How Self Discipline is the Path to TRUE FREEDOM
What is freedom? Freedom is being free. But when we say this, we dismember the idea. Being free from what? Just saying being free, is vague. What do you want freedom from? Some of the most popular types of freedom are freedom of finances and freedom of time, which means, a period where you have no obligations. There are plenty of other types of freedom, but the good thing is, they can all be tackled the same way — through self-discipline!
The common misconception about financial freedom is that, if you have, say, a hundred million dollars, you would be financially free. But this is not essentially consistent with human psychology. A study on lottery winners indicated that over 70% of the lottery winners end up losing all their money. This either has the psychological aspect of the fact that they didn’t think they deserved it in the first place and ended up using all of it, or the other aspect that is, they did not have the discipline required to manage it. This is further indicated by the fact that according to the study, they ended up giving most of their money away.
Imagine a life where you have reached your financial goal, are happy with your physical fitness, and are married to someone you love. Now, say these are your goals. The difference between your current state and your desired state is simply self-discipline. Your end goal is your freedom and the path to reach there is through self-discipline. Our brains are one of the most complex things in the whole universe and if we use them properly, we can do whatever we want if we exude control over it. On the contrary, if our brain controls us more than we control it we will seek short-term pleasures to satisfy our long-term goals, what this will end up doing is, it will keep you as far as possible from what you want to achieve. This is a vicious cycle, and it is very hard to get out of. Our brain prevents us from doing daring things as it is primarily a survival device, so if we have a huge and daring goal it will keep giving us short-term pleasures so we go for the safe route.
This is where we get trapped in something like a jail cell. We become slaves to minor urges and shortcuts which do nothing but astray us from what we want. Almost everyone has lived in this cell. It looks beautiful from the inside but very ugly from the outside. This is where there is no productivity, and this is where dreams die and dreamers become average people. It is the comfort zone.
What self-discipline does is remind you of what you want. You want a good body, not killing the final boss in the video game you are playing for the 8th time. So every day you get up, you remind yourself why you are getting up and what you need to do, and when. Now YOU control your brain. YOU tell it what you want. You do things that cause mental resistance, such as reading for 30 minutes every day or finishing your project even though your head is aching and you feel sleepy because you had to complete it today. You do these things as they align with your end goal. These might seem very minimal, I mean what does, doing an eight-hour workout do for you? Nothing, if you are not consistent. Progress lies in adopting consistency.
People generally run from compulsions and responsibilities. This is an immature mindset. If you have no obligations in your life, you will suffer from mental health issues, if you have a lot of free time, again, you will suffer from mental health issues. This is a common fact. If you have a direction to go, and every day you are taking steps to reach there, why would you feel demotivated? You wouldn’t. And lack of motivation is a common symptom of clinical depression.
So how would you get yourself disciplined?
Well, let’s break this down;
- Define your purpose. You are in charge of your life and you are the captain sailing your ship, but where are sailing off to? If you do not know where you are going, you will likely get lost in the storms of depression and demotivation. So, know what it is you want to reach.
- Start with small activities, once they become habits, stack them with other habits. Don’t try and introduce 3 or 4 activities in a row in your life. This will likely overwhelm you and the whole process will end up imploding.
- Identify cues that cause you to want to do things that are not productive and decide pre-cue how you will tackle it and resist it. For example, a friend calls you and you end up spending an hour with him on call, tell him you are doing something important and will call him back once you’re done. This way you are ready for this to occur and will be able to tackle it when the cue is introduced.
- Do not lie to yourself. This is very important. Being self-disciplined and being so consistently, is very very hard. That is why most people are not self-disciplined. So, telling yourself how easy it is and fooling your brain is only going to backfire. Tell yourself it is hard and will require ALL of your willpower but know that YOU can do it. You have all the necessary capabilities to do it.
- Changing the environment is another key aspect. If you spend time with people who play video games all day, chances are you are going to do the same. Moreover, if your games, or whatever it is you want to stop doing, are in an accessible place, it is harder to stop yourself from doing it. So, try putting your controller for example, in a drawer rather than on the sofa where it is easily usable.
These are just some ways but I am sure there are countless more, so if these don’t seem to give you the desired results, you can find more on the internet!
What some people do to get things done is watch motivational videos. These might feel amazing and everything but are not sustainable by any means. Motivation is an emotion and like any emotion, it is bound to not last forever. When motivation dies, so does your productivity, which is why self-discipline is more useful than motivation.
Starting anything requires willpower, and that is built like a muscle. There is no shortcut to this. If you want more willpower you will have to exercise it. You can do this by resisting things you normally do. This does not mean resisting them completely but learning to control the time you spend on them. Remember, all successful people must have different stories on how they became successful but one thing they all have in common, is being self disciplined.