This book was not meant to be a comprehensive tome. Instead, it was meant to quickly provide you a set of strategies for more effectively making the changes you want. If you’ve read this far, I know you want something bigger for yourself. You want to live more congruently with your highest aims and ambitions. You want to feel in control of your life, and you want to be transformed through powerful experiences.
From so many different perspectives, I’m completely confident that willpower is not an effective approach to personal change. Spiritually, I’d rather rely on my higher power than my own power. Motivationally, I’d rather rely on WHY power than willpower. And behaviorally, I’d rather outsource my willpower to a goal-enriching environment.
Does willpower work at the surface level? Of course. But only if you stop there. If you follow any attempts at willpower to their logical conclusions, it will lead to ruin. Eventually and always, a person will be forced to either adapt to their environment or entirely change it. If a person remains stubborn and strong-willed, they may continue their willpower approach throughout life. But it will be at the expense of everything else, and they’ll be left internally conflicted, disease- and stress-ridden, and lonely. Their environment will have beaten them into submission. Sadly, this is the common path for most people. Rather than living in alignment with values through environmental design, most people attempt willpower and ultimately settle into a low-level, goal-conflicting environment.
I wrote this book primarily as an attempt to prove that you can change. You’re not fixed. Rather, you are fluid.
And you can actually change in some very radical ways. You can even change immediately. But you’ll never be able to do that if you focus exclusively on yourself. The most honest and powerful way to change yourself is by leveraging your external environment. When you make an abrupt and intense change to your environment, you’re forced to change yourself.
While growing up and during high school, I watched my life begin to slip from my control. My parents divorced when I was eleven years old. Throughout junior high and high school, my life lacked stability. I felt like I had nothing to hold on to. I barely graduated from high school. The year following high school was almost entirely spent in front of a computer screen playing World of Warcraft. My diet consisted of Little Caesars Pizza and Mountain Dew. I had become the product of an environment I was internally conflicted with. But life had sent me on a rough ride and I was beginning to settle in, convincing myself that “this is just how life is.
I share my story as evidence that the principles in the book work. You can change. But you must change your environment. You must continually change your environment every time you’re ready to upgrade yourself, which I hope becomes a pattern throughout your life. Never stop evolving. Never stop being transformed through experience and relationships, whether that be with others or even with your higher power. You can do this.
This is an extract from Benjamin Hardy's Willpower Doesn't Work published by Hachette Books