#69 – Shift mindset, build willpower and stop procrastination!

#69 – Shift mindset, build willpower and stop procrastination!

How come some people seem to have unlimited willpower with the ability to push through anything? Today we explore what willpower is, and how anyone can build it stronger.

“The more voluntary suffering you build into your life, the less involuntary suffering will affect your life.” – Tim Ferriss

This quote by Tim Ferriss inspired the episode of today. We look into how to build will power and stop procrastination by making it easy to choose your challenges today.


How come some people seem to have unlimited willpower with the ability to push through anything? Today we explore what willpower is, and how anyone can build it stronger.

“The more voluntary suffering you build into your life, the less involuntary suffering will affect your life.” – Tim Ferriss

This quote by Tim Ferriss inspired the episode of today. We look into how to build will power and stop procrastination by making it easy to choose your challenges today.

Today’s episode is a personal development episode, where Erik Bergman and Emil Ekvardt explore topics about how to grow as a person.

We are both personal development junkies and spend many hours every week sharing our ideas and reading about new things. This episode is great for you who want to learn about our latest perspective. We share lots of personal stories, talk about how it applies in our lives, and where we have learned it from.

There are lots of different things that play into how to build will power and stop procrastination. We touch upon various areas where it is important, from food and exercise to porn and alcohol. The general idea is that either you make an effort to deal with discomfort today, or the future will bring you discomfort in the shape of bad health, bad economy, and bad relationships.


[00:00:46] Some people seem to be able to do anything they want.

[00:00:52] What makes those people different?

[00:00:55] Willpower is what makes those people different. And willpower is a muscle that you can train and build up. So how do you build that muscle? And how does it tie into schussing discomfort? That’s what today’s episode is about. And I’m here with my good friend Amy, who is a master of willpower. How are you doing today?

[00:01:23] I’m not so sure about that. I do like the word master. I respect it. I pronounce myself a master. OK.

[00:01:34] I am happy today. You’re happy? I fasted yesterday. They have eaten them like a happy horse. Found something to eat. And I’m here with my good friend Eric, the founder of Gray dot com.

[00:01:48] And a brilliant business mind that I am very happy to have so close to me that I can feel his niece. If you’re watching this on YouTube and learn from that and together we are doing D. Becoming great.

[00:02:02] Dot com podcast. A podcast for you. Who wants to make the world or just your own life for that matter, better? True entrepreneurship and personal development attempt tempting.

[00:02:19] What do we mean when we say that willpower is a muscle?

[00:02:24] Do I interpret it that is that whenever you’re going to do something difficult, something that creates this feeling of resistance, whether that is going up on a stage to do a public speech, where there is going to that girl you kind of like and tell her that you like her, even though you’re putting so much on stake or if it’s fasting for several days or do a really intense workout, it’s all the same mental muscle willpower.

[00:02:53] Ok. He regardless what it is that you’re trying to do. It’s basically one activity going up to that girl is the same activity as staying away from the fridge when you’re fasting.

[00:03:05] Yes. My mind chooses to do uncomfortable things even though my body’s trying to stop. So why would you choose to do uncomfortable things? One really cool thing about that. It’s the same muscle and all those activities are connected. That means that if I practice that muscle in one area, I get a huge spillover effect to other parts of my life. That is one of the reasons I’ve been doing ice baths here in the lake the entire winter. Pretty much is because.

[00:03:38] You know, when it’s minus four degrees and snowing darkly and I’m in my apartment and I have a thought that let’s go take an ice bath and my body’s like, oh, we don’t want to go and take an ice. But but if I.

[00:03:52] Overrule those thoughts and I go and do it anyway. Then I practice that muscle very intensely. But why would you want to practice it? Why is it good to choose discomfort? Because if I have the ability to go to some this concert, I really think that I can avoid even more discomfort later. So do you have a place in your life where you could imagine that to be true?

[00:04:20] So the third thing for me that comes to mind with choosing discomfort today is when it comes to health and like if I choose to work out, even though I don’t want to or, you know, it’s painful, then I’ll be in better shape in the future and I’ll have a better chance of staying young and healthy. And in all of these things like.

[00:04:47] I read that quote somewhere.

[00:04:51] Either you choose your suffering today or you’ll deal with the suffering that someone else chooses for you and your future, much like either you did you go to the gym today or God or whoever will tell your body to fail 10, 20, 30 years from now because you didn’t do it. And I’m not sure how well choosing suffering is the best word for it or choosing discomfort. But I. I like the mindset of thinking that either I choose what I’m going to suffer through tonight to date and I’m the master of that decision, rather than ending up, well, in bad shape or physically bad or in the going up to that GERN analogy, either I put myself through that fear today or I’ll end up alone in the future because I never did it.

