Michael Langheinrich: Willpower makes the difference

22. April 2024 – Michael Langheinrich

Everyone has different talents, strengths and skills. But only willpower ensures that these are actually used in such a way that they enable us to lead a good, happy and successful life.

For years, we assumed that only the right mindset and sufficient motivation would guarantee us happiness and success. After all, experts and motivational teachers have given us their word: Personal and professional success are quite simple: you just have to firmly believe in yourself!

In reality, however, many people fail to lead a successful, happy life and achieve physical well-being. Psychologists around the world confirm that strengthening our willpower is the most promising way to a better life. More willpower makes it possible to change ourselves and our society in small and large ways.

Michael Langheinrich: Our willpower also helps us to resist distractions and temptations, to isolate obstructive habits, and to overcome unwillingness and comfort. It is the necessary prerequisite for concentrated work and a catalyst for training success and learning effects.

Self-discipline based on willpower is therefore an opportunity for a more self-determined life. It is not a restriction of personal freedom, as so many people perceive it to be. Exactly the opposite is the case: those who can stand firm or consciously say NO feel freer.

In the course of his life, Michael Langheinrich has met countless people who have set themselves ambitious and worthwhile goals: advancing their careers, becoming self-employed, creating their own website, learning a foreign language, eating healthier, exercising more or losing ten kilos. After a good start, however, the momentum was often lost somewhere and at some point.

All of these people started out with a strong desire or a worthwhile goal. They all started with a clear goal, great enthusiasm, strong motivation and initial successes. But after a while, most of them urgently needed tools and strategies to maintain their motivational energy and a mental strength to sustainably translate goal intentions into concrete behavior.

An interesting question that always arises is: Can we help people from the outside to train, influence or even improve their willpower? Are there knowledge and skills that can be learned and that help to increase and strengthen people’s willpower?

Yes, the mental ability to work persistently and stubbornly towards one’s own goals can be trained and is even comparable to physical training.

Because there is only one willpower: a single resource for all tasks. This also means that willpower trained in sport or in everyday life also benefits us in all other areas. However, this also means that willpower is exhausted with use and can be strengthened with exercises.

Example willpower exercises:

  • Switched handedness – brush your teeth with your left hand, open doors
  • Holding your breath – stop time from 30 seconds upwards in the morning and evening
  • Food diary – write everything down, no reminders just a discipline exercise

This is not about training a particular skill or ability. It is about making everything a little more difficult than normal in order to train the willpower muscle.

The necessary self-control processes can be learned. Even as an adult.

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Michael Langheinrich

Expert in self-development, cognitive flexibility, problem-solving and error culture, as well as strengthening willpower and self-discipline