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Willpower is Overrated!
By Doug Bench
If I were to ask what was the most important characteristic for overcoming procrastination, for persistence, and long-term achievement, most would answer by saying willpower. That would not be an unusual answer, but it would be wrong. Willpower is vastly overrated as the leading trait used by success-minded achievers. If we keep this discussion on a scientific level, willpower cannot be responsible for more than one-sixth of anyone's success. The real secret to success is your imagination and your ability to visualize success. This powerful trait is responsible for five-sixths of every great achievement.
Suppose that you have set a goal to lose 10 pounds. You are absolutely determined to be 10 pounds lighter by next month! You are using your willpower to prove that you are stronger and more powerful than those extra cookies and calories. So you say to yourself, "I will not overeat... I will not overeat... You repeat this to yourself over and over again, using your willpower. But all the time you are consciously saying this, your imagination is visualizing how great those cookies smell, and telling you how great those cookies taste. Sooner or later you will grab those cookies or extra calories and chug them down. Why?
Whenever you have a conflict between willpower and your imagination, whenever they are pulling in opposite directions, your imagination will ALWAYS win! But if your willpower and imagination are working together, pulling toward the SAME goal, this will create an all-powerful force that is impossible to overcome, and success is always the automatic, inevitable result.
Now this sounds great, but how does this work scientifically? Most sources of self-help tell you "what" you should do. But very few tell you "how" things work. KNOWLEDGE is the real key to success. Revolutionary brain-science discoveries have been made in the last few years. In that research lays the proof of the above theory and how you can put this to use in your life to overcome procrastination, and reach transcendent levels of success.
While using a PET scanner to verify that indeed most people solve math problems in the left side of the brain, neuroscientists made a startling discovery. A PET scanner is used to take a scan-image of the brain. The subject is injected with a very small amount of radioactive isotopes, then placed in the scanner, in which an electromagnetic device passes a very thin electromagnetic field through their brain. The part of the brain that is "thinking" at that time will have excess amounts of blood-flow, which, due to the radiation, shows up on the PET scan.
In the math function tests, each of the subject's brain scan lit up in a similar area of their left-brain. But something else occurred that the scientists had not predicted. The brain scan also lit up in 5 other areas of the brain! This was a startling discovery, in that it verified that your brain is constantly "thinking" on six or more levels at once. In additional testing, subjects were given a math problem to solve and a sedative that was slowly increased, until they fell asleep. What happened? The light on the scan image representing the math thinking, WENT OUT! But the other five areas of the brain scan that were lit, stayed lit.
CONCLUSION? You are constantly thinking on 6 levels at once, but only at the conscious level, are you aware of your thoughts and ideas. The other five areas are known as your nonconscious brain or what used to be called the subconscious brain by non-neuroscientists. When the scan-light went out for the conscious thinking and math problem-solving, as each subject fell asleep, all of the other areas stayed lit. This means that you are always thinking at your nonconscious levels. No matter that you may be consciously asleep.
Your imagination and powers of visualization reside in your nonconscious brain. Your willpower resides in the conscious brain. Your conscious brain represents one-sixth of your brain's thinking power. Your nonconscious brain represents five-sixths of your brain's thinking power.
Which part of your brain is most important to control? Which is more powerful: one-sixth or five-sixths? Your nonconscious brain has five times the power of your conscious brain. Therefore anytime you have a conflict between your willpower, which functions in your conscious brain (1/6), and your imagination, which functions in your nonconscious brain (5/6), who is ALWAYS going to win? Yep! Your visualization and imagination of the taste of those cookies-every time!
So what can you do to fix this? Well there is another scientific principle involved here. Your mind sees only in pictures. If I were to ask you to close your eyes and remember what you did first thing after you got up this morning, you would see this in pictures. You would not see this written on a page of notebook paper in your brain! Because you are aware of what you think consciously, your conscious brain can see things and think things through and filter out negative pictures and give thoughts (mind-pictures) true meaning or perception. You CANNOT filter out the negatives from your nonconscious thoughts because you're not even aware of what that thinking (or picture) is!
So when you say to yourself, "I will not overeat!" your conscious brain (1/6) can give this true meaning, but your nonconscious brain (5/6) sees a picture of, "Overeat!" "Overeat"! And boy does your nonconscious listen to you!! It is not at all uncommon for people who want to lose weight to actually gain weight!
Have you ever said to your children, "Whatever you do, don't spill the milk!"? Five/Sixth of their brain, sees a perfect picture of what? That's right! "Spill the milk!" Kids listened well at my house. They always spilled the milk.
SOLUTION: How do you solve this problem? Now that you know the scientific basis, it's easy. Do the math! You've got to get your nonconscious brain, 5/6 of your brain-power, in line with your conscious-willpower brain, 1/6 of your brain-power. You must use your imagination to dream and visualize all of the positive benefits you can gain by losing ten pounds and bombard your nonconscious brain with these pictures so that your entire brain is working toward the same end.
Instead of saying "I will not overeat!" say, "I am fit, and thin, because I eat healthy foods!" See yourself doing so as you say this! Also, start seeing yourself doing the things you will be able to do afteryou lose weight. Start visualizing every single benefit of that goal. Then your entire brain is working in the same direction. And no matter what your goal is, weight-loss or other great goals, your success will be automatically guaranteed. You won't need willpower anymore.
After about thirty days of imagining and visualizing your success, your brain will have created enough new neurode connection-patterns, so that it will automatically take the steps necessary to reach your goals. You won't have to do it; your brain will do it for you!
Willpower is overrated! Oh, it's still important. You need to use it to make the initial decision to change. But once that decision to change is made with willpower, use your imagination in your nonconscious brain to make that willpower decision stick, permanently! Procrastination will disappear, persistence and long term success and achievement will take its place. Not a thing you can do to stop it. Your brain will be programmed for Success. Automatically!