All of us as human being have our own ups and downs in life. What keeps us going and fighting the battle of life is determination to survive and run. Endgame begins the moment we give up and helplessness sets in. Here comes importance of two of the crucial attitudes that are vital in this melee of life: Willpower and Positivity.
Willpower in this context means strength of mind to fight. Will is the intent of mind and power signifies strength of this resolve. Higher the willpower, greater is the internal strength of mind to take on any eventuality or exercise any self-restraint like stopping smoking, etc. Willpower is inevitable to fight any war of life: whether internal or external.
Positivity is the attitude of being optimistic or positive in any scenario. When chips are down, it is only the attitude of positivity that can keep us going. Being an optimist is a boon even in bad times as it helps us to devise countering strategies to overcome the difficulties / tragedies. It also enables one to achieve despite hurdles / disabilities.
Willpower plus Positivity is thus the best aggregate tool of attitude a human being should possess to face any challenge of life. There are a number of cases in human history where individuals have been able to achieve wonders only on strength of this twin attitude. Who does not know story of Hellen Keller, the legendary American author and political activist who became blind before age of 2 but continued to pursue her career despite all odds? Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest Physicists of our time had lived with the dreaded disease known as motor neurone (that causes an individual to lose voluntary muscles) for more than 50 years of his life. He was confined to wheelchair and even had communication disabilities but that did not deter him from pursuing his scientific research that earned him global recognition. Nearer home, we have example of Sudha Chandran who became an accomplished Bharat Natyam dancer despite losing one of her legs in an accident. Similarly, we must remember Ravindra Jain who overcame lifelong blindness to become one of the celebrated personalities as music composer and lyricist in Bollywood.
All the above instances show that the right intent, willpower and optimist outlook (positivity) can help an individual overcome worst of physical / mental issues and achieve success.
Applicability for Senior Citizens:
The above two attitudes are absolutely imperative for senor citizens. As we grow old, so do our physical and mental faculties. We become weak, obsolete, helpless and tired: all these result in further weakening of physical and mental strength as a result of which we tend to be more dependent and withdrawn. Absence of physical zeal and mental strength add to the problem. If this continues for a long time, it becomes beginning of the end of our physical will and mental strength to be a part of this world.
It is at this stage of our life that elders need the twin attitude of willpower and positivity that can drive them out of the helplessness syndrome and bring energy back into their system. This intent may enable them to find a purpose to life and live happily.
It is in this context that elders should try to develop these two attributes through various activities / actions so that they remain mentally strong and always feel optimistic about future. The family members and geriatric counsellors also have an important role to play to inculcate these two attributes among elders they interact with.
Some Steps to Strengthen Willpower and Positivity:
- Living a balanced life comprising good physical activities, mental exercises and sound relationship maintenance.
- Not to think about regrets but only recall happy moments of the past.
- Trying to find purpose of life for future for short term say, 1 to 3 years.
- Reading, if possible or listening to lives of people who succeeded despite all odds.
- Specific exercises to improve willpower like setting self-imposed difficult deadlines, using the opposite hand for activities, deliberate cutting financial spending, changing speech, among others.
- Always being in touch with positive people / warm friends.
- Spending some time with young people.
- Rendering physical services / donating goods or financial means to the needy with a joy of giving.
- Making it a habit to see happy / comedy movies / serials during the day.
Above are only tentative and suggested tips. However, the most important aspect is that elderly must believe in two axioms:
- Everything is achievable.
- Sunlight always dispels darkness.
Belief in these two axioms will enable an elderly move forward with confidence equipped with twin attitude of Willpower and Positivity. Besides empowering them with renewed confidence to do things which hitherto seemed difficult, this will also make them feel good about themselves; this goes a long way in improving their effectiveness in life with a zeal.
Let all elderly be blessed with the twin attitude of WILLPOWER and POSITIVITY!!
Dr A K Sen Gupta is the Co-Founder and Chief Trustee of My Retired Life Foundation (MRLF). This article has been published in Free Press Journal (FPJ) on 20th November, 2021, where he is a regular contributor. Dr Sen Gupta was the Director of S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai and Director & Mentor at SIES College of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai. He was a World Bank Consultant and instrumental in setting up National Banking College in Ghana, Africa and Professor at National Institute of Bank Management, Pune.