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Techniques Willpower > Emulate Experts

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A way to develop your willpower is to find people who are good at it and copy aspects of how they behave when exerting their will.

Watch them. Observe their body language and understand how it is being used to assert will and build confidence. Listen to them and hear the tone and shape of their voice. The web is full of videos of experts talking and demonstrating will.

If you can, talk with them about how they think. Probe for beliefs and models, particularly about themselves. Try and understand how they learn the meaning they create, particularly about themselves and their own capabilities, and in comparison with others. Listen for values and how these are used in judging self and others.

Another way you can learn from experts is to get them to be your teacher. Ask their advice. Ask them about times when they dug deep and used their will for difficult tasks. Get them to coach you and provide ongoing encouragement.


A person wants to give up smoking. They talk with a friend who has done this and listen to how the friend internally reframed smoking as unhealthy to the point where even thinking about cigarettes made them sick. They then try thinking the same way. It still takes determination but in the end they succeed.

An employee feels pushed around at work and so watches and listens carefully to those who seem to get things done. They try copying some of the ways of standing and words that are used and it seems to help.


You can learn from experts in any subject if you watch and listen and especially if they are prepared to help you. This includes when a person is good at being determined and using willpower. Look for people who have done things like given up bad habits or been successful in getting qualifications or furthering their career.

As baseball star Yogi Berra said, 'You can observe a lot just by watching.'

See also

Listening, Questioning Techniques, Authority principle

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