What are five ways to improve self discipline?

Here’s one life hack you may not have heard of:

When you achieve self-discipline, you achieve true mastery over your life.

What’s so important about self-discipline?

Three things.

ONE. Self-discipline = freedom.

What’s the link between self-discipline and freedom?

Self-discipline is not something that is external; it is a choice we make every single moment of every day. We are disciplined when we take care of the essentials: we know what to eat to give us energy and optimize our brain’s performance; we move our body to stay healthy; we get enough sleep by practicing a nighttime routine to help us unwind early at the same time each evening.

When we take care of the essentials, we free up our time to do deep work, the work we consider the most important in achieving our personal goals. For some, that may mean letting our analytical brain focus on problem-solving. Or, it could mean studying early in the morning for an upcoming exam while our mind is still focused and well rested. Or, it can mean putting in the hours to developing our writing craft, painting portraits in oil, or becoming a master at playing classical guitar. In any case, by being self-disciplined we give ourselves the freedom to truly express our highest self.

TWO. Talent is overrated.

How so?

When someone is a chess pro, we say they’re talented at chess. When someone is a genius at coding, statistical analysis, or developing a web site from scratch, we say they’re talented at their job. But is it talent really? Or is that what we say when we don’t see the long hours people put into getting better at what they do?

It’s probably true that each one us is born with certain gifts, some traits that are baked into our DNA: it could be a musical ability (for singing or playing an instrument), a knack for solving math or statistical problems, or a passion for the written word (a love of books or writing prose or poetry). But our gifts can’t develop without us putting in some serious work: that is how we gain accumulated advantage.

THREE. Being good is only good enough, but it is through practice that we can become the best.

What are 5 ways to improve self-discipline so that we can become the best at what we do?

  • Practice self-discipline by taking care of your essentials:
  • Make a commitment to yourself by defining a very specific goal you want to achieve in a certain time frame. For example:
    • I am committed to focusing on my studies in the next 30 days so that I can pass all three of my exams with top marks.
    • I am committed to finding a job in 3 months that is both a good fit for my skill set in and is in a company whose values I share and respect.
    • I am committed to building my physical endurance by running 4 times a week for 2 months so that I can be prepared to participate in a 5K race.
  • Put in the hours. This means:
    • Do the work that is necessary.
    • Don’t find excuses to postpone your work or ignore it because you’re too busy doing something else.
    • Don’t let others distract you from what you need to do; instead, politely turn down invitations and tell people you’re busy until you’ve completed what you need to do on that day.
  • Be persistent. In other words, keep your eye on your ultimate goal:
    • Don’t just walk away from something just because it seems impossible to do at that very moment. If you keep at it, chances are it will get easier the next time you try it.
    • Fight the urge to give up whenever things get tough. Instead, embrace the difficulty and brainstorm different ways to overcome it. Keep experimenting until you find a better solution.
    • When you fail at something, chalk it up to inexperience and nothing more. Stay focused on what you need to do. Then do your best to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
  • Learn something new every day on how to gain an advantage through hard work.
    • Watch this 6-minute video to better understand why doing the hard work can set you apart from others.
    • Read these books to get more ideas:
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