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The Results Are In: Direction and Willpower are the Biggest Challenges By Far

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who filled out our short Resilience Survey. As promised, here are the results. The average scores per question are out of ten.

1. I have a written vision for how I want each area of my life to be (e.g., Health, Relationships, Career/Finances, Spiritual Life). 3.6/10
2. I read over this written vision for my life at least once a day. 2.1/10
3. I know exactly what I want to accomplish in each area of my life this year, this month, this week and today. 3.5/10
4. I have identified all the specific skills I don’t have and will need to make this future vision a reality. 3.7/10
5. In each area of my life, I have identified the 1-3 specific ACTIVITIES that will most contribute to the results I want. 3.6/10
6. I devote about 80% of my time and energy to doing these specific activities (mentioned in the previous question). 3.2/10
7. I have taken steps to simplify my life and I feel it is “under control”. 5.2/10
8. I see myself as a highly competent expert in my job / career. 6.2/10
9. I see myself as highly competent in my roles as spouse and parent (If currently fulfilling only 1 of these 2 roles, rate that one. If you don’t have a spouse or children, give yourself a 7). 6.9/10
10. I spend at least 30 minutes a day in quiet meditation. 5.6/10
11. I look after myself by getting enough exercise every week. 5.4/10
12. I look after myself by eating a diet of healthy, living foods, appropriate to my age, sex, body type and activity level. 6.2/10
13. I spend time every week keeping in touch with my network of friends, neighbors, colleagues, and work/business contacts, for the sole purpose of staying connected and letting them know I care. 5.4/10
14. I have completely and unreservedly forgiven everyone who has ever wronged me. 6.3/10
15. I’m so organized that, when I get up each day, I know exactly what I want to accomplish without having to think about it. 4.6/10
16. During my daily tasks, I always distinguish between what appears “urgent” and what’s truly important, and I focus as much as possible on the latter. 5.8/10
17. If I needed to teach someone how to take back control of their time and their life, I would feel perfectly comfortable saying “Do what I do”. 4.6/10
18. I accept full and complete responsibility for everything that happens in my life, as proven by the fact that I never complain about anything and never fall into the victim mindset. 6.7/10
19. When I read over my goals, I feel complete inner assurance that I can achieve them. 5.3/10
20. I regularly practice an energy-psychology method for reducing or eliminating my doubts, fears and self-limiting beliefs. (Examples of such methods would be: the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Quantum Emotional Clearing (QEC) or others. 5.6/10
21. I generally have enough time every day to accomplish what I want to. 5.9/10
22. I generally have enough physical and mental energy to easily accomplish what I want to on any given day. 5.7/10
23. I consciously monitor my thoughts to ensure I stay focused on what I do want, rather than on what I don’t want. 6/10
24. Whenever I begin a new activity during the day, I take a moment to intend and visualize the results I want. 4.4/10
25. I have positive emotional attitudes about money and never worry about a lack of it. 4.9/10
26. I have a positive emotional attitude about relationships and easily attract the relationships I want. 5.2/10
27. When I read over my goals or think about them, I feel enthusiasm and not inner resistance, fears or doubts. 5/10
28. When I wake up every weekday, I feel enthusiasm for what I’ll be doing that day. 5.3/10
29. I do everything I can to maintain a positive emotional state, knowing that my emotional state is a major factor in my success. 7/10
30. As I move toward my goals, I always feel “pulled” by inspiration and never as if I have to “push” myself by force. 5.8/10

What Does This Mean?

If the results are to be believed, about half of you have major work to do in most areas, particularly on the goal-setting and mindset aspects of personal resilience. Anything to do with systematic goal-setting or goal-visualisation showed particularly low scores. It would be a mistake to think that this is “simply” a problem of not applying the methods. The key question here is 27- your average score for having a positive assurance about your goals is only 5/10.

