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Is willpower really needed? || With youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how to improve willpower?

Acharya Prashant (AP): So, what has Aditya (the questioner) asked? “What can we do, to improve willpower?” Right?

What is ‘willpower’, and why do we need it? What is ‘willpower’?

Q: To have determination.

AP: To have determination. Determination, for what?

Q: For our goal.

AP: For our goal. To do (stressing on the word ‘do’) something. Right? To ‘do’ something. You need willpower in order that something happens, that something gets done, right? Now, why does something not get done? We often find that we are unable to act, to do (again stressing the word ‘do’).

Why are we unable to act, and ‘do’?

Q: Because of fear.

Q2: Because of restrictions.

AP: Fear. Restrictions.

If fear is there, if restrictions are there, and you give them importance, then obviously you cannot act. And when you cannot act, then you get up and say that you need willpower. So, willpower is needed only when you feel fear, only when you feel restrictions. In order to overcome them, you need willpower.

And that is what you are asking – “How can I enhance willpower?” What could be a better question? Would it not be a better question: “How not to be afraid? How not to be restricted?”

Are you trying it with me?

We say, “We need willpower.” What if willpower is actually not needed? What if you are fighting imaginary demons? You say, “You know, I require a lot of willpower to enter that room, because in that room there are ghosts, and there are demons.”

And as long as you believe that there are ghosts, and there are demons, what will you require? Willpower. Willpower, motivation, somebody to give you courage, somebody to pump you up. What if you come to see that there are no ghosts, and there are no demons? Would you still require willpower?

(Pointing at one of the listeners sitting in the audience) You are shaking your head; would you require willpower to shake your head? You are again shaking your head; do you again require willpower?

Q2: No Sir.

AP: You are saying, “No, Sir.” Do you require any willpower to say, “No, Sir”?

You just know, and out of that clarity, a simple action is happening. There is no willpower needed. But, if you are told that "The fellow sitting in front of you is a maniac, and the moment somebody shakes his head, nods his head, he shoots from the podium itself", then you will need a lot of willpower to nod in ‘Yes’, or ‘No’. Right?

Otherwise, the action is simple. If you have to enter a room, you have to just step in. If you have to shake your head, you just shake it. A simple nod.

We need willpower because we have created obstacles. When we look into these obstacles, we find that they are only as long as we believe in them. Then you do not need willpower, Wisdom is enough. Then you do not need courage, Clarity is sufficient.

But, instead of asking for Clarity, we often ask for courage. Now, courage is not needed, clarity is needed. Instead of asking for Wisdom, we ask for willpower. Willpower is not needed, Wisdom is enough.

If you are deeply afraid, and you believe that everybody will laugh at you when you will ask a question, then you will need a lot of willpower. But if you are wise and you say, “First of all, not many people are going to laugh. Secondly, even if somebody laughs, how does it matter to me?” then will you still need willpower?

You don’t need willpower. You need willpower only as an antidote to fear. Where there is no fear, there is no need for willpower. So, don’t ask me, “How to enhance willpower?” The more afraid you are, the more willpower you need.

Is that not so?

Q: Yes, Sir.


The more restricted you feel, the more willpower you need. Is that not so? Just open your eyes and see that there is no restriction, except those that you subscribe to, except those that you willingly self-impose.

Then you will say, “Well, willpower! Who needs it?” When you are enjoying a particular sport, then you run around a lot, and you expend a lot of energy. Do you need willpower?

Q: No.

AP: But you will need a lot of willpower if you are told to go jogging, and if you don’t enjoy jogging then jogging for even fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, you will say, “O my God, I am just dragging my feet. Give me some willpower.”

When you are really into something, when there is no fear, who asks for willpower?

It is not needed.

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