We all have six intellectual faculties: memory, perception, imagination, reason, intuition, and will. The problem is not necessarily that people don’t use their intellectual faculties; rather, it’s that most people aren’t even aware of their existence. If you are unaware of the fact that they even exist, you are not going to be able to fully appreciate and utilize the power they can provide.
Your intellectual faculties are the muscles of your mind. And just as it is important to challenge the physical muscles of your body—to provide resistance in order to make them stronger—you also have to test your mind to make it stronger, to make it grow. You have to utilize your intellectual faculties in order to keep them sharp.
Your intuition is very important in decision-making. Your memory, perception, and imagination are responsible for how you view and interpret your past, present, and future. Your ability to reason lies in the conscious mind and gives you the ability to choose. This includes the ability to determine whether or not you are upset, glad, sad, or anything else.
And finally, we have will. When faced with a difficult proposition, most people ask themselves, “Am I able?” In reality, the question you need to be asking is: “Am I willing?” You must be able to concentrate your efforts on the task at hand in order to reach your ultimate goal. Your will is what focuses your energy. When you hold an image in your mind, it’s your will that helps you stay focused and keeps out any disturbances and anything else that can distract you.
If you want to succeed at anything in life, you must have the will to do it. Keep the following tips in mind as you focus on developing your will.
• Control Your Thoughts
When you concentrate and focus on something, you give it energy. Your will is the instrument that focuses your energy. If you want your dreams to grow, you must nourish them with positive energy. This takes will and determination. You have to use your intellectual faculties so as to not be affected or influenced by the outside world. Other people will always share their opinions with you on every matter, whether they are knowledgeable on the topic or not.
Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, radio, TV, and newspapers will all compete for your attention, eagerly throwing opinions in your face. It’s your responsibility to be confident, in having discovered your purpose, to withstand such distractions. When you take control of your thoughts during these times, you develop the will to stay on course. You have to be able to weed through the negative and corrosive influences of such things that will endlessly attempt to prevent you from reaching your goals.
• Stay True to Yourself
Your will is a strong and capable force. Remember to use it inwards and not outwards. This means that you do not want to develop a bad habit of trying to use your willpower to force others to do what you want them to do. Just as you have your own course, they have their own course. You must respect this. The key to your success lies in what you do and not on what you can get others to do. You do not want to be in the business of manipulation.
Wallace T. Wattles has written about this in his book The Science of Getting Rich (Wattles 1910). The premise is that in order to get what you want, to live on purpose and to gain a fulfilling life, it is important to understand that you do not have to apply power or force toward any other person in the process. Your success is not contingent upon how much pressure you can apply to others or upon how readily you can reshape others’ views, opinions, or actions. Your success is dependent upon you and your actions. You are responsible for your own future. In fact, forcing others to do things only tends to defeat your own purpose.
• Be Future Oriented
In the pursuit of your goals, in trying to accomplish your mission, always look ahead. You aren’t going to have much of a chance marching into the future toward your goal if you are doing it while constantly looking backward. “Let the dead bury the dead” is an oft-used expression that actually originates in scripture. While you can interpret this saying many different ways, in this context, the point is to go forward and do what you can about improving your future.
You cannot do anything about your past, so you should concentrate on pursuing your purpose into the future. In order to keep looking forward, you have to focus. Use your will. Whether you are happy with your past or not, you cannot change it. Concentrate your efforts on those things that you can change. If you focus on the past, you are taking valuable resources away from your efforts toward fulfilling your purpose and making a better future.
• Define Your Own Success
There is only one person that can define success: you. This is not a competition, and there is no benchmark. Benchmarking is more often used as a way to level the playing field. It is not helpful to you. You want to set goals, but there is no reason for you to measure your success in comparison to what others are doing or achieving. Your success is defined and determined by you and you alone. When a company sets a benchmark, what they are inadvertently doing is imposing limitations by setting a restrictive realm on what is possible based on what has been done before. You need to set your sights on your purpose, vision, and goals. The parameters as defined by others should not be of major concern to you.
Become an expert in your field as defined by you. Success is entirely an internal matter. If you have set a goal, and you are on your way to achieving that goal, then you are on your way to success. You should be happy when others are successful, when they achieve success according to their definition. Again, this is not a competition. There is no shortage of success to be had in this world. It is not a scenario where if someone else succeeds, it lessens your chances for success. One person’s success is no more or less valuable than anyone else’s success. There is equal validity to everyone’s specific goals.
• Stay Committed
Internalize your goals. If you have not fallen passionately in love with your goals or your ideas, then you will not develop the necessary will to achieve your dreams. You must be committed. If you are not committed to your purpose, then what chance do you have of breaking through the barriers that will inevitably block your path? There will be very strong forces that will work against you. Expect it. Many of these forces will come from within you. You are in control, but you must have a strong will and strength of mind to withstand the barrage of resistance that will come your way. Without a strong will and a depth of purpose, this is a battle that you are destined to lose. A strong will is essential to overcoming the obstacles and challenges that you will most certainly encounter along the way.
Be Willing to Attain Success
When your will to reach a goal has reached the highest levels, you can find a way to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles that might be in your way. You are capable of extraordinary things and can reach a level of accomplishment and fulfillment that you might have previously never even thought possible. Sticking to your goals, and having the will necessary to keep you on the path to greatness, is the key ingredient that separates those that actually live a life of fulfillment from those that only talk about it.