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FBI Agent Teaches Us How to Develop Will Power

FBI Agent Teaches Us How to Develop Will Power

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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