This is part 2 of a three part series on self-discipline. Check out the others in the series:
Sacrifice and the Altar of Fortune – Part 1
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn
As a human being, you will experience pain. That is inevitable. But, in some cases – you can choose which pain you’ll experience.
You can choose immediate gratification with no long term payoff…or you can choose to have current pain for greater returns down the line.
The previous post in this series talked about sacrifice and how you must forsake one thing in order to gain another higher thing.
Sacrifice is the “what”, this post is the “why”.
You can only sacrifice what you have for what you want by using self-discipline.
The REAL definition of self-discipline
There’s tons of definitions of “self-discipline” floating around but there’s only one true definition.
Self-discipline is doing what you know you have to do to accomplish your goals whether you feel like it or not.
It means reigning in your appetites, emotions, and inclinations to help you achieve something that’s farther down the line.
It takes self-discipline to start a profitable business.
It takes self-discipline to move to an unfamiliar place.
It takes self-discipline to stick with one task until it is 100% complete.
It takes self-discipline to not browse the Internet at work.
It takes self-discipline to forgive people who wronged you at one time.
Self-discipline inevitably leads to self-mastery, where greater success comes to you at a faster rate (Isn’t it exciting?).
This is all great and all…but first you must realize that you must sacrifice. You must sacrifice the immediate gratification of what you want for what you need to do. It is non negotiable.
“You go after things. You try, even if you fail, you get back up and you continue to try and fail and continue to try and fail, and ensuring…you never fail to try.” – Greg Plitt
Why does this matter?
It’s always “I’ll get to it later”. Well, you may never have a “later”. You have a fully functioning mind right now. Will that be the case later? Who knows, bro.
You may be living high right now but what’s going to save you when you’re on the down ebb?
You must prepare for the hard times when the easy times are here.
We all instinctively know this…but we don’t always exercise it. The best way is to create a habit.
“How to Be Disciplined”
It’s so funny to me when people ask “how do I become disciplined”? This sort of came natural to me…but to a lot of others, it clearly isn’t.
The greatest commonality between yourself and people you consider “disciplined” is that it is easier for them to act in a disciplined way. Doing otherwise makes them feel really shitty.
This behavior is literally hardwired into them through endless repetition.
They took the jump shots after practice even when they wanted to go home.
They read the books even when they felt like partying with friends.
They overrode their overwhelming desire for instant and immediate gratification and implanted this dynamite habit. Thus, they reaped the rewards.
As you already know, easier said than done.
“Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with.”
Your two worst enemies are closer than you think
It’s been frequently stated that 80% of the obstacles you will face will be internal, while 20% will be external.
The overwhelming majority of obstacles in your life will be self generated.
Two of the greatest obstacles you face in pursuit of your dreams are:
- The path of least resistance
- The expediency factor
Both of these combine to create a majority of your problems in some form or another. They’re responsible for the largest number of human failures than anything else.
The path of least resistance states that given an easier road, you will inevitably take that road…UNLESS you exercise self-discipline. Examples of this are:
- Hitting the “snooze” button
- Not going to the gym after work, even though you already skipped days
- Eating food packed with artificial ingredients because it tastes good
There’s a neurological basis for this. Your brain will do anything it can to conserve the greatest amount of energy. It wants to use pre-existing neural pathways. If this sounds like the creation of a habit, it is.
Bad habits are created from taking the path of least resistance. Good habits are created by exercising self-discipline wherever and whenever it’s called for.
The expediency factor is stated as this: “short term gain for long term pain”. This is the tendency to do what is fun and easy rather than what’s hard and necessary.
It’s fun and easy to go play video games. It is hard and necessary to sit down and read.
It’s fun and easy to spend your money at every opportunity. It is hard and necessary to save at least 10% of everything you earn.
The expediency factor will ensure that you never build your life on a solid foundation.
How do we fight these two sinister enemies?!?!
You must decide that you’re going to exercise self-discipline and play the long game. This will give you the motivation to create better habits.
Keep in mind the slight edge to help you fight against immediate gratification of the expediency factor and the path of least resistance.
If you keep doing what you’re doing now, where will you be in five years? Ten years? That gives you the chance to decide if you want to exercise self-discipline or not.80% of the obstacles you will face will be internal, while 20% will be external. Click To Tweet
Where to go from here
So you’ve already gotten a breakdown about what self-discipline is, why to exercise it, and what its arch enemies are.
You now need to decide if you’re going to go through with it or not.
We live in a word filled with instant and immediate gratification. As a result, you are programmed to choose the path of least resistance and the expediency factor. You short-circuit this programming by exercising discipline wherever you get the opportunity.
You must do battle against the two enemies on a daily basis. You must decide that the pursuit of your large goals and plans are worth more than anything else. No amount of distraction, short term pleasure, or immediate gratification will knock you off course.
Because the fact of the matter is… if you don’t work to achieve your goals, you will be put to work to help achieve others’.
What’s it going to be?If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs. - Tony Gaskins Click To Tweet
Your next steps
Here’s some ways on how you can choose the pain of discipline so you can rise to the top of your potential!
1. Resolve today to act in a disciplined manner. Exert discipline wherever it’s called for. You’ll have to consciously think about this for a little bit, but after a little while – it will be easier to act in a more disciplined manner than not.
2. Put up with the pain. You’ll experience some mental pain when deciding to discipline yourself. It’s more like a mental “tug”, that makes you feel as if you’re going to snap. Stick with it. This is good.
3. Resolve to stick with one task until it’s complete. This is also known as “single handling”, a key strategy in time management. This will then put you in a flow/deep work state where your ability to accomplish more tasks in a shorter period of time increases exponentially. Few people can do this effectively. The ones that can will separate themselves from the pack in an incredible way.
Check out my article on deep work if you want a better explanation of how to accomplish this!
I want to hear your thoughts on this. How are you planning to short-circuit the expediency factor and path of least resistance?