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15 Things Only Self-Disciplined People Would Understand

15 Things Only Self-Disciplined People Would Understand

If you are a person with a good amount of self-discipline, you have no doubt been labeled as prudish and boring, and maybe even excluded from some of the fun. After all, you abstain from such foolishness, right?

You and I both know that this label is not only insulting, but inaccurate as well. Self-disciplined people are usually full of hope and creativity, and use their discipline as a tool to accomplish epic feats. Theodore Roosevelt captured this well by remarking, “With self-discipline, most anything is possible!” But being boring isn’t the only misconception about the self-disciplined. Here are 15 other things only self-disciplined people would understand.

1. You are not better at fighting temptation, just better at avoiding it

Self-discipline is often defined as being able to take a stronger stand against temptation than a less disciplined person. Essentially, if two co-workers are staring at a box of donuts in the break room, the self-disciplined one abstains, and the other one doesn’t.

But according to a recent study, self-disciplined people don’t focus on deprivation; rather, they focus on managing conflicting goals. Maria Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist for TIME.com put it this way, “Self-control […] may not consist so much of being better at resisting temptation, but at finding better ways to avoid it.”

To reuse our earlier example, the self-controlled co-worker avoids the break room, so they don’t have to deny the donut in the first place.

2. You are more satisfied in life than those without self-discipline

This same study found that higher levels of self control were linked to a higher level of satisfaction in life. So while the perception is that self-discipline kills all the excitement and fun, statistically this isn’t true. When you practice self-discipline you feel more confident about who you are, and get more of what you really want. It may take longer, but you eventually receive it, which builds satisfaction that is deeper than immediate gratification.

So while you may have had to avoid the donut, in it’s place you have created a toned and fit body that you can now proudly flaunt at the beach, so the satisfaction is deeper and creates positive feelings that last longer.

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3. You get to do more of what you want, not less

When others are looking at a self-disciplined person from the outside in, all they may see is what the disciplined person is not doing, but what they often fail to see, is what they are doing.

Self-discipline is born from a desire to move beyond a current situation and to break out of a comfort zone. In order to do this, a person must decide what they do want out of life, and get rid of what they don’t. Most people run through life being entirely reactive, so they don’t realize how much they do things that they don’t want to.

You may no longer get to watch your favorite TV show, but now you’re writing the book you always wanted to. If you’d been asked whether you’d give up your book for the TV show, you would have said no, but by not assessing these things, you were unaware of what you were trading.

Because self-disciplined people assess, they get to do more of what they really want.

4. You enjoy conquering yourself

While the idea of turning down a great party so you can wake up early to go jogging seems like a recipe for negative emotions, it’s actually the opposite. You may be bummed you missed your friends, and maybe even doubt your resolve, but when you’re jogging towards your goal the next morning, a huge dose of self-respect and admiration comes over you.

There’s a thrill in conquering yourself. It builds your self belief and gives you a lasting high, which further motivates you to continue conquering yourself. This is no boring life without excitement, but rather a thrilling game of conquering your inner demons.

5. You live more fully in the moment

While a large attribute of self-discipline is that you’re working towards a bigger goal, the necessary focus on choices you’re making in the moment, requires you to be more aware of what’s going on right now.

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Being aware of the moment allows you to experience life more fully, and you will notice more accurately how the people and environment you surround yourself with affect you. Because of this, you put yourself in more positive situations and remember them with more clarity. Which brings me to my next point:

6. You are better at setting boundaries

“A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself. . . He belongs to whatever can make captive of him.” – John Foster

As you change your surroundings to meet your end goals, you will begin to notice that some people encourage you, and others work against you. Having this knowledge gives you a better understanding of how the people in your life are affecting you, and since you value your goals, it encourages you to set boundaries against people standing in your way.

For example, if you are trying to change your eating habits, there may be others who will begin to sabotage your efforts. They’ll buy you food presents, or stock the freezer with your favorite ice cream. They may invite you out for pizza and a beer and make you feel guilty for not socializing.

