When 39-year-old Uzeyer Novruzov fell off his 18-foot ladder during the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent, my heart stopped. The balancing stunt previously landed him in a coma for three days, but that apparently has not stopped the circus performer from attempting it over and over again.
The first thing he said when he rose to his feet was, “If you give me another 90 seconds, I can do it.”
“WHAT THE …?!?” I yelled to my husband and son as we watched him beg the judges for more time.
Inner will … THAT is what it looks like.
A glimpse into Uzeyer’s eyes is better than any dictionary definition.
Our inner will is a curious thing. Like optimism and resilience, some people are born with more of it than others. Our genetic makeup certainly impacts our ability to focus on an outcome and dedicate ourselves to actualizing our dreams. Life circumstances also play a role. A person raised in an abusive home is going to have much more difficulty asserting himself than someone who was raised with a hefty dose of affirmations and confidence-building exercises.
However, the good news is that we can exercise our will like a muscle so that it is there when we need it.
In his new book Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times, psychotherapist and philosopher Piero Ferrucci writes:
The will is for everybody. At certain times life may seem unfriendly to us. We may feel it has awarded others, and not us, with the most desirable gifts: health and wealth, talent and privilege; maybe contacts in high places. Mostly there is nothing we can do: what is, is, and what is not, is not. Yet one element surely depends on us, and it is the will. Even if we do not have it, we can generate it. We can learn to use it to our own and other people’s advantage, turn it into an effective and creative tool. What others seem to have received for nothing, we can gain for ourselves bit by bit—then we shall feel it truly ours: not a lucky gift, but our very own victory. Nothing can be more democratic. With will, we give shape to our lives.