Will is a measure of our capacity to establish and sustain an engagement with reality.
Will forms in our emotions, as a deep organic alignment of our well-being with some anticipated future. Initially, these alignments are primitive: we need food and protection. As we mature, we progress up Mazlo's hierarchy of needs, and commit more of our personal energies to abstract or social goals.
Once the organic alignment occurs, our intelligence formulates a plan of action. In immature personalities, that formulation is on short time scales (minutes or days), even when the goals are realistically achieved only through action sustained over months or years. As we mature, action is planned and sustained over longer and longer time frames.
In the eventuality of failure, injury to our well-being occurs through dissipation of our energy without return. The value created through our investments accrues to others, or vanishes.
In a deep sense, the engagement of will forces reality to reveal itself to us. If we do not maintain an engagement - at least up to and maybe even beyond the point of reasonable expectation for return - we do not grapple with the challenges of manifesting a reality at the depth required to satisfy ourselves that we are capable of accomplishing that manifestation again and again. Stopping short of final and sustainable success leaves gaps that can drain vitality and value from our work, requiring us to return again and again to something previously done, or forcing us to abandon the accomplishment to others.
Given this gradual extension of time frames, as we master the application of our will we might expect a shift to occur from magical thinking to logic, and ultimately to respectful rational inquiry. The second transition portends an ability to sustain the emotional commitment of others to cooperate in our efforts.
Commonly, will is associated with choice. In the commitment of will, however, there is no choice until we have control over ourselves - and specifically control over our emotions. This extends to acceptance that an engagement cannot achieve the desired conclusion. A failure to control our emotions under these circumstances can result in continued investment of energies that will result in our destruction, destruction of those that refuse to participate in our plans, or both.
In social competitions, this occurs far more frequently than it should. It is a reflection of spiritual immaturity.