Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Willpower Exercise Day One

Ok, that was WILD! A simple task: take 50 push pins and put them into a box while holding a state of contentment and satisfaction, and repeating the phrase "I will to will". Then record what you noticed.

I noticed how many other thoughts went through my head in the short time. First I wanted to take a picture of the pins to show you. That meant I had to not get distracted by my other photos on iPhoto or my iPhone, not get distracted by arranging them perfectly on the journal.
Thoughts that went through my head just BEFORE starting were things like, "I'm cold I need a blanket" I grabbed one. "I'm still cold I need slippers." I didn't grab them and now my feet aren't so cold. "I need to find a better box to count these pins into." I looked at 2 other options before saying to Self, "Finish this task." I dropped a tack on the carpet and noticed it blended in well with the sisal weave.

While putting the tacks into the box and while saying to myself in my head "I will to will", I had myriad thoughts fly through like, "they are so shiny", "they are so sharp", "I should focus on the task", "I am going to fast/slow", "What does this statement 'I will to will' really mean? My nephew's name is Will."

And other similar tangential thoughts. Crazy! So much busy-ness that was NOT ON TASK.
Holding the state of contentment and satisfaction while staying on task was not successful. I had it at the start, then wondered if it would be better if I smiled. Then I got caught up in all the aforementioned thoughts and forgot the contentment. I regained it at the end with the final tack, when I super slowed-down. But I sustained contentment for less than the time it took to pick up the tack and drop in the box. Other thoughts came in in the meantime. Who knew that my brain was so active?!

I can see that this focusing will take some practice. What was interesting in a horrifying and terribly "that makes sense" kind of way, was how many other things crossed my mind to do before tackling this. I have given in to so many of the distracting thoughts in the past. Starting to see that strengthening will is about focus and see the wisdom of "finish what you've started".

If you've tried this, let me know what you found.

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