To develop discipline is very important if you want to achieve anything in life.
Be it with your business, with women, or conquering yourself. Especially when conquering yourself.
People don’t naturally have good or bad discipline.
It is developed.
Some grew up in an environment where this naturally was important to develop. But you can do it consciously.
You act irrationally most of the time
The first thing you need to understand is the following: humans act irrational 90% of the time.
We do something irrational, and then come up with rationalizations afterward as to why it made sense we acted that way.
We live under this false impression that we consciously control our minds and ourselves at all times. But this is wrong.
The subconscious drives most of our decisions throughout the day. And the subconscious mostly works on irrational beliefs, feelings, and actions.
Which is the exact reason why affirmations work at all, and why talking positively to yourself makes a big difference.
That said, with that knowledge in your bag it immediately makes a lot more sense why we have a hard time staying disciplined.
While we engage in undisciplined behavior, we immediately rationalize why this was good now.
For example, it was a reward for something you did, “I worked hard yesterday, so this is fine now.”
Or, “this won’t be that big of a deal.”
“If I do it now (like watching a stupid show) I will be more relaxed later and get my task done.”
All these things are rationalizations, trying to make sense of a totally irrational decision.
Gut feeling vs. irrationality
Now, listening to your gut feeling is a healthy way to go through life. And a successful one.
But how do you reconcile the two?
Since your gut feeling is totally irrational. It doesn’t follow conscious, rational thoughts. It’s just a “feeling” you have.
They are the same.
But it depends on long-term vs. short-term.
For example, having that gut feeling that your 9-5 steals your soul and you need to start your own business will have a positive outcome long-term.
The gut feeling that your current wife is a royal bitch and you deserve better will be a positive outcome long-term.
Watching that totally exchangeable Netflix show now will give you pleasure short-term, but will not help your goals long-term.
Watching porn now instead of getting your wife to be sexually active (or switching her out) is a short-term solution for a long-term problem.
So we can conclude that irrationality isn’t bad per se. You shouldn’t try to be rational at all times (and, well, you can’t. Human brains are not designed for that).
You just need to make sure your irrational choice helps you long-term and you need to observe when your mind is trying to rationalize bad behavior.
How to develop discipline – Parse Emotions
The most important part of building discipline is parsing your emotions.
Not controlling. Control is an illusion anyway.
You parse them.
What does that mean?
You first need to start actively observing yourself and the emotions of the character you’re playing. Click this link to learn about the videogame mindset. This will set you up to understand reality and yourself on a different level.
Once you see yourself differently, you can now start to observe your emotions.
Tap out of your character and realize why he is feeling the current emotion.
What triggered it?
As soon as you know the source of your emotion, you need to consciously DECIDE if it is worthwhile to act on it.
How To Parse Your Emotions?
We are now forcing ourselves to overwrite the irrationality.
Not by making up a reason why you need to act on your emotion. We’re trying to parse the irrationality itself.
Ask yourself, “If I act on my character’s emotion right now, what do I gain from it?”
At this point, you’re asking yourself if there is ever anything to gain by acting on emotions.
Good question, you’re starting to observe better!
Yes, there is.
An example to contrast this:
Your girl is acting out recently. Sometimes straight up rude.
This makes you angry and disappointed in her (and yourself for choosing her). At first, you would want to flip your shit.
However, ask yourself, “If I act on my character’s emotion right now, what do I gain from it?”
Especially, what do you gain long-term?
Maybe she has PMS and will actually apologize on her knees later. Which she doesn’t do when you flip your shit. So don’t act on your irrationality and stay calm.
However, at some point, when there is no improvement in sight, and she is even outright rude in front of others, it is time to call her out on her shit.
Anger is now warranted. She has been a royal bitch and you need to voice it to make her realize you won’t accept this any longer.
Anger doesn’t mean you beat her. And you shouldn’t turn into a berserk. But there needs to be a force in your voice to make a point.
In that case, it is good to act ON and USE the emotion.
Instead of being used by it.
You need to learn to make conscious judgments of your emotions.
This is tough when you’re in heat, I know. This will take time. At first, you will notice it after you acted on your emotion. And you will feel bad.
The first step of realizing it. Only then can you move forward to realizing while you act. And in the end, before you act.
Don’t try to rush things. Each step is important.
Nothing really matters anyway – The Setup for the Discipline Tools
This isn’t as cynic as it may sound.
But if you think about it. We all gonna die at some point. In a thousand years, nobody will probably know about you or me.
Worse, next year. Next month. Do you think your current resentment and anger are going to matter then? Really?
Probably tomorrow it’ll be irrelevant because you’ll have to deal with some other shit.
Everything in your life is a decision YOU make.The Grim Reaper
Remind yourself in that situation, that it probably is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Remember the lesson from above. Sometimes it is good to act on your emotion. For example, if the woman acts out, this might set the state for your relationship for many years. So stop that.
But if someone cuts you off in traffic, or your internet doesn’t work right now and you can’t write on your book. So, what? Tomorrow it won’t matter.
Everything in your life is a decision YOU make. You may not make them consciously.
But you make them.
Make better decisions.
Decide what kind of life you want to have. How you want to act on your emotions and your mindset.
It is a decision.
Make the right one.
How to discipline yourself to stop getting mad? Discipline Tool #1
When something really pisses you off, the best thing to calm yourself is physical.
The body changes when emotions like anger set in.
You get tense. The muscles contract, you clench your fist, you raise your voice.
