The Battle of the Generation - Day 28
Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation"
Gradual change is a system that requires a plan. Although randomly stopping one element of the problem is commendable, we strive for even more: to begin a progression toward complete self-control. We want to plan out what we will change and when. We should be flexible about it, but we must remember that we do aspire to reach the pinnacle one day.
A person should start by focusing on one area of his battle against desire. He should firmly commit himself to keep a certain halacha or aspect of self-control. Alternatively, he can decide to exert self-control in one particular common situation. He should choose something easy so he will feel that he is on the road to success. He will feel energized and capable. In addition, he should be vigilant not to discuss or joke about inappropriate matters.
He should also try to increase his desire to win, alertness, and willpower by reading about them (Parts 5-7). This will strengthen him to fight the yetzer hara in other areas of desire as well. Thus, the person focuses on one area but also improves subtly in other areas. Then, he gradually adds one element at a time to his specific focus until he attains complete mastery.
We must note that sometimes, a person can do something to take away his ability to sin in the ways most problematic for him. An obvious example is with struggles involving the Internet, which can be partly solved by installing filters. If the person is committed enough that he is willing to give up whatever he will be forfeiting, this should be his first step. Because this change can eliminate much of the problem of exposure beforehand without much effort — and perhaps without going directly against the brunt of his desires — he must try this option whenever possible. He must remember that although avoiding challenges does not seem impressive, it is. (See Chapter 36.)
Nevertheless, this is only a first step toward regaining complete control. A person who limits his access to temptation is not cured. He must follow up by strengthening himself, as described in Parts 5-8.