It Is Not About Willpower
Is Willpower A Gift?
People with enormous willpower can be hard to understand for those who lack such an invaluable quality. While I have always been praised for the constancy and consistency of my work, I have never been entirely satisfied. It is second nature to me, and I feel I could do more. In any case, because it is uncommon, we can make the mistake of accepting that willpower is something with which we are born. This is something I assumed from an early age: that I was strange because I could focus my efforts and carry on with my projects. Honestly, I have felt fortunate for this gift until recently. Now, I don’t think it is that much of a gift.
The other school of thought is that willpower is a matter of hard work. Although I am closer to this stance, I don’t believe it is as accurate as it could be. I know people who are exceptionally hard-working, but who fail to bring their projects to fruition. Something gets in the way. They lose steam. Something goes wrong, and they give up. How can someone with the willpower to raise three children and work two jobs not be able to spare an hour a day to write the novel they have always wanted to write? Perhaps it isn’t willpower, after all.
Our Sacred Spacetime
Indeed, it is more about mindset setting and habit forming than perseverance. The key to completing personal milestones and following our dreams is building the self-esteem necessary to believe we deserve a sacred space. If there is one thing accomplished creatives have in common is that they prioritise their time to create. A sacred spacetime that exists above all else is essential to reach such admirable goals. Friends will call, partners will ask, and children will demand. Yet, none of them can access our sacred spacetime if it is to be sacred. We will still need to shop and cook and take the rubbish out. Not while we live in our sacred spacetime. Not if it is to be sacred.
We will probably not have as many friends as we could. We will likely not experience some of the things other people will experience. It is the price of an extraordinary life. If it seems steep, then such a life is not for us — and there is no shame in that. The friends who will remain and the experiences we will have, though, will be worth every ounce of effort.
Today’s level of pessimistic optimism: 65%.
Written while listening to: ‘Music For 18 Musicians’ by Steve Reich & Eric Hall.
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