So you’ve read Part 1 and in your effort to lose weight, stop drinking, eat healthfully, stop smoking, etc… (fill in your own blank of ANYTHING you want to change) have decided that you’re ready to sit in the Space of Want. But how do you start? What will you need? You start with an open-minded willingness to become uncomfortable, understanding that enduring discomfort is necessary for growth and change and will not destroy you. You need to want something. That’s the easy one; we want a variety of things, pretty much continuously. Pinpointing what you want most by delaying or eliminating momentary gratification is the one that will sting. But you can handle it. Each sting you sit through makes the next more tolerable.
The only thing that I can tell you here that you’re not already certain of is your ability to do without anything non-essential to your livelihood. So I’ll say it up front: you have this ability. It’s inherent. Don’t call it willpower and tell yourself that you have none. Call it an ability that’s essentially a weak muscle that needs to be strengthened and work on strengthening it. The only way to do that is to use it. And that is what you’re doing when you’re sitting in the SOW. You are training yourself to work a muscle that has been neglected. Consider it a workout and be diligent in training by doing the work. This means pushing past what’s comfortable in order to begin a process of breakdown and repair in order to bring about strength and growth. In this case, strength and growth appears in the form of your ever increasing ability to withstand denial of what you want now for what you want most.
As with every workout, your abilities will increase over time. Start small by allowing yourself to feel discomfort. Use routine situations as opportunities to train. By this I mean don’t put that sweater on the instant you get chilly. Turn the water to cold during the last minute of your shower. Skip a meal here and there and allow yourself to experience hunger. Get uncomfortable so that you will understand that you are bigger than the discomfort! As this becomes easier, add the “weight” of working on the more difficult habits/behaviors you want to eradicate. This will put you in a position to more readily adapt to not having what you want the very second you want it, thus enabling you to dig deeper and uncover what you want most.
We are each individuals, which is why there is never one precise “cookie cutter” method for anything in life that will work for everyone. I’d be wary of those who try to convince you otherwise. That is why it is essential that you sift through what you read here or anywhere else and dig deep within in order to seek, then utilize, that which speaks to you in a way that sheds light where you were having difficulty finding any. In my own experience with every soul training exercise I’m working on, this has meant slowing down. The most difficult part of sitting in the SOW for me was sitting through what I wanted to rush past or escape completely through methods, substances, or people outside of myself that would “take the edge off”. It still crosses my mind to do the same thing and in that moment I’ll believe I WANT to do that thing-that-I used-to-do-to-make-it-all-“better”. But the muscle has been strengthened and the mind has been trained to slow down. Which gives me time to choose. And that time increases my odds of choosing wisely.