Before you decided to change those habits, you may not have noticed this person was a catalyst towards unhealthy eating. Now that you’ve made a change, you’ll see this fact clearly and have the power to stop it.

7. You know yourself better than the average person

“Competing is exciting and winning is exhilarating, but the true prize will always be the self-knowledge and understanding that you have gained along the way.” – Sebastian Coe, four-time Olympic medalist and chairman of the LOCOG

There’s a huge gap between theory and reality. No matter how much you analyze the way you think you’ll react in a given situation, you don’t really know until you do it. Self-discipline forces you into action, and as you take the steps necessary to achieve your goal, you learn a lot about who you really are and what you are capable of.

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8. You feel freer with self-control

“Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear – and doubt. Self-discipline allows a pitcher to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than slave to, his thoughts and emotions.” – H.A. Dorfman, The Mental ABCs of Pitching

Self-discipline is often viewed as constricting, but when you practice it, you begin to realize how constricting not being disciplined was. You can see more clearly how your culture, bad habits, and addictions were controlling you all along, and now that you are in control, you get to have more of a say in how you live.

9. You are more successful at achieving long term goals

Time and time again, when studies are done on successful people, the most common denominator between them is self-discipline. In an article, quoting 25 of the greatest self-made men in history, Sean Combs (P. Diddy) states,

“I’ve never been surprised about what happened to me. I’ve put in hard work to get to this point. It’s like when you become a lawyer – if you’re bustin’ your ass, you’re not surprised when you get your degree. I came in to win, you know. This is why I stay up late while other people are sleeping; this is why I don’t go out to the Hamptons.”

He has a net worth estimated at $324 million.

10. You have a higher level of self belief

Every little promise you keep to yourself builds a layer of self belief. The more promises you keep, the bigger you feel. The bigger you feel, the higher you reach – and the higher you reach, the more belief you build. It’s a cycle that leads to success.

This is why you’ll make your bed every day, or put your shoes away. In the end, you know that even these little tasks lead to great success. It may seem insignificant to outside eyes, but building self-belief is the key to continuing on and having what it takes to succeed.

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11. You know discipline takes energy

When you’re low on sleep or feeling hungry, it becomes extremely difficult to muster up the willpower needed to overcome the obstacles in front of you. According to a recent study, every act of self-control takes a withdrawal from your energy bank. So the more you have to practice it, the more your energy for self-discipline is depleted. When that energy runs out, you can no longer have self-control.

Because of this, you know that eating healthy (and often), as well as getting a good night’s sleep, are crucial to maintaining the energy needed to practice self-discipline.

12. You still have fun

Having self-discipline doesn’t exclude you from having fun. In fact, you can enjoy fun more fully, because you don’t carry the guilt of knowing you’ve done something you’ll regret in the morning. You are fully aware that your priorities are covered and you can now relax and partake in the action.

13. You know that what you DO is more important than how smart you are

In a study of 140 8th grade students, it was found that students who ranked high in self-discipline outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic-performance variable including report-card grades, standardized achievement-test scores, admission to a competitive high school, and attendance. More specifically, they found that self-discipline was more of an indicator for success than high IQ, which is generally thought to be more important.

While being intelligent offers many advantages, it can only take you so far. Having the discipline to do what it takes to get things done is what equals success. The more you practice self-discipline, the more you see this to be true.

14. The more you do it, the better you get

Because self-discipline is a culture in and of itself, the more you practice it, the more it becomes a part of your comfort zone. When you first started along the road of self-discipline, you were fighting your old culture of immediate gratification and the new culture felt uncomfortable. The more in control you feel, the act of slipping into uncontrolled gratification becomes an uncomfortable feeling. The scale continues to tip the more self-control you introduce to your life. This makes more self-discipline easier in the long run.

15. Nobody is disciplined all the time

While being self-disciplined is satisfying, productive, and easier the more it is practiced, no one is self-disciplined all the time. Knowing this fact helps you to forgive yourself for relapses and continue moving forward toward your goals. This “moving forward” after a failure is a crucial trait for the self-disciplined and one that is required for success. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it, “our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

Featured photo credit: Unsplash – Olu Eletu via download.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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