When I saw that an FBI agent was talking about will power; I knew I had to pay attention. I’ve worked with the FBI several times during my career with the US Army Special Forces and have the utmost respect for them. FBI agents are smart, tough, and get things done.
Former FBI Agent LaRae Quy gives us 5 of her secrets to developing will power. Will power is one of those things that are hard to define, but you know it when you see it. You can call it determination, drive, resolve, self-discipline, self-control, or mental toughness. It’s really about taking the hard right instead of the easy wrong. It’s about gutting it out when the going gets tough and you could quit, but don’t.
1. Keep an eye on your goal.
You have to know what is important to you and keep that foremost in your mind. In the self-help niche, it’s know as the goal behind the goal. You might want to lose 10 pounds, but the goal behind the goal is to look more attractive to your partner. When Agent Quy faced a tough test in the FBI Academy, her goal behind the goal was becoming a FBI agent.
2. Avoid shortcuts.
She talks about cutting corners during a race in the Academy and learning a solid lesson after being caught. Cutting corners on an investigation can cause a bad guy to go free. In some of the Special Forces missions I conducted, cutting corners could have resulted in death. Will power is the ability to ignore short term temptations to meet long term goals.
3. Train your brain.
Agent Quy talks about how mediation can aid will power.
“Control your thoughts so you can choose your focal point.”
Another way to do this is through the use of “muscle memory.” Train at something for long enough with perfect technique and eventually your body will be able to perform it without you thinking about it. This will strengthen your will power so that you can focus on what is important.
4. Practice persistence.
FBI agents can’t quit. Agent Quy learned that back in the Academy. Her mantra was, “I will not quit. If I get knocked down, I will get up and keep at it. No matter how many times. I have what it takes to make it.”
5. Change your mindset—as often as necessary.
She talks about how the FBI has a limit on how long they can work a particular tip. If an agent can’t find validate it within 90 days, it is closed. Will power gave her the ability to keep on, digging, investigating, keeping an open mind in order to determine if it is a valid threat or not. I have always used the terms “improvise,” “adapt,” and “overcome.” In the Special Forces, we had the same concerns; using will power to tell yourself you are going to do whatever it takes to make it happen will give you the ability to get things done you never thought possible.
You can use will power too.
As an FBI agent for over 24 years, LaRae Quy first used will power to make it through the Academy and then throughout her FBI career. I used will power in my life to pass the Special Forces Qualification Course, complete successful missions throughout the world, and become the writer and self help coach I am now.
Through will power, you can get you what you want for yourself too. Will power applied appropriately will help you eat right, exercise regularly, avoid drugs and alcohol, save for retirement, stop procrastinating, and achieve all sorts of noble goals.
Featured photo credit: CONVAR1615 via flickr.com