With youth: Is willpower really needed?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJul 3, 2022

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how to improve willpower?

Acharya Prashant (AP): So, what has Aditya (the questioner) asked? “What can we do, to improve willpower?” Right?

What is ‘willpower’, and why do we need it? What is ‘willpower’?

Listener 1 (L1): To have determination.

AP: To have determination. Determination, for what?

L1: For our goal.

AP: For our goal. To do (stressing on the word ‘do’) something. Right? To ‘do’ something. You need willpower in order that something happens, that something gets done, right? Now, why does something not get done? We often find that we are unable to act, to do (again stressing the word ‘do’).

Why are we unable to act, and ‘do’?

L1: Because of fear.

L2: Because of restrictions.

AP: Fear. Restrictions.

If fear is there, if restrictions are there, and you give them importance, then obviously you cannot act.

And when you cannot act, then you get up and say that you need willpower.

So, willpower is needed only when you feel fear, only when you feel restrictions. In order to overcome them, you need willpower.

And that is what you are asking — “How can I enhance willpower?” What could be a better question? Would it not be a better question: “How not to be afraid? How not to be restricted?”

Are you trying it with me?

We say, “We need willpower.” What if willpower is actually not needed? What if you are fighting imaginary demons? You say, “You know, I require a lot of willpower to enter that room, because in that room there are ghosts, and there are demons.”

And as long as you believe that there are ghosts, and there are demons, what will you require? Willpower. Willpower, motivation, somebody to give you courage, somebody to pump you up. What if you come to see that there are no ghosts, and there are no demons? Would you still require willpower?