Willpower vs. the Power to Choose

Mark Twain once said,

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug”

No doubt.

Language is a powerful force. What’s even crazier to realize is that the power is at work in your life whether you are aware of and harness this power or not.

Language is either being used for you, by you… or it’s likely being used on you and against your own best interest.

I’m going to assume that as a reader of this blog that you are curious about, and committed to, harnessing the power of language to create your life.

You understand that all we have to create with is our language. Everything begins and ends with how we harness and apply language to our Fitness, our Identity, our Relationships and our Enterprises… that is the F.I.R.E. of a significant life.

Let me give you an example of how not being aware of the conversation going on in our heads and how not being aware of the words coming out of our mouth can hold us back… limit us… even stop us from creating the life we are committed to creating.

As you may have guessed by the title of this post the two words I want to compare are:




Let’s look at the definition of each first shall we?

Willpower – control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control

Now, I want you to be very honest with yourself and think about what images, thoughts, feelings and stories come up for you around the word willpower and the definition I found on dictionary.com.

For me, I’ve always had this mystical thinking around willpower… you know like some people have it… or more of it… than other people…. like it’s something you’re born with or without.

Almost like it comes from somewhere outside of me first then if I’m lucky enough to be chosen to have willpower then I can use it to create whatever I want.

Even so, it feels like applying willpower is hard… difficult… no fun.

I asked around and most people I talked with agreed.

So, according to my very unscientific surveying of the word I concluded that it’s possible that more than a few people in the English speaking world don’t have an overly fond outlook on the word “willpower.”

Now, let’s look at the other word… Choice… or Choose.

Choose – to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference.

I don’t know about you, but that feels a whole lot better, sounds better and seems a whole lot easier to put into practice than using willpower.

Here’s a little side note for you… the word Choose comes from the greek “geusthai” meaning to enjoy and is similar to the word gusto.

Ahhh… now we’re really getting somewhere fun.. a place from which we can create!

Here’s the thing…

Willpower and choosing both allow us to create something that didn’t exist before.

For instance, if we want a new car, then we might say we need the willpower to go out and earn some extra money… hit a new sales target… pay off some debt… etc, etc.

We could also simply choose to go earn some extra money… choose to hit a new sales target… or choose to pay off some debt.

How does this occur to you?

What are you hearing when these two words are used in similar ways?

Can you feel the resistance more in one than the other. You don’t have to feel any difference, by the way. It’s just something I’ve noticed about how different words show up and create different experiences for different people.

And this difference is nothing more or less than language.

You see, if you understand that all the stories and things that stop us are simply language, then you can choose to create new language around what ever it is you are up to.

So if your boss or trainer or someone tells you you need more willpower… maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Maybe all you really need is to simply make a choice. And then take the necessary required actions to live into that choice.

That’s how, in my experience, you actually get things done… how you create from nothing… you simply choose.

There’s no need to “control” your actions or impulses as the willpower definition states if you are committed to what it is you’ve chosen.  After all, to choose is “to pick by preference”. If you picked it because you wanted it, then willpower isn’t really needed is it?

Ain’t this cool stuff!?

I thought you’d like it.

Stay tuned for more, Champion.

And if you’d like for me to partner with you in a committed relationship towards creating whatever it is you want in life, give me holler over on Facebook or on my contact page.

In your corner,


Share the Message

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Rebecca Steinberg - Tuesday

I commit to not eating anymore Halloween candy. My earring the candy has nothing todo with willpower.

    seanpcool@gmail.com - Tuesday


Erick McCool - Tuesday

That is a powerful example of the power of choice. Choice can out-do willpower, the better the choice, in terms of what it is we want, the less resistance. Willpower is a form of resistance.

-Thanks Sean

    seanpcool@gmail.com - Tuesday

    Great insight, Erick. Love that… “willpower is a form of resistance.” And based on what you are up to with your book, I’d say it’s possible that willpower is also a lack of faith. How does that hit you?

      Erick McCool - Thursday

      Yeah that hits pretty hard, and it makes a lot of sense.

Will Marler - Tuesday

Good stuff Sean. Actually Great Stuff.

    seanpcool@gmail.com - Tuesday

    Thanks Will. What was your single biggest take-away?

Leave a Reply: