[lit-ideas] Re: a million little pieces

Eric (paraphrasing): will power is good and useful . . .

Robert: This may be. But appeals to will power, and willing in general, have the disadvantage of ignoring such common phenomena as trying but failing.

Eric: Certainly. But by will power, I did not mean to suggest an inner drill sergeant who forces change on the grunt in one's internal boot camp. Will power isn't about using one part of the mind to boss the rest around. Rather, will power seems to operate in several stages:

*recognizing what's going on, identifying a habit or behavior as undesirable or destructive, and watching how the habit works to support personal identity, fill needs, soothe unsatisfactory situations

*being of single mind about change, which is essentially about paying attention to what's going on and what is required to change, and is not about using one part of the mind to force the rest into doing something one is ambivalent about

*following through, which is using one's will to carry on the change, maintaining the insight and unity of mind gained in the earlier stages.

I quit smoking this way, without patches or support groups. Highly recommend it. To me the most interesting part is the first part--paying attention to what is actually going on, especially as this shows how one's self-concept is linked to one's habits.




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