[00:05:42] And then that is a kind of suffering that is happening to you. It’s not something you’re choosing or have control over. At least I experience discomfort, more suffering if it’s something that is involuntarily.

[00:05:56] Yeah, he kind of captured and you have to do it if you’re choosing to do it, at least you can do it when you feel that you’re in in a good space to deal with it. I mean, if you had a good point, you can choose when to take your suffering, right? Yeah, exactly. I mean, if you think of this as someone health prospected and you’re young and you’re working all you can choose when during the week you’re going to work out. But if you’re getting older and your body starts to fail you, it’s not gonna fail you when it’s convenient.

[00:06:27] It’s going to fail whenever and wherever and always, you know, I have a grandparent and he or she is pretty much, you know, person of her own body after choosing to not choose discomfort for their entire life. And at this point, they are in constant pain. A prison they that person experience nothing other than pain on a daily basis. Do you think that would have changed if they would have chosen this comfort? It would have lessened for sure. I think another area where this is very obvious is you have had an approach, I know in relationships for the last two, three years where you have choose an. Constable, honesty, which is very discussable in the moment. Could you explain your reasoning behind that?

[00:07:21] The one thing so I mean I mean, Johannah, my fiance that we’ve done together 10 years and. Like three years ago, two years ago, I decided that I want her to know all of me in every single aspect of it, even the less flattering ones, like I’m attracted to other women. I want to do other things outside of our relationship.

[00:07:48] All kinds of things. And.

[00:07:51] I landed on I want to feel that I’m been 100 percent honest with her about everything, even things that she doesn’t want to know or even things that might be uncomfortable to talk about.

[00:08:02] And it’s kind of.

[00:08:06] One of the deeper meanings of that is I don’t think that anyone can ever really love someone unless they know everything about it. So it’s I’m trying to hold up some kind of facade of who I am or how I’m feeling in different situations because I want to, quote unquote, protect her feelings. She seems to be the common excuse. She can never know me because I haven’t showed her me.

[00:08:29] And you are suffering now involuntarily a little bit all the time, because you cannot be who you truly are. And that’s a good point. So I’m not showing her me all the time.

[00:08:40] I’m kind of I need to suffer a little bit by changing who I am or adapting my behavior to something that doesn’t feel true to me.

[00:08:48] Yeah. And you want to be with Johanna, you’re going to get married. So now you’re choosing some discomfort, like ripping off a Band-Aid. At one point telling her those things, but then you spare yourself from a whole marriage where you will feel this constant sense of resentment and suffering. Yeah, yeah.

[00:09:11] I mean, basically, I choose some painful conversations. Some things that are really hard to do in the moment. Let’s see if we can calculate this in pain points. Quote, unquote. Let’s invent the concept here and maybe there is that day when I’m having one of those conversations. That’s a hundred pain points. It’s really hard to do that. But if I don’t deal with that, I probably get one. Pain points per day for the rest of my life or at least one pain point per week for the rest of my life. Because I need to change something about me. I need to hide something. I cannot be only connected with her. I choose to go through a lot of struggle at one time to be able to save a little bit of struggle. More or less everyday for the rest of my life.

[00:10:03] And that so much that mindset, so much ties into what we’ve talked about in the beginning to take some pain points going up to that girl. You’re like can maybe make a fool out of yourself to learn the scale of talking to women. Go to the gym even though you are out of shape. And it’s difficult at first to create a healthy body.

[00:10:31] You really like training your power muscle with eyes, belts and everything. When did this shift come to you? When did you realize the importance of willpower?

[00:10:41] I think the main idea that’s landed is that willpower is a muscle and I’m by no where I’m a person that is doing ice baths every day and always pushing myself or using a lot of willpower, because I think that everybody has a certain amount of willpower. Some people have a lot. Some people have a little. But you have limited willpower. If you’re hanging by a cliff and I’m coming their hey, what do you have to like even if you have a lot of willpower? If I come back a week later, you’re not going to hang there because your willpower and your muscles are limited. So my approach is that I’m trying to use as little willpower to do things by doing things that I truly am passionate about working out in ways that feel good to me. And then for short periods, like an ice bath, I do something that requires all of my willpower, because I think when we’re pushing that muscle to the point where it starts to fail, that is when our psyche says, OK, this muscle needs to be bigger, let’s get more strength, just like it works the same way as making a muscle stronger at the gym.

[00:11:50] I’m still kind of stuck in me hanging from a cliff. You coming there, not even thinking about getting me out. Just say, hey, what’s up? And then coming back a week later, I’m gone. Thanks, buddy. I. Yeah. Either way, if you’re gonna do one exercise at the gym, I think going for being able to do one pull up makes sense. Right. If there’s anything you should if you’ve seen any movie, it’s quite possible that at some point in your life you will be hanging from a cliff or a skyscraper. You might. I should have made Phillips ups.

