Will to Win

Spring 2020
Advised by Connie Hwang, Ron Catacutan, and Julio Martinez

Will to Win is a game and 4-week program designed for the strong-willed and those that want to be. It is the experience of willpower translated and focused. Everyone’s willpower is different. As many psychologists continue to unravel the secrets of willpower, Will to Win takes what is already known and pushes those who are willing to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.


Willpower, self-control, delay of gratification and things that revolve around these things have always been a mystery to me. Mostly because I felt like I've always lacked a good grasp of the concept, despite my constant efforts. I took my senior thesis as a prime opportunity to better understand willpower and be one step closer to hopefully mastering it.

Considering what was possible and practical, multiple options could be achieved. While quantifying willpower accurately is not guaranteed, the facts of using willpower stands. Furthermore, why just show it when people can experience it first hand? This, I believe, is the best option for people to learn. We use willpower on a daily basis, but it is most likely an unconscious decision. What if we make decisions when the context of willpower is made aware? Making a game out of willpower provides the opportunity of experiencing willpower first hand—taking the basic experience of willpower being used in a position where people had to make a decision. The decisions will require them to evaluate whether it is worth the cost of their comfort, efforts, and time.

Premise of the game

The experience of willpower

In a single game, players will have to take turns drawing cards and perform those tasks. Players will earn points by completing the tasks and the first player to get 30 points wins. As this single game format does not achieve an effective communication of willpower, the game is extended to 4 weeks of playing the game 5 times in different formats while also trying form good habits or break down bad habits. Players are encouraged to come up with rewards and consequences as incentive to win, not lose, and stay focused in a span of 4 weeks.

I worked on this project aware of the fact that this will not solve people’s problems. Though the final outcome forces people to play a game of willpower for 4 weeks, the true lesson extends for a lifetime. I can only hope that it provides a self-reflection of what people want, what they can do, and if they want more.


Understanding Willpower

Psychologists believed that there are two qualities in order to have a successful future: intelligence and self-control. While they believed one’s intelligence could not be improved, perhaps self-control can be. This led to decades of conducting research and experiments in order to better understand willpower and self-control. As psychologists continue to debate on the nature of willpower, I decided instead of trying to prove something, I want to help people navigate through something that is already confusing.