Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson

“In speaking about the Will, I do not mean stubbornness. You will find plenty of people who are as stubborn as mules and their friends and neighbors will say that “they are strong-willed,” meaning by this that when they decide a thing “is so, it’s so, and you can’t make me believe it isn’t.” This is the mulish attitude of mind coming from prejudice or ignorance and has nothing to do with the Will.

The man with the strong Will knows when to recede from his position as well as when to go forward; he never stands still. When the occasion warrants it, he steps back, but only for the purpose of getting a better start, for he always has a definite goal in view. When the command from within calls him to go forward, he drives right ahead like the mighty ocean steamer, majestic in his power and stopping for nothing.

This frame of mind is best illustrated by the following quotation written of Howard the philanthropist:

“The energy of his determination was so great, that if instead of being habitual, it had been shown only for a short time on particular occasions, it would have appeared a vehement impetuosity; but, by being unintermitted, it had an equability of manner which scarcely appeared to exceed the tone of a calm constancy, it was so totally the reverse of anything like turbulence or agitation. It was the calmness of an intensity, kept uniform by the nature of the human mind forbidding it to be more, and by the character of the individual forbidding it to be less.”

The writer believes that the basis of all personal power resides in the Will and that if one intends to accomplish anything in this world he must acquire a powerful Will.”

Atkinson makes the (very) important distinction between strong Will and stubbornness.

A strong Will is not stubborn. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never change your mind no matter what.

A strong Will adapts to the person and contexts. If you are wrong, you have enough Will to say that you are wrong and change your ways.

This is an important distinction to remember as many students are equating strong Will to being stuck in their own ways and never change anything. Nothing could be further from the real Will. Your thinking and rational mind must also be active to know when you are wrong.

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