We all have a friend who can get up before the Sun and get more done in the wee hours of the morning than the rest of us do the entire day. What is it they have that we don’t? Among other things a well trained Will.
Their capacity to take action on a single objective has been honed over time. The military can be good for this I hear. You don’t need to enlist though to put your Will through a kind of boot camp.
All you really need is a list of pointless activities. The more pointless the better. Then you decide to do one of them for a period of time. Pick however long you like but make it long enough so that you will get bored along the way. A month is good or even three months. Do the pointless activity every day without fail. No excuses.
An important variation is to do an exercise of not doing something. I picked this up at John Michael Greer’s forum when he was writing about Will development a while back. Work the variation after going through the first pointless exercise.
Here are some ideas for the initial exercise:
- Move a rock from A to B. Then the next day from B to A. I first read about this one in one of Stuart Wilde’s books.
- Touch your nose each time you walk through the bathroom door.
- Dig a hole in your garden. Fill it in. Repeat each day.
- Draw a purple circle on your bathroom mirror. When you see it tug your earlobe.
- Finish what you start. Even if you are bored. Boring book? Finish it.
- Read a paragraph from the US IRS corporate tax code each night before bed.
- Meditate for 5 minutes every morning. Okay this one is good all on its own. Following through and never missing a day is a double positive. Daily meditation and Will development!
After you do something like one of the exercises above for some period of time try the next exercise. Don’t do something intentionally.
Don’t touch your nose each time you see the purple dot on your bathroom mirror is an example.
In my own life one of the things I am doing is willing myself to finish the astrological magic course i signed up for last year(?). While I enjoy the course it is a lot of work. I can come up with lots of reasons not to do it. One important reason to keep going is practicing doing what I tell myself I am going to do.
Another exercise with multiple benefits is watching the second hand of the clock. Which gets trickier when what you are developing is the ability to spend 5 minutes watching the second hand without have any other thoughts or distractions. Concentraion AND Will. Mouni Sadhu describes this exercise in his book Concentration. I tried it for a short while and will get back to it once I have a few other things off my plate. If you want to check it out you can find it at archive.org.