Will power is a Windows page file

lifehacks mindset

We only talk about will power because it’s related to success. And you know what I mean when I talk about will power, so don’t try to make it more complicated than what it is with science or philosophy. No bullshit. You want the will power to make yourself do the things you need to do to get stronger, faster, more charismatic, more wealthy, more creative, more experienced, more super duper. But you know what? Relying on will power is a red flag.

Relying on will power is a red flag

It means you're fucking disorganized. Relying on will power is like relying on the Windows page file on your computer (also known as swap partition on Linux, and the swap file in OSX). What is that? Let’s ask How To Geek:
"Windows uses a page file to store data that can’t be held by your computer’s Random-Access Memory (RAM) when it fills up."

"The Windows page file is somewhat misunderstood. People see it as the cause of slowdowns because it’s slower to use the page file than your computer’s RAM, but having a page file is better than not having one."

The experience of using your computer when it dips into its page file is similar to the experience of having a computer virus that makes your computer so slow you consider reformatting and re-installing your operating system. Using the page file is the very last resort.


Your computer’s RAM fills up when you’ve got too many programs running, or when a program is hogging up resources it doesn't need to be hogging up because its settings have not been optimized. Likewise, you begin to dip into your will power when you have too much going on in your life or there are too many resource hungry activities fighting for your attention (your RAM).

Reduce background programs and processes

On my computer this is what is running in the background.


If I want my video editing software to stop being choppy I can close some programs running that I don't need running.


The analogy is simple. Want to get better at something? Then kill some background programs.

Kill some background programs

Work, other hobbies, social obligations, etc. Kill some background programs and get better at something. Duh. How about training? If you have nothing to do except train, you definitely will get better at it then if you had other things to do too. Some people will say that's fantasy, but it's the truth. Anyway, please notice that people who do actually meet the most success in training live in a fantasy world: the best trainers in the world do nothing but training after all... So if you want to succeed in something, like training, kill some background programs. Then optimize programs that are left.

Optimize programs that are left

On your computer you cannot kill all background programs and processes because some are essential for your system of operation. Likewise in real life, things like eating and communicating must happen...

Eating? Learn kitchen tricks so you cook easier, faster meals. Purge your house of all foods except simple foods, and learn to eat simple preparations of them.
Money? Get an easy job which uses up less emotional resources and time. Spend less money so you need less money.
Computer work, homework, e-mail? Keyboard shortcuts to the rescue.
Commute? Move closer to where you need to be.
My documents? Use apps like Evernote and Google Drive so you never organize anything ever again. You just search.
Training? Get a gym membership as close to your house as possible. Optimize your gym bag. Rent a gym locker.

Anytime you have to think, make a decision, look for where you put something, or do something long hand, you are using psychic resources that could be put to better use, you are using some will power which is limited and choppy. Put forethought where you put your things. It should take you 8 minutes to get out the door to get to the gym, not 28 minutes, and it should happen without thinking. Make changes in your life. Relocate. Kill bad friends. Hire friends that help you grow. Find a hardcore gym, stop working out at Planet Fitness. (Do you think anybody who has a membership at the EliteFTS gym has any problem with training intensity?) Organize and plan for all this to happen. Simplify, then automate and organize every corner of your life so it’s easy, automatic and convenient. Do this for all the details in your day. Seriously, get a fucking sheet of paper and a pen out and brainstorm for half an hour how to make everything you do easier and more convenient, from the layout and contents of your wardrobe, from the kitchen utensils you use or must clean, to the contents in your gym bag and their order, to your workflow for homework or your job. Convenience is synonymous with program optimization here in our computer analogy. Make every.single.thing, every.itsy.bitsy.tiny.detail of your life logistics more convenient and potent. And then kill some more things that are needlessly eating up your resources after that. Rinse and repeat. Kill and optimize. Rinse and repeat. Then you will be able to run what programs continue to remain at full speed until they become more habitual and powerful.

Habits are programs

To round out this analogy a bit more: how do habits fit into all this? Think of new habits like new programs: you need to install them. Notice how when you install something on your computer the installer asks you to close background programs? The installer wants to ensure the installation completes successfully. Habit formation is similar. New habits are formed by substitution. We substitute one old habit for one new one. We close one program to install another. We don’t just add more habits ontop of one another. While it only takes a computer a few minutes to install a new program, it takes humans weeks and months to install new habits (programs). May I suggest HabitRPG?

What you cannot do: increase RAM

You cannot increase the size of your RAM. You are born with what you have which is so minuscule it's comical. And I don’t think there is much genetic variation in all of this, only circumstantial variation that affect operation. Unlike modern computers, we humans must work very intelligently to keep our RAM from overloading. In fact, we have such a small amount of RAM that on a daily basis we will be dipping into our will power. Everything I wrote on this page is idealistic: we all use will power. We must. And we will use will power regardless of how well our life is organized, strategic and automatic. However, those who experience the greatest successes, kill programs that hold them back, and optimize all the ones they continue running, so that they do not rely solely on will power to succeed, they create themselves a system of success. They succeed almost automatically, and so are not in the bleeding red on a daily basis living a life of hard willing. They work smarter, then only use their will power to accomplish the final 1% necessary to make them champions. So step back and examine your own life, then redesign it so that succeeding becomes a matter of the mind that created the system for success, so you win automatically, and use will power only for the very highest levels of operation… or when you get the flu or get in a car accident.

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  • Taegashi on

    + 1 to killing insignificant friends

  • Josiah on

    I’ll kill you second Vova!

  • Manuel Salvadori on

    I strongly suggest you to read both “4-Hour Workweek” and “4-hour Chef”. I think you have already overwhelmed the things he talks about in “4-hour for your body”. But it’s interesting anyway.

  • Jamie McFlaccid on

    When I read the title of this article, I immediately itched with philosophical inclinations, but then I read “And you know what I mean when I talk about will power, so don’t try to make it more complicated than what it is with science or philosophy” and that’s when I knew I best shut my mouth if I know what’s good for me, LOL! :-D

  • Jon Call on

    Science and philosophy are good… in moderation (see what I did there? haha)

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