[00:12:27] Okay, so let’s say you realize that willpower is something you want to develop and you want to start building this muscle. What are some tricks you can use to make this process easier or more meaningful?

[00:12:42] One thing that is important for me is to have a strong desire to make your future better. OK. And one thing that I feel quite certain that my future will be better. My life is way more enjoyable today than five years ago. And I think a reason for that is that I’m constantly looking for where am I bleeding a little bit? Where are those pain points that you’re talking about? And I’m only scanning my life, OK? This thing is costing me one pain points per week.

[00:13:08] This thing here. Oh, here I can reduce 10 pain pain points like pain points. I like pain points as well.

[00:13:16] Just small things that constantly improve my habits, my health, my relationships. That’s huge. To be better at relationships all the time. It’s making my life feel much more enjoyable. And knowing that I’m more willing to.

[00:13:35] Experienced is concerned because I really believe in in my own future.

[00:13:38] Ok, so the first step about wanting to improve willpower would be to wanting to have a better future. I haven’t had a stronger reason for facing that emotion. One thing that I like about thinking about the future is that I like the idea of doing favors for me. That’s so beautiful. That’s self-love, right? Yeah. It’s like whatever I’m doing today that is very good for Eric tomorrow or Eric. Ten years from now is like I’m doing someone else, quote unquote a favor. Yeah. And I think it’s so much easier to walk the extra mile for someone else than it is for ourselves. I mean, to be fair, 10 years from now, the most important person in my life is gonna be me. Yeah. And that’s gonna be 20 years from now and 30 years from now.

[00:14:22] Sorry, Johanna. He’s done this. And it’s so nice to be able to say thank you, Pastor Mitchell, for providing me with his faith. I’m so grateful compared to damage passed to me. Yeah, it’s you can really see it as either you’re investing in yourself.

[00:14:38] I can see this as kind of an A.T.M. machine. Either I’m cashing out money, maybe on partying, maybe I’m slacking. Maybe I’m just watching Netflix. Yeah, there will be less money in my bank account in the future or I’m depositing money, which will give me more in the future. But it will also pay dividends because I can invest that in other things. Case interest for sure. It comes with interest. Yes.

[00:15:00] So growth becomes exponential and when you don’t do uncomfortable thing, you pay interest on that all the time and you end up like my grandparents. Yeah. Having a huge credit card debt healthwise.

[00:15:11] Yeah. So you could either cash out a little joy now or get a lot of joy in the future. And likewise, you could choose to take a little pain out of quite a lot of pain, but avoid a lot of small pain points over a longer period of time. Yeah. Okay. So mindset this one first thing. Just thinking about this, what does it mean to choose discomfort today? What does it mean to practice willpower and think about that person. Ten years from now, you 10 years from now, what it means for him or her?

[00:15:42] That’s one.

[00:15:50] What else what else can you do that is helping you to deal with discomfort?

[00:15:56] One thing that I like to do is to look at things like exercise or doing a public speech, for example, that a big reason of why I’m doing it is not to practice the scale of public speaking or exercise, but to practice the willpower muscle. So, for example, let’s say that I’m home. I mean, to so far I have very low energy, but I know I should go to the gym. If then my goal is to do a great workout, then that might seem impossible. But if my goal is to even go to the gym at all with intention of practicing my willpower, muscle, muscle, then at least I can do that. I can say, OK, I’ll go to the gym and I’m there for five minutes. And the reason I’m doing it is for a mental practice to practice going against my body’s will of being stale and to practice that habit, practice that strengthening the habits. Exactly. So I don’t need to put the pressure on myself that I’m gonna be there for an hour.

[00:16:56] Yeah. I mean, results doesn’t come from setting a goal. The results come from building a habit. Yeah, it’s a lifestyle. Yeah. A lot of people like I’m setting this goal, I’m gonna run this marathon or whatever in comparisons, like I want to build a habit of running or going to the gym even when I’m tired. Mm hmm. So it’s basically you lowering the bar for what it means to you to go there as well.

[00:17:19] Yeah. And have the mindset that the primary practice is to strengthen my willpower, not the activity in itself. So let’s say that I’m. I have a girlfriend. But let’s say that I was single and I was out in a bar. If I feel uncomfortable going up to a pretty girl and talk with her recent I would do that is primarily to strengthen my willpower muscle, not to get the girl. And that shift in mindset.

[00:17:47] Yeah. And that’s a big shift. So you’re primarily going there because I want to learn this skill secondary because you really want to talk to her. But either way, the result, even if it goes really badly with a girl, you have still practiced the willpower. So you come out with a win.