The comments you wrote were even more illuminating than your answers. While some people found this survey a wake-up call for more systematic goal-setting or a confirmation of the direction they’re already taking, many of the comments suggest a profound struggle with and frustration over willpower, consistency and finding a direction. There are a lot of people feeling “stuck in a dead man’s zone,” to quote one commenter.

I Still Haven’t Cleared My Programming/ Emotional Blocks

A related complaint was that, even after years of trying to live consciously, to use the methods of energy psychology to uproot negative childhood programming and emotional blockages, there’s still something there, a big one you can’t seem to get at. Some people have identified themselves as struggling with a victim mindset or a feeling of being trapped by their circumstances- including their financial situation, as the average score for Question 25 suggests. This is also the result of deep-seated programming.

The first thing to recognise is that the two problems, willpower/clarity and mindset, are related. If you’re having trouble with willpower, consistency and clarity, there’s almost certainly a big bit of programming sabotaging you. The truth is that energy psychology methods are often far too pleased with themselves for the flashy emotional and physical healings they achieve on a regular basis- classic phobias, for example, are relatively easy to deal with.

Deep-seated beliefs are quite another matter. I know one person who, after more than three years of intensive work with energy psychology, including EFT, BEST and other methods, was no closer to uprooting the central problem despite many obviously powerful healing experiences. It was only by teaching himself to use the fourth step of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s method that the nature and inciting incident of his false belief were revealed to him. The point is that the main thing is to keep at it until you find it, no matter how long it takes. Regular and determined effort is critical- judging by Question 20, that’s something for many people to work on.


Quite a few of your comments amount to beating yourselves up about not being able to commit or persist. You have to realise that until you get your programming clear, your capacities will not be your own to direct, no matter how hard you try.

There is a certain pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality when it comes to willpower. It says that willpower comes from exercising willpower, the implication being that if you don’t have willpower, it’s probably because you’re lazy. This, frankly, is crap.

Until you clear your controlling and self-limiting programs, whatever they are, your capacities are not entirely yours to direct. You can commit yourself and recommit yourself to building willpower day after day, but it may not matter, because your energy, your focus is being sapped somewhere else. This is where Question 30 comes in- you aren’t in a state where you can be motivated by inspiration.

Once you clear that program, then yes, you can start to build willpower, persistence, goal-setting and organisational skills by going out and doing it, preferably with the help and advice of someone who will hold you accountable as you progress (as some of you suggested). In no tradition of spiritual development are you expected to learn this on your own.

Once you have your programming clear, then you can begin to consciously and systematically change your life, and in fact you must do this- simply getting rid of the block will feel great, but you still have to grow from the person you were into the person you want to be. There’s no substitute for action in the real world.

Get Clear on Principles and Desires to Get Clear on Goals

If you’re not yet clear on your goals and direction, the best thing you can do is be clear on your core values, the things that are most important to you in life, the things you want to contribute to the world. Once you have a strong foundation of values, you have a basis for action.

The next thing you need to do is find your core desires. Jack Zufelt correctly points out that we only pursue our goals with discipline and persistence when they correspond to a core desire. Even if what we have to do at a given moment is of no interest to us, as long as it propels us toward that core desire, we’ll stick with it. The catch is, most of us don’t know our core desires. The basic goal-setting questions we’re all familiar with take us only so far. Once we answer these questions, we have to ask another one: If I had that, was that or could do that, what would it give me and how would it make me feel? This is basically a why question. Why do I want this? We may have to ask this over and over again, until we come to the one thing that resonates totally, our basic core desire.


This survey has shown up some of the basic roadblocks to the effective and consistent action that constitutes personal resilience: lingering childhood programming and emotional blocks sabotaging willpower, clarity and belief, disconnection between basic desires and goals, and lack of guidance by someone who can coach you in applying these methods consistently and hold you accountable. As far as putting 80% of your effort into what really counts, these are the areas where you can start to get some traction. Our own coaching program launches soon, and I look forward to working one-on-one with some of you there.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger