Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Difficult Discipline of Self Discipline

While my mind is yet to be made up, with the help of friends and other people whose opinions matter in my life, I’m slowly starting to lean in a direction. I still have one or two more opinions to seek before the verdict can come back, like my second Rosh Yeshiva from Bat Ayin who is actually speaking at Chovevei as a guest lecturer as I type this. But for the time being it seems more and more like Riverdale is going to be my home for the next 5 years and Chovevei my school. (Wow I miss Israel… How can I postpone going back for even longer I don’t really know…)

I owe a debt of gratitude to my good friend Avi R. who was with me in Bat Ayin, and will be starting Chovevei next year, for helping me to think through all the ramifications, and put things into perspective. As you pointed out, either way it's Torah, both options are good. You’ve helped me out more then you’ll ever know.

With my future moving forward along a more concrete direction, it’s time to start taking more directed steps. I put in my 2 week notice to quit my job on Monday. This is giving me back significant time into my week. (It’ll make my formal week of Classes and Youth Group Job only a 2 day experience. I’ll start my week on Tues. at 3:25pm and End it on Wends. at 7:00pm. If I was a party person that’d be ridicules.) However, what it also means is that I have the hard task of setting up a new personal Seder Lilmud (Schedule for Learning) and forcing myself to actually stick with it.

In my mind, few things are harder then self-regulation. It’s just too easy to come up with an excuse why “just this time I’m going to take an extra break,” or “what’s an extra hour of sleep when I’m already studying a lot,” or the famous “I’ll just check my email, it won’t take long.” But never the less I need to do it. I want to start Smicha in the fall, and to do that I need to get my textual comfort and skill level up, and the only way to do that is through hard work.

Even the act of simply making the schedule is not proving easy. (Not to mention that I’m not exactly sure what the most efficient use of my time is.) I’ve still got to schedule Chavrutas with 2 people, as well as find a way to gain some variety in my learning so that I don’t burn out to fast. All this while focusing specifically on fluency acquisition, not covering ground and acquiring lots of substance knowledge. But even when I figure this out (any suggestions welcome…) I’ve still got to actually sit down and do it, and not cave into the myriads of distractions that only will become more appealing as I become more frustrated. (Again, any suggestions/methodologies for achieving self discipline are very welcome…) It’s a great opportunity, and also a great challenge, I just hope I’m up to it.

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