Tag Archives: Benjamin P. Hardy

Failure Is Not an Option

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Willpower: the final frontier. To boldly go where no man has gone before.

That’s the tagline for something, isn’t it? Well, even if it isn’t, Benjamin P. Hardy (@BenjaminPHardy) has something to say about it in his article titled Willpower Doesn’t Work. Here’s How to Change Your Life. (The article is an excerpt from his upcoming book, The Proximity Effect.)

Titles like the above link usually make me yawn and pick at my nails. However, I’ve read some of Mr. Hardy’s stuff in the past and although he’s a little too optimistic and sunshiny for me in the early morning, days I feel like garbage, or nights I want to bang my head into a brick wall while listening to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” every once in a while I manage to stumble across his online posts when I’m a touch more grounded. This is one of those moments – and this is one of those pieces that’s worth reading, if only because it’s a bold statement he makes, a final frontier if you will, and one where most men and women don’t usually go.

One of the first quotes he references is the following:

“Willpower is for people who are still uncertain about what they want to do.”

See, this is the kind of philosophical filet mignon I enjoy sinking my teeth into with a fork and chainsaw because it’s true. And while it’s true, it still screws with your head because you’ve been taught the exact opposite thing your whole life.

As the author goes on to say:

The very fact that willpower is required comes from two more fundamental sources — the causes:

1. You don’t know what you want, and are thus internally conflicted.

2. You haven’t committed to something and created conditions that facilitate your commitment.

Put another (much more crass) way, do as Chopper Reid says and harden the f*** up.

Seriously, though, lots of people like to quote Michael Jordan when it comes down to this, but Sir Air Jordan did indeed have a point when he said that once he makes a decision he doesn’t think about it anymore. What’s done is done and you’ve reached a conclusion, now focus on making it happen.

On a personal note, I’ve failed many more times than I’ve succeeded with respect to accomplishing goals; if my life win/loss ratio were a batting average, I’d be relegated to the T-ball league somewhere in Laos. Perhaps the underhand mushball league in Burkina Faso if I got lucky.

However, that’s not to say I haven’t achieved some of the things I’ve set my mind to. And just as Benjamin Hardy writes, it wasn’t some kind of mysterious willpower (which he and other psychologists define as something akin to a muscle: the more you have to use it, the more you wear it out, and consequently the less ability it has to help you in your time of need) that allowed me to make these significant advancements in my life. It was something closer to resoluteness, determination, conviction, resolve, or – as they like to say in the military – failure is not an option.

Set the goal. Lay down a plan. Own it. Do it.

And don’t look back in the rearview mirror until you’ve summited the mountain.

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The CAMH One Brave Night Challenge

Image result for one brave nightIn the wake of Bell’s successful Let’s Talk campaign, and in support of the good folks at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – the leading institute of its kind in Canada – my book club is taking part in the CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ challenge, which  just launched its 2017 campaign and runs through to Friday, April 7, 2017, in an effort to “defeat mental illness.”

Per the website:

CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to share one night to inspire hope for the one in five Canadians living with mental illness in any given year.

You can participate as an individual or, like me and my Curling Was Full book club, as a team.

Check out the above link to get more details, but every dollar counts and CAMH really is doing great things for the 20% of us Great White Northerners who is/will experience mental health issues in their lifetime.

As a related aside, peruse this article on addiction and the fallacy of willpower, entitled “How To Overcome Addiction And Make Lasting Changes In Your Life,” by Benjamin P. Hardy. If you think “addiction” is strictly limited to alcohol and drugs, you’re sorely mistaken and could benefit from this thought-provoking piece.

Otherwise, I hope you take a moment to consider if you, your friends/colleagues/co-workers, and your family can contribute to a genuinely worthy cause through CAMH.

All the best in staying up as late as you can in helping make a difference to so many men, women and children out there among us.

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On Commitment

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Commitment can be looked at in a number of ways, from being committed to your spouse and to a regular exercise routine to remaining committed to your faith or a looming deadline.

In a piece called “What happens when you take full responsibility of your life,” Benjamin P. Hardy starts by drawing a line in the sand of sorts, explaining:

Four realities exist:

  1. Indecision is potentially your greatest threat.
  2. Most people are “drifting,” which means they haven’t taken command of their mind or their life. Drifting is when you let external circumstances determine where you go in life.
  3. Just before any substantial breakthroughs, you will experience darkness and defeat.
  4. When you take control of your mind, you realize the quality of your thinking reflects your current potential.

What starts off as a little preachy, however, soon bears more fruit in the practical, day-to-day stuff that everyone can relate to:

Research has found that when people commit to something, their desire to be seen as “consistent” drives them to act according to the commitment they’ve made. Commitment has been defined as the “[p]ledging or binding of an individual to behavioral acts.” For example, one study found that people who made a public commitment to recycle were far more likely to do so than those who didn’t make a public commitment.

Personally, I think about this concept on a daily basis, most notably because I’m self-employed and will self-immolate if I don’t pressure myself to honour professional commitments to the very best of my ability. But I’m not perfect and, like most people, can always stand to become more committed to commitment.

Which is why I like how Hardy ends this piece:

[C]reate conditions that make the achievement of your commitment inevitable. Leave yourself “no outlet.” Make it a habit, your deepest devotion, to respond to your conscious voice immediately. Never drown it out.

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