When you’re sad and depressed, you’re slouched. Talk silently.
The body is a display of your emotions.
But it works in both directions. The body can also help to direct the emotions of your mindset.
Whenever you feel anger and you want to stop it. Consciously and forcefully stretch out your fingers. Don’t make that fist.
Also, lay down somewhere. Or sit down.
Don’t walk around furiously. That just makes you angrier.
Sit or lay down. Breathe slowly and concentrate on your breath. Slow inhale, slow exhale. This will calm your mind as well.
And then use the technique from above. Ask yourself, “Is this emotion warranted? Does it really help my goals?”
Use your body to change your emotional state.
It seems like this needs a lot of discipline, but it doesn’t. Once you have your body chill, the rest will usually flow on its own.
Discipline Tool #2 – Stoic Gratitude
People have this completely false perception of stoicism. They always think stoics were emotionally dead logs.
Those were the cynics.
The stoics felt their emotions, as I told you before, but decided not to act on it.
Some emotions, however, they decided to act on consciously.
For example the feeling of gratitude.
Every day, the stoics would consciously imagine a scenario where they lost something valuable to them.
Your house, a limb, your woman, your kids. Whatever it is.
Anything that is of high value to you (if it’s your car, you need to work on your external validation).
With this, they reminded themselves to be grateful for having that thing in real life. That made them appreciate it more.
Imagine you live in a war-ridden country and you need to fight for food and survival every day. Instead, you’re living quite comfortably. Since you’re reading this.
You have internet, and a computer or phone. You’re privileged.
So why exactly are you getting angry over your woman not replying to your text?
Or “having” to work for your shitty 9-5?
One very important mindset shift is changing from “I have to” to “I get to.”
I hate my 9-5 job. I truly do. But it’s still a million times better than shoveling dirt in a coalmine at the end of the world.
I get to work for my “shitty” 9-5 and make money to always have food in the fridge.
Now, this doesn’t mean there is no room to grow for you, because you’re already better off. It just puts your mind in a proper place and thus instills discipline to work on your purpose.
Discipline Tool #3 – The Environment Cop-Out
You can trick your mind with a personal cop-out.
For example, if you need to go to the gym but you CANNOT be asked. You don’t FEEL like going AT ALL.
Drive to the gym and walk in, but leave yourself the cop-out to just go home again if you still don’t feel like it.
This is a technique from Scott Adams. The environment of other people working out will put your mind in the same space. This will set you up to do it as well.
Scott says he’s been doing it for years, and maybe only 2-3 times he really went back home again. 99% of the time, it worked.
Again, just a simple mindset-technique for discipline.
Discipline Tool #4 – The 5-minute Rule
This needs a bit more initial willpower, but once you managed it a bunch of times it will work on its own.
Here’s how it works. If you need to write on your book, just force yourself to do it for 5 minutes with the mental cop-out to stop after those 5 minutes.
Or if you want to paint, write copy for your sales page, whatever you plan to do. Tell yourself, “Alright, 5 minutes are fine, then I quit.” and just go for it.
Trust me, you won’t stop after 5 minutes.
The issue for most people is to overcome the laziness to start. Once you’re in the process, it’s easy to keep going.
The first hurdle is taken by leaving yourself open with that cop-out.
Sometimes, you will stop after 5 minutes. Most of the time, you won’t.
Discipline Tool #5 – Boundaries
Think of a picture frame.
The FRAME is what makes the picture good. Otherwise, the colors would just leak out, it would look bad and it wouldn’t really be a proper picture, right?
This is by the way, exactly what people mean when they talk about the male frame in a relationship. The woman EXPRESSES herself within YOUR frame. Together you make a great picture. Or not if your frame is shit.
BOUNDARIES are what make the frame.
There are two forms of boundaries.
For others. You need to be ruthless in people not being able to steal your time. Talk to your woman that from now on in the mornings, you work 2 hours on your purpose (or whatever timeframe you choose).
She needs to respect that.
When somebody calls you in between your work, you don’t have time now. Tell them! If you don’t respect your boundaries, nobody will.
Which is the next part.
Put boundaries for yourself.
You need to be strict with your habits I mentioned before. Don’t reward yourself before you did the work.
Don’t eat badly, don’t skip exercises, etc.
Even though you are an entity controlling this body, you still need to make sure it runs properly.
Let’s have a quick list:
- You act irrational 90% of the time. Remember that to understand yourself and others better
- Gut feeling is the positive irrationality
- You don’t control your emotions, you parse them
- Realize that nothing really matters in the long-term. Especially not impulsive emotions.
- Discipline Tool #1: Relax your body, relax your mind. Lay down or sit down. Stretch your fingers. Breathe consciously.
- Discipline Tool #2: Stoic Gratitude. Vividly imagine losing something of value to you each day. Remember “I get to” over “I have to.”
- Discipline Tool #3: The Environment Cop-Out. Whatever you need to do, go there anyway and leave yourself a cop-out to just leave right away. The environment change will make you do it 99% of the time.
- Discipline Tool #4: The 5-minute Rule. Do your task for 5 minutes and mentally have the option to stop after 5 minutes.
- Discipline Tool #5: Set boundaries. For yourself and for others. Value your time and your energy.
In the end, discipline does use a lot of your willpower. These tools just help to reduce the need for willpower.
However, if you truly have a purpose in life, the drive and energy to work on your purpose will come on its own and will make all of this much easier.