[00:18:03] I get out with a more win, because if my intention is to be comfortable with discomfort and this is a really tolerable interaction, I get to experience more discomfort.

[00:18:14] Yeah. So I learned even more. Yeah, that’s good. So how about you? Do you have any tips and tricks for me?

[00:18:21] One of the big things that has shifted is this. Think changing my thought pattern about something that I’m usually been struggling with. So the first thing that comes to mind is fasting. The feeling of being hungry is something that for the first 30 years of my life was a signal to say, hey, Eric, you’re gonna be pissed now until you get food.

[00:18:43] First time we were out on our travels together. I never seen so on someone so cranky. Yeah. And that was the signal that I kind of had conditioned myself to.

[00:18:55] I’m not supposed to be hungry. I need to do something about this, which made me even more cranky than I would have been otherwise. It’s just changing that mindset to now, understanding more about fasting and that it’s actually really good to be hungry sometimes, as in telling me whenever I’m feeling that signal that before was a signal to be cranky. Now it’s more of a signal to good. Eric, you’re taking care of yourself. Thank you, Eric. Five years back. Well, I’m getting some gratitude from Eric 2025. Feeling happy that I choose to be hungry instead of eating a Snickers. And just thinking about that mindset shift, thinking about different interactions like how am I practicing now? How my choosing discomfort for know future me has changed a lot. And also what you are touching upon going to the gym or not going to the gym. For me that’s been about the mindset of thinking. All the workouts are good workouts, some time of lowering the bar of actually going there. I haven’t thought about that much in terms of willpower, more in terms of habits. Before I used to think if I went out running and I didn’t feel like throwing up afterwards, it wasn’t a good run, you know, which meant that it felt really hard to go out running because I knew that I was going to suffer.

[00:20:18] And you felt bad about yourself. And in areas you feel bad about yourself, you’re not going to go much. I feel so bad about myself. I always pushed myself really hard when I was once out running before. And now it’s more like, OK, Eric, go out and run. And as long as you’re out the door, that’s the wind. And I’m not grading the workouts if they’re good or bad. All of them are good because I did it. And it’s all about building that habit. And. Choosing a little bit of discomfort. So before I was either I Shu’s ton of discomfort or I shows no discomfort. And then it was really hard to choose the Taalam discomfort. And I was running really hard because I was feeling a little bit low on energy or whatever. I really didn’t want to do it. And now it’s more like, OK, Eric, any portion of discomfort here is worth it. If that’s going out for a 20 minute, 20 minutes intense run or a 20 minute meeters slow run. It didn’t really matter.

[00:21:16] It’s still building the habit of going out, even though I’d rather stay in the couch and a strong association, a positive association to the event of running as well, I guess. And I think the first example with the fasting is so interesting because the emotion. Of discomfort from being hungry. It’s exactly the same. But you have changed your perception of it. So now the experience of it is totally different.

[00:21:40] Yeah, the physical experience is the same, but the main mental hollum reading, those signals are.

[00:21:46] So same discomfort. But suffering is now lower.

[00:21:50] Yeah, much lower.

[00:21:52] Yes, I think all in all, this entire idea of either your shoes, your discomfort today or your suffering in various ways for the rest of your life, involuntary has been an important shift for me, either as you look at it as willpower, as a really important muscle to build. We’re just looking at it as a general thing of choosing. I don’t think you need to choose that much discomfort. If you’re choosing a little bit of discomfort everyday, it is by your choice. If that’s by walking instead of taking the subway or if that’s by eating a little bit less candy or whatever, or if it’s anything else, like reading instead of watching Netflix, every now and then, all of these things stack up to a better future. And it can be small things. Small shoes and discomfort can lead to a lot of less suffering in the future.

[00:22:47] One tip that I would like to add as well that I’m super excited about right now. I’ve been doing it for a month, so I’m not going to take poison on it.

[00:22:54] Instead, I’ve chosen to have one day per week where I do all of my boring things and I also do my fasting. So on Mondays I don’t eat, which means that I get a 36 hour fast and that day I drink a little bit of extra coffee and I do all of the boring things I need to do. So I have a mindset of will I enjoy this activity?

[00:23:16] Then I pass and I look at my to do list and I do that. I don’t want to do that. All right. Today, we’re practicing the other day, so I’ll have fun. I’ll check in with you a year from today. Okay. So far, it’s working. Amazingly, we’re out of. I think I’m onto something.

[00:23:36] You know, I really like the idea of choosing your discomfort and choosing when you have your discomfort. It’s beautiful things when judges come for choosing your discomfort leads to a large extent.

[00:23:46] And basically, either you become the master of your discomfort and you go against it and you control it or discomfort is kind of control you and then you’re not the master of anything. So all in all, you have to choose when to do it or just get it delts whenever the universe tells you to suffer. It’s your choice.

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