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How to Cultivate Willpower & Discipline with Dandapani

Dandapani is a Hindu priest, entrepreneur and a former monk of 10 years. After graduating university with a degree in Electrical Engineering he left it all behind to become a Hindu monk under the guidance of one of Hinduism’s foremost spiritual leaders of our time, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. For 10 years he lived a life of serious personal discipline and training at his guru’s cloistered Hindu monastery in Hawaii.

He works with entrepreneurs globally and companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Nike, Trivago, Fortress Investment Group, Xero in cultivating focus and managing energy. His TEDx talk has over 2.9 million views and both his GoalCast videos garnered over a total of 75 million views in just five months.

"It’s easy to start something, but to finish something takes a tremendous amount of will."


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  • Willpower is a mental muscle—imagine the image of biceps around your mind.
  • A driving factor behind discipline is love. If you love something, you want to discipline your life so you can have more of this love. Then, you will use your willpower to structure your life to make this happen.
  • Apply this principle to working out: ask yourself why you are exercising. Are you exercising just to get in shape? Are you exercising for a greater reason like housing your mind and soul in a strong body and wanting to experience life in a healthy body?
  • If there is a greater impetus to do something, this will provide drive and reason to sustain the behavior over time.
  • Dandapani does not believe in motivation and inspiration—it serves as an injection of energy into someone to get them high for a moment, but once that goes away, you default back to who you are.
  • What is your purpose and passion in life? Once you figure this out it becomes so much easier to discipline your life and determine your priorities.


  • A lot of people don’t know their purpose because they haven’t spent time trying to figure out what it is.
  • Everything we do throughout the day is purpose-driven, so why shouldn’t we have a purpose for ourselves?
  • You need to sit down alone and have a conversation with yourself. Think about it in the same way as if you were getting to know someone over regular lunches.
  • By spending structured time with yourself in introspection, you will get to know yourself and better understand your purpose.
  • Most people go from one thing to another driven by the trends of society. If you look at the more successful people in the world, they focus on one activity and excel at it.
  • If you love what you do, you can add 5 days a week to your life.


  • You can find love and joy in your everyday life even if you don’t have love for the tasks you are doing.
  • Try to dive into whatever you are doing and get passionate about it through concentration and deep exploration.


  • One exercise to build willpower is to finish what you begin. It’s easy to start something, but to finish something takes a tremendous amount of will.
  • At the start of a project you might feel inspired, enthused and motivated, but halfway through you might think “why am I doing this?”, abandon it and go start something new.
  • In the same way that you use your bicep to lift weights and develop more muscle, you use your mental muscle to build more mental muscle.
  • Whenever you finish what you begin, you are developing more willpower.
  • You can use sleep as a way to build willpower. Try finishing the sleep process every day by making the bed.
  • You can turn doing and finishing mundane everyday tasks into opportunities to build willpower. Think of them as opportunities, not chores. You can then direct this willpower into your passions and develop discipline in your life.
  • Training yourself to have regular rituals will shape your subconscious mind.


  • Take time to figure out what your passion in life is by spending time alone.
  • Wake up, find a quiet spot and sit down with yourself for 5 minutes a day to have a conversation. After a few months of this, you will start to discover yourself.
  • Finish what you begin every day. Wake up, make your bed, do the dishes, and think of it all as training and developing your willpower, and let this drive you to finish tasks.


  • Take a screenshot, tag us (@jimkwik and @DandapaniLLC) and tell us your favorite aha! moment from today’s podcast.

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