power certainly was and as soon as he started to exercise his own will and his own decision-making, he found out just how uncomfortable it could be when he put his own thoughts and ideas to work, especially when they did not exactly align with those of his peer group.
He discovered that when he utilized his own unique abilities, he naturally began to set himself apart from others. This does not mean that he was on course toward confrontation with others, merely that he was acting in contrast to them because he was unlocking his own potential and becoming more distinct in the process.
Some of his peers adapted and some did not, but Will Power found that he also made new friends and developed new peers along the way. When he remained determined to achieve the goals he was setting, he found that he naturally attracted the company of others on a similar path.
When Will Power successfully put these steps together and locked them in with the strength of his resolve, he began to see firsthand just how powerful he was. His new found powers are unique to him in the same way that your powers would be unique to you were you to determine that you wanted to become your own version of Will Power.
Be sure to check Scott's Spot on Patrolmen's Dispatch for each chapter of his Super Hero Series, which starts with Fear is Our Enemy; and his ongoing Serial Decision Maker series.