One of the most satisfying moments in life is when you are able to keep giving more of yourself, even if everything indicates that the limit has been reached, because you still have WillPower left.
Willpower is one of the most important values in my life and it is probably the one that has helped me the most to keep progressing in different aspects, from personal to professional.
I am sure it has been the same for you, and if it hasn’t, then you are not giving enough importance to one of the greatest skills you have.
I remember when I was 12 years old, I was racing in one of the competitions between all the schools of the city. I had to run the 300 meters sprint and there were 8 more runners. The race started with me being one of the last runners. In the middle of the race I had half of the runners in front of me and half behind. At moment I could see how most of the runners were losing their pace and it seemed as if I was losing it to. However, I looked again and thought to myself “I have willpower left!” This was an awakening moment for my mind. I started to speed up my pace and by the end of the race I was first by about 30 feet from the second runner.
I don’t think I was the stronger runner, my muscles or coordination didn’t put me in the first place. It was willpower.
There are plenty of awakening moments during the day, a race is not necessary to proof and strengthen our will muscles. I am going to ask you some questions of actions that require extreme willpower:
For example when you go to check your email in the middle of work just to get distracted from other task you just can’t get done.
For example, your mind goes to a conversation you had with your friend and you start creating new possibilities about how that conversation could had been.
The difficult part of meditation is to let thoughts go. That requires willpower.
Sometimes it is good to stay in bed and give pleasure to your mind and body. I am not talking about those moments that you voluntarily decide to stay in bed. I am talking bout the moments we just can’t wake up because the sheets are too heavy, even if we know we have something to do.
I believe Willpower is a muscle that can be exercised to the extreme. However, I have found a better way to get great quantities of it. If you want Willpower, ask WHY.
What!? Ask Why!? Yes! Lets answer to the three questions above
1.Why are you doing the task at hand? are you working at a great company that wants to bring entrepreneurship to young students in Ghana? then by doing your task better, you will be able to change the world and empower people that need it. If you work at a boring company like Goldman Sachs, then you might be better out checking your email than doing boring work without meaning. By thinking in the WHY of your action, you realize you are doing it for something bigger than yourself. Suddenly you bring your motivation as your ally to help you focus and bring extra Willpower to your mind.
2.Why do you meditate (if you do)? if you meditate because it looks cool and nowadays every one talks about it, then you could better spend your time doing other activity you enjoy. One that seems effortless for you and can bring you similar effects. Like dancing or rock climbing, it’s up to you.
If you meditate because you enjoy doing it, you believe with meditation you will be more self aware, direct your life more consciously, sleep less hours and have more energy. Then you are doing it for a good reason and it will most likely work out for you. Your motivation will grant you extra willpower when needed and the action of meditation will seem effortless and pleasant.
3.Waking up in the morning is tough. When we sleep our muscles are relaxed, our mind is relaxed. Sleep is (mostly) effortless. It can be even rewarding if you have great dreams that fill you with inspiring thoughts and feelings. However, they are just dreams that haven’t become real yet. When we sleep we are an immobile body, just like a rock, and you are not producing anything real that lasts.
If your feel like a rock during the day without much power over your actions, without producing things that last, from personal relationships to meaningful work. Then to sleep might feel more rewarding than being awake. If your WHY to wake up in the morning is that you want to create things bigger than yourself. Then you have your motivation on your side to give you some extra willpower and make waking up seem effortless and pleasant.
When you find out you still have willpower left because there is a WHY that is bigger than yourlsef, that is indeed a satisfying awakening moment.
When I was running I guess I just wanted to feel valuable, appreciated by others and at the same time appreciated by myself. At this moment the race is not just about feeling valuable. Now I know everyone of us is extremely valuable and has something unique to give to the world. Now the motivation that drives me is to help creating a planet that is 100% sustainable thanks to a civilization with high levels of empathy that is able to collaborate.
