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15 Things Only Self-Disciplined People Would Understand

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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.”

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

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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