Turns out it’s not that complicated, philosopher Brian Johnson tells us.

Self-Mastery = Willpower + Habits + Algorithms.

Put another way, we use “our willpower wisely to install habits that run on autopilot.”

When we learn and apply this formula in our lives we allow the best version of ourselves to show up regularly. This is one of my main take-aways from taking Brian’s year-long Optimize Mastery online course.

This week we will explore the components of Brian’s self-mastery formula.

It starts with willpower.

Willpower is an incredibly powerful force.  Brian shares research which shows willpower out-predicts IQ for academic success by a factor of two.  He refers to it as the “queen of all virtues.”

The good news?  

Willpower is teachable.

The bad news?

We have a finite amount of willpower each day.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  It’s the reason we eat the rest of the brownies at the end of a long day.  It’s the reason we keep binge-watching that show we don’t even really like when we’re tired and know we should go to sleep.


That day’s willpower is gone.

The best way to use our limited supply of willpower is to use it strategically to create new habits or eliminate habits we want to shed.  

Brian defines power as supplying something with energy.

We give our power away when we get mixed up in things we don’t have power over.  So, we stay in our lane.  We focus on what we control.  

And, we make a decision once.

Turns out there is a difference between committing 99% vs. 100%.

A big difference.

Why is 99% is much harder than 100%?

Because when we’re 100%, we don’t need to reconsider the decision each time something new comes up.  We’ve already decided.  The decision has been already been made.  

“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again,” says the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan.  

We decide we won’t eat after 10 pm.  Not sometimes.  All the time.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Forever.  Then, the brownies in the pantry aren’t so tempting.  Why?  We’ve already decided.

Creating bright lines makes our lives easier.  And better.

And, if we slip up, we don’t give up.  We recommit and start again.

Reflection:  What is one commitment I could make to do 100% of the time which would improve my life?

Action:  Do it.  Today.

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