That is the provoking thought that wakes me up every morning. That is where my willpower comes from, and it seems effortless.
This learning session was an extraordinary experience because it helped me interiorize what I thought I knew but I hadn’t really assimilated: that students learn much FASTER and with a DEEPER level of understanding COLLABORATING than with the traditional education environment, where there is one teacher lecturing the students.
When I met with the Ego team, all of them welcomed me warmly looking at my eyes and often smiling. They introduced themselves mentioning what was their role within the team. Even if it was their private group session, it seemed as if we had all the time of the world to get to know each other. They told me they wanted me to feel as if I was one more of the group. That was clear from the beginning.
I am not used to this kind of treatment and there is something humbling about the fact that a group of young students are able to welcome a new guest more deeply and more warmly than other groups of more “mature” people with more experience in real life.
That is an indication of high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. And they are developiing these skills because they are collaborating many more hours than the average person, thanks to their education system.
But what is new about this system anyways?
Let me ask you some questions to see how the education system you went through compares with the education system of Team Academy.
When you were a student…
Were you always learning from your peers or were you learning from a teacher?
Were you eager to learn because you wanted to teach your co-students what you had learned or were you anxious before an exam because of fear to fail it?
Were you able to learn what you really wanted to learn or did you have to take classes you did not care about, at all!, because you needed some credits?
Were you always practicing with your hans on an project you were deeply passionate about or did you have to study theory non-stop?
[Note: I know here in the US the education system is more practical. However, in most of Europe the education is 90% theoretical. Yes, it sucks…]
Were you traveling once a year to develop projects in a different country or you never traveled, unless you wanted to have time off from your studies?
Were you creating companies that could give you income to support your life style or were you just developing projects that nobody ever used?
If you answered all questions with the second option, welcome you are on my team. If you answered with the first option, you are with the Team Academy.
After having the privilege to met the Ego Team of Team Academy I can say one thing, the traditional education system I experienced is completely BROKEN and is harming millions of students all around the world.
Most of us learn by doing and collaborating, and that is what the students of Team Academy at Mondragon are all about.
The way we organize ourselves has a lot to say about our values. Lets make the students the center of attention instead of putting all the attention of the students in a single teacher. Lets stop mystifying the power of one single teacher to spread knowledge to so many pupils and lets empower students to find knowledge there where it is available. Nowadays that is everywhere!
To master something, you have to learn how to teach it. Because of that, at this moment I am writing this post, I am the one that is really learning and interiorizing these concepts, not you at the moment you read it. You are just being exposed to new concepts. But to really master these concepts you’d have to experience this education system by yourself.
Lets give students the opportunity to teach themselves. Lets give them the opportunity to master a skill they enjoy to do and they are truly passionate about. Lets give them the opportunity to collaborate.
The time with the Ego Team was without any doubt a Wowake! experience for me.
Wow! It got me Awake!
This is a blog dedicated to those activities, thoughts and feelings that have the ability to awake us from the noise of the routine.
The term Wowake! started one day I was having lunch in San Francisco with Abel, a good friend I have known from long time ago and Carlos, a new friend I had just met that day. Carlos was asking questions to Abel and at one point my brain just got awake. His questions were about normal topics like his life in the city, work and education, but they were filled with empathy. He had the desire to learn from Abel and wanted to connect with him in a meaningful way. He was achieving that purpose by asking questions. Abel was really interested in answering them and the conversation was engaging for both sides.
Some people just ask to keep the conversation going, but Carlos was being intentional and wanted to learn more about Abel. He was truly listening. I remember my eyes opened, my heart warmed and my brain was happy. It was great to share a meal with a genuine individual with high empathy skills.
The term just came to my mind some days later remembering about the conversation. These inspiring moments, activities, thoughts and feelings are worth the time and the purpose of this blog is to meditate upon them.
If you would like to keep in touch or write about a Wowake! moment for you, please comment in one or the posts or send me a tweet.