Some of the most profound lyrics I’ve ever heard were actually misheard.
“So, is this really me? When it all comes down to cycling trivialities?” — partially not said by Jose Gonzalez (song: Cycling Trivialities )
And this year, from really listening to the lyrics in Nirvana’s song Lithium:
“But that’s okay–my will is strong.” — possibly* said by Kurt Kobain (*I’m not sure if anyone’s at consensus on what he said)
Both lines brought me to consider human behavior and will power in new ways.
Be able to discern where your willpower is focused: is it coping, or aspiring?Then focus on creating the appropriate balance.Both are important, and it’s easy to not notice subtle problems in your own environment or behavior that signal coping with a deeper challenge.
Willpower is limited but strong, so long as you realize it’s premised on how we’re able to frame our needs for survival.
Earlier this year I realized right after experiencing major conflicts or going through chaotic circumstances that will power still exists, but shifts to prioritize healing/recovery and creating emotional momentum rather than outward aspirations. In a way, it’s a bit like exercising physically too: it needs time to recharge.
There’s a part of us that knows this is principally important, but might not always know the best way to do it when we are depleted.
So we might vest ourselves into seeking or creating rewards with intention while it’s on (cultivating a relationship, planning meals, etc.), or when depleted, we go into excess with indulgence in things that would normally be considered a basic reward (risky binge ____ing).
When living in an unstable environment or with very poor social support, short-sighted and thinking oriented toward self-care/selfishness becomes more compulsive. It’s okay, just check yourself and get help when you can–or offer support if you’re in the position to do so.
***End of post***
+#+#+Pasting a reply to someone else’s inquiry on will–if I recall correctly, it was a question about how we think about willpower and where might willpower come from:
For the sake of accessible conversation/response I think it’s useful to have a symbol (the very “fuzzy concept” that is “willpower”). I also think the kind of precision and thought you’re putting into it is outstanding because it’s exactly what we need for conscientious awareness about how we perceive our lives, and work through our challenges.
I still would emphasize looking at the processes associated with willpower, the fundamental inputs and behaviors. From there, it’s a matter of seeing whether psychology and what we associate with the term “willpower” are accurate.
The problem with starting with process is that it’s such a long-winded way of discussing, and it’s challenging to engage in-depth without using common words or creating some tangible definitions for others to interpret how you see vocabulary.
When “willpower” for positive (overtly beneficial) behaviors seems to run low, does it mean we’re without power? What does psychology say about that? I think psychology (the academic discipline) tends to frame things in really crushing and disempowering ways. e.g. various mental health conditions (ADD, radical attachment disorder, PTSD, etc.) are defined as permanent problems that people can’t recover or learn to overcome or adapt around.
Another thing I ponder: how did psychology get more prominent than other perspectives? Why don’t people approach it from a biological evolutionary perspective instead? It would allow us to consider how certain behaviors might be beneficial, and their limits. Or maybe zen? At least to examine behaviors as-is.
Edit: some relevant articles