“Self-discipline is when your highest desire rules your lesser desires, not through resistance, but through loving action grounded in understanding and compassion.”
― David Deida
Choose Delayed Gratification
Growing up in China, I was forced to be “disciplined” out of fear, the fear of physical punishment. After breaking free from communism in the early 1990s, China still allowed acts of physical punishment in school.
Despite excelling in school, I would often times make mistakes on homework assignments and exams.
For every mistake made, I received one hit from a bamboo stick. To mitigate the physical pain, I would dress in many layers on days when teachers returned my exams.
But through the years of fear of physical punishment, I learned to cultivate discipline at a young age. Now awakened and conscious, I have rewired my belief in cultivating discipline out of love for growth.
Instead of living an average life that’s easy filled with instant gratification, mediocrity, and complacency, I want to live a fulfilled life with excitement and adventure. By doing so, I have learned to enjoy the process and go for delayed gratification.
This means choosing to eat healthy and nutrient-dense foods for body nourishment over unhealthy foods that are delicious yet slowly poison my body. I might feel great at the moment of eating that bag of chips or those oily fries.
But my body doesn’t benefit from those junk food. Wanting to have more energy, I choose to eat nutrient-dense foods although it may not be rewarding at the moment.
This is only possible with discipline, which allows me to follow through with my highest desire even when no one is watching.
When it’s just me and my character. That’s when my true qualities will shine through. Without seeking validation from anyone, I’m doing it for myself.
That’s when I know this lifestyle is sustainable because it’s for the right reasons.
The Power of Discipline
Discipline is one of the most important attributes that stands between success and failure. It allows you to do things you may not enjoy at the moment but will reward benefits in the future. This means investing your time doing things such as exercising, getting better with women, or building a business without any immediate return.
These activities might suck at the moment, but you’ll be grateful for them in the future.
Exercising will allow you to have a higher level of physical health with more muscle, increased cardiovascular strength, and mental capacity to deal with stress.
Getting better with women will allow you to bring more women into your life. And eventually crossing paths with a compatible high-quality woman, you’re ready to do all the right things to attract and keep her.
Lastly, building a business that doesn’t have an immediate return on investment will allow you to appreciate the returns when you start generating revenue.
Rarely do businesses have immediate returns, even if it does, you won’t learn to appreciate its true value because you haven’t dedicated enough time to build it.
You must put in the work to deserve the fruition of your labor.
Despite not having a successful business, you’ll learn from your mistakes and turn them into powerful lessons. This will cause you to be a wiser entrepreneur in your future endeavors.
As a result, you will have learned to fail successfully.
How to Cultivate Discipline
Discipline, like any other skill, can be learned. It’s a muscle that requires frequent training to be strong.
Similar to willpower, your discipline will be the strongest when you first wake up. However, you can maintain a strong level of it throughout the day by doing things you know you must do.
In effect, you’re causing a chain reaction to stack and build on existing willpower. As a result, your level of discipline will actually increase throughout the day.
You can start your day off with a solid morning routine that puts you in a positive state.
Then let that momentum catapult you for the rest of the day.
Sometimes, even when you’re doing all the right things, you will still feel resistance and the urge to be undisciplined. A simple question you can ask yourself is:
“Is what I’m doing aligned with my values?”
For example, if at the end of a tiring day, I’m tempted to watch a mindless television show that will decrease the quality of my sleep because of the blue light exposure. Then I ask myself:
“Is watching television before bedtime aligned with my value of health?”
The answer is obviously “no.”
Guided by my answer, I choose to prepare for sleep with light yoga stretches or foam-rolling movements while listening to relaxing meditation music. By asking myself this simple yet powerful question, I can create more discipline in my life.
Instead of choosing for the instant gratification of watching television, I choose delayed gratification of preparing myself for sleep because the benefits I will experience in the morning. They include waking up with more energy, zest, and vitality after a high-quality night of sleep.
Discipline is an attribute you can learn to cultivate more of.
Because your surrounding environment has many forms of instant gratification, you must make a conscious effort to fight for delayed gratification.
The main determining factor that will help you prevail is your “why.” It all comes to how bad you want it.
What are you willing to sacrifice? If you want it enough, you will put in the necessary time and work to achieve it.
It’s simple as that. But just because it’s straightforward doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Where are you holding back in life?
What is it deep down you want to do but are too afraid to do it?
What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
Let discipline help you get there. Show up and do the work even when no one is watching.
Do it for your own sake. Radiate your true character and do more of what’s most important to you.
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