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Willpower Style


Techniques Willpower > Willpower Style

Internal will | External will | Four styles | See also


Internal will

Internally, we exercise will as self-control, shaping our thoughts and actions by determination and conscious choice. We decide on our goals and then push ourselves to get them. We suppress thoughts that we consider wrong or unhelpful. We create the inner person that we want to be, at least as a mask we can wear.

External will

Externally, we exercise will as domination of others, getting them to comply with our will. Done subtly, the other person is a willing subject. With less care, the other person is coerced, acting against their will. Domination can hence happen through a 'battle of wills'.

Four styles

By considering high and low internal and external will, we can identify four basic styles, as below. Do remember with this that the scales are not binary as you can have many levels of self control and not just a choice of high or low control.

The styles used may also be situation-dependent. So for example a person may be a Driver at work, but more of a Dictator at home, where they rule their family with a rod of iron.


Willpower Style matrix

Dominance (external will)
Low High


(internal will)










The Driver has high self-control and also imposes their will on others just as they do on themselves. They hence drive the world before them towards what they think is required and what is right.

Their operating style tends to be a combination of showing (here's how to do it) and telling (do it like this).

They tend not be very forgiving of people with lower self-control, considering them weak and in need of being driven. With a good intent, they can be great leaders. With a selfish intent, they can be callous managers.


While the Driver effectively says 'Do as I do', the Dictator's essential message is 'Do as I say (not as I do)'. Because they are not acting to model how others should be, they require more direct power with which to coerce others, and hence have a more dictatorial style.

The danger of having power is that it corrupts and that the dictator develops a god complex. They conclude that work is for others and that they can meanwhile indulge in their fantasies. This can be seen in how dictators throughout the world have behaved.


The Independent person has strong self-control but less ability in getting other people to do things. They hence tend to be happiest driving themselves towards their own purposes and avoiding interaction with others.

When others do try to persuade them, the self-control of the Independent helps them resist attempts to persuade or coerce. Success here tends to end up with them being allowed more independence. Independents can still be good team players, but only when they understand and agree with the team goals and methods.


The Gossamer is light and airy and is blown by the wind, doing either what interests them at the moment or what others ask or tell them to do. The style of the Gossamer is hence hedonist/compliant, depending on whether they are at their own will or under the control of others.

Gossamers can make good employees if they are in roles where they need to be told exactly what to do. They may be less useful if they are expected to be self-driven (in which case Independents may be a better choice).

See also

Self-Control, Domination


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