Jedi Wisdom

Have you heard of ‘akrasia’? According to Google, akrasia is “the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will.” Comes from the Greek a- (without) and kratos (power, strength). If that’s the case then technically the translation is incorrect, and it makes no sense at all to talk about ‘weakness’ of will. It’s either you generate that power or you don’t, either you want to do something or you don’t.

When people say they have no willpower, more often than not they mean to imply they have something wrong with them that prevents them from doing what they want. That’s a pretty convenient way to look at it because it puts them comfortably on the Effect side of the equation, where the results they get supposedly have nothing to do with the actions they take, or, equally important, the actions they choose not to take. In NLP we call it the Cause and Effect equation: on the Cause side, where you take 100% responsibility for your life, you get results – may or may not be the results you want, but you know you are responsible for whatever you got: that’s empowerment. On the Effect side of the equation you get excuses; reasons to explain why you did not achieve your goals.

People who claim they have no willpower do not really prefer the things they say they do, whether it’s losing weight, changing jobs, moving house, redecorating, whatever! And that’s fine. I don’t believe anyone should do anything. However you decide to live your life, if you are congruent about it, then that’s perfect.

But what happens when we are not congruent? What happens when we are torn between really wanting two opposite things equally? Anything other than total focus in a single direction will result in a permanent inner struggle, a loss of energy, (that weakness mentioned earlier) and irregular, inconsistent results.

Stay at Cause and consider three things:

  1. Secondary gain – what are you getting from your unwanted behaviour that carries out a positive (and often unconscious) function in your life? Do you reach for a cigarette every time you’re bored, for instance? What positive behaviour could you do instead that would achieve the same result and be enjoyable for you? Identify at least one and develop a habit of it. Remember it takes an average 21 days for a new habit to take hold – you can use NLP techniques like Swish Pattern and Anchoring to facilitate the process.
  1. Your beliefs – concepts that we decide are true. Beliefs aren’t real, we make them so by acting on them. So what do you believe about yourself and how does that shape your behaviour, and your results? Choose only strong empowering beliefs, and act accordingly! Find one thing you passionately want to achieve that you also absolutely believe is impossible for you, and set about making it happen. Prove yourself wrong only once, and you’ll be amazed at the awesome change this will create in you. Personally, I also got great personal results using our NLP Submodalities Belief Change technique.
  1. Your values – these are the things that are important to you in life (not necessarily the things that you like.) So you may dislike social media, but if it is the only way to keep in touch with your relatives in Australia, you might still be on Facebook if ‘Communication’ is important to you in the context of your relationships. If health matters to you, it is also unlikely that you will be a smoker… Sometimes it is possible that our behaviour falls out of alignment with our values, since those are a lot more unconscious than our beliefs. Often just becoming aware of the disconnection will be enough to make the right changes; an NLP coach can also help you to re-organise your values at the unconscious level, and use Parts Integration or Time Line Therapy™ techniques for optimum results.

Once in total congruent alignment with yourself and your vision, taking tremendous targeted action toward the achievement of your goals will be pretty easy: no akrasia required!

“Do, or Do Not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Natalie Debrabandere
Natalie Debrabandere
Natalie is a Master Practitioner of NLP, Hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy & NLP Master Coach. In 2015 Natalie will be joining the Inspire 360 NLP Trainers Training event in Barcelona enabling her to take that important next step in her career. Using the tools of NLP, Natalie believes that you can let go of all the limiting beliefs and decisions you have ever made about yourself. You can unlock your true potential, and start living the life you really want.
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