Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Where there's a will....

People have often told me I have a lot of willpower - which I guess also means self-discipline. They're quite right. When I'm determined on something, I don't let minor obstacles stand in my way.

I'm not put off by strong emotions, or sudden impulses, or other people's nay-saying. I don't find excuses for not doing anything. I don't procrastinate. If I've made up my mind to do something, then I do it.

I'll go into work even if I'm feeling poorly, if there's a job that needs to be done.

I'll tackle something difficult despite all my neurotic fears and anxieties and doubts.

I'll plod through all those tedious job applications even if I'd rather be listening to Joni Mitchell.

I'll be polite and courteous to someone, even if their behaviour makes me want to strangle them.

I'll look at every room in that huge art gallery, despite my weary eyes and weary legs.

I'll get to the top of that mountain, however beautiful the view from halfway up.

Maybe sometimes my willpower gets the better of me and overpowers sensible thoughts and valid emotions. Maybe sometimes I'm set on doing something that doesn't need doing, just to prove that I can do it and not seem feeble or pathetic.

But it does mean I do things others wouldn't feel up to. It means I've tried my hardest to achieve something, and I won't later regret copping out. It means I've done what I wanted to do and not succumbed to other people's head-shaking.

I would never have been to Australia three times if I'd given in to my loathing of sleepless and mind-numbing long-haul flights. But I was determined to get there, and what an experience it was.

Grinning and bearing it can sometimes be amazingly rewarding.

PS: On reflection, I think this post is nonsense. By willpower and self-discipline, all I really mean is determination. In other words, if I'm determined to do something (for whatever reason), then I'll do it. I'm just complicating something very simple.


  1. You are a saint, Nick, even if you say so yourself.

    Quick query: What of a big fat giant monster OBSTACLE standing in your way instead of the "minor" ones you are referring to and so effortlessly overcome?


  2. Ursula: Definitely not a saint, and nothing remotely approaching it, ha ha. And as I was saying (or at least implying) willpower can go too far and do more harm than good. Mr Hitler for example.

    Oh, there are plenty of major obstacles that all the willpower in the world can't overcome. Like government bureaucracy or blizzards. Or my own chronic inability to multi-task or cook anything at all complicated.

  3. I'm afraid that reminds me of the joke, "Work is precious, so we should save some for tomorrow."

    When I have a problem to solve I can be too tenacious and stick with it instead of going to bed. I'm not very good about saving it until tomorrow.

  4. Jean: I hadn't heard that one! I do tend to save problems till the next day if it's late in the evening. I know I'm too tired to focus on anything properly until I've slept.

  5. What's the phrase...just keep buggering on....

    That's what I seem to do...wade through the mounds of useless paperwork to try to find the needle in the haystack that will help me achieve what I want.

  6. Helen: Or as the song has it, Keep on truckin' mama....

    The mounds of useless paperwork one has to contend with seem to keep on growing, despite all the hype about a paperless society.

  7. I have a lot of willpower. Unfortunately I don't choose to use it very often.

  8. Susie: Only in cases of strict necessity, then? Otherwise you just follow your emotions?

  9. Desire can outweigh fear and inhibitions. Any time.

    Isn't that what you're trying to say?

    Of course the resources and the ability have to be there. By ability I mean health & wealth of course.


  10. www: I suppose some of the motivation is desire, but at other times it's just sheer tenacity. I'm simply determined to do something whatever the factors trying to hold me back.

  11. I'm the type who, when I've made my mind up about something, I stick to my guns to the bitter end.

    When my ex wife was losing an argument with me she used to say "Fine!" and walk away.

    Now 'Fine' is used when a woman wants to end a conversation that she knows she is losing. She doesn't want to talk to you anymore and is annoyed.

  12. Keith: Your anti-woman tendency is showing again! A woman says "fine" not because she's losing the argument but because she knows there's no point in arguing any more when no one's giving an inch and tempers are getting frayed. And a man might very well say "fine" for exactly the same reason.

    I'm just sorry you still feel so bitter and bereft about the end of your marriage.

  13. My problem is to find something to find intertesting enough to be determined about. I have not found such a project in a long long time so I have learnt to simply drift and enjoy the motion.

  14. Ramana: A good policy. There's no need to be determined about anything at your age. Hang loose, chill out, smell the coffee etc.

  15. I have willpower only if I care about something. Ha!

  16. Bijoux: Me too. If I don't care, then nothing's going to happen.

  17. We hope to visit Younger Son in Malaysia next year and the reasons why I am anxious about that are too many to list - but I am determined! Some things warrant determination; others don't. We just need to know which is which.

  18. Liz: I hope your determination lasts and you get to Malaysia. I'm sure there's no need for anxiety and you'll have a great time.

  19. I think I have a fair amount of determination/tenacity. But like anyone, I can get worn out and let go sometimes.

    And thanks for your more accurate read on why a woman says "fine" in arguments. "Fine" can also be roughly translated as, "Its not fine at all but you're being an ass and I'm not wasting my time arguing with you."

  20. Agent: Yes, it's easy to give up on something when you're feeling knackered and despondent.

    Thanks! I couldn't let Keith get away with that one, it was such a typical male misreading.