You don’t have your own will, and neither do I. Nobody has an individual will.
In many posts on this blog I have assumed the opposite: that you must look within yourself in order to find out what you truly want—to find your True Will. I have now come to realize that I was constructing a mirage.
In reality, your will is not some mystical individualistic force within you that demands excavation by digging into the depths of your “self.” Rather, it is the dynamic result of everything you have learned in your life about what is useful and desirable. You have learned this from your parents, through ongoing social and cultural conditioning, and from all the role models you organically tended and still tend to emulate, among whom likely are podcasters and YouTubers you have never met in person.
Even if everything you would do is read books all day and not consume any other information, nor socialize with any people, you would still be modeling your will after other people, namely, after these books’ authors, and not to forget the implicit cultural conditioning given by the books’ pre-selection: after all, your are distinctly influenced by the fact that you are reading these specific books, which you have selected to read among all the others, and that they exist for you to read in the first place, which for older books means that they have “stood the test of time” within your culture, the very culture that to this day produces copies of these books and actively promotes them.
So whatever you want, whatever you desire, your will is always determined not by the power of your rational mind, but by the history of your sociocultural learning. In the sense that this history is your unique and personal history, built from the idiosyncratic integration of environmental, parental, social, and cultural influences on your brain throughout your life, and only in this sense, can you still speak of your “individual” will.
Importantly, however, it is not your rationality, not your conscious thought that makes you want something, but it is the whole “you”—the entirety of your ontogenesis. While this, of course, includes your conscious thinking, it only plays a minor role in the process.
Practically, this means that whenever you find yourself doubtful about what you want, unsure of where you want to go in life, the solution is not an introspective seclusion where you force yourself to think about it; this won’t help. Instead, it is more helpful to foster your awareness of the factors that influence your will and to perhaps nudge yourself in a direction where their combined message is less contradictory.
For example, if you have a close friend who’s all about partying and having fun, a mother who wants you to start a family, a father who urges you to pursue a reputable career, and a guru who inspires you to overcome your worldly desires, then it’s no wonder that you’re confused about what you want. Not that such confusion is necessarily bad, but if you want more clarity, the best way to achieve it is by limiting the sources of your confusion, that is, by adjusting the amounts of time you spend with different people whose values conflict and by filtering the information you frequently consume in such a way that their combined influence on your will becomes more internally consistent.
In short, not more thoughts, more reflection, more mental chatter, but less inputs will help you straighten your will.