Self Discipline

Easy concept, hard to achieve in entirety. There are many activities that I would consider beneficial to my self-discipline, then there are others that hinder it. Humans are flawed when it comes to consistency which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Inconsistency is what makes us unique.

So, what makes an individual successful in his/her uniqueness? I have a deep respect for books, but I find it hard to sit still and read line by line while my mind races; usually thinking about problems that I should be solving or ideas that I should be putting into action. The compromise that I found best was audiobooks during my long drives to school. I would travel 45 minutes to and from school which provided me with plenty of listening/thinking time. Why am I talking about books you might ask? Well, I guess you could say I have a certain taste in books; books that focus on optimizing personal performance and, of course, self-discipline. One book that I found particularly profound was Brad Stulberg’s and Steve Magness’ book Peak Performance. The reason I find it so interesting is the way that hard work and success is portrayed. Furthermore, To answer the initial question of why are some individuals highly successful I would refer back to Peak Performance for the answer: self-discipline.

When I say self-discipline, you may imagine diligent working hours where little to no time is wasted on silly tasks. I would have entirely agreed with you before reading Peak Performance, however, now I would disagree. The book’s main theme is centered around getting enough sufficient rest so that working hours can be optimized. Essentially, building up energy and ideas for when the time comes to dish out some effective work. I would also go as far as saying that self-discipline plays the biggest role when resting, not working. If you’re full of energy and ideas, you will have no issue sitting down and getting some work done, that’s just how humans are programmed. Resting, on the other hand, can be taken in many different ways, most of which are the wrong way.

Teenagers are a fantastic research point because they have incredibly open schedules, but whenever you ask them about it they always respond with “I don’t have enough time” or “I’m exhausted from my crazy schedule.” I’m Sorry to any teenager reading this but you have way more time on your hands than you thought. The truth is, not many people are self-disciplined when it comes to rest, especially teenagers.

Here are a few examples of activities that I see people perform for ‘rest’: Watching TV, playing videogames, taking (long) naps, and of course working. All of these examples require cognitive work that drains energy rather than regenerating. Watching television for long hours spoon feeds a person’s brain which switches their brain into consumption mode. Consumption mode hinders a person’s ability to make decisions and solve problems which creates a vicious, unproductive cycle as their brain hungers for more entertainment. Naps longer than 26 minutes make you more groggy than before because the brain prepares for a REM cycle. Anything below is perfect for quick regeneration. Video games are decently self-explanatory because they can increase heart beats per minute and can even cause the releases of adrenaline.

What I’m trying to say is people suck at resting which often makes them feel like they’re working harder than they really are because… well… they are. Other methods of rest such as meditation, short naps, limitation of cell phone use, and even just sitting there and enjoying nature, has been proven to drastically increase both performance and creative thinking. Working these activities into your schedule would boost productivity. This is exactly what sort of self-discipline that some of the most successful individuals in the world have. Science proves it too!

The purpose of this blog is to inform some people that are searching for a way to up their game in the workforce. I hope this helps you as much as it helps me on a day to day basis. I wouldn’t recommend something that I don’t actively strive to implement in my own life.