June 4, 2018

Self Discipline

Why do so many people preach and practice self discipline?

Have you ever thought about it?

Why wake up early when sleeping is so much more enjoyable? Why not skip the gym and enjoy relaxing? Why not have a few glasses of wine every night? Life's short and it would be shame to miss out on these experiences. Carpe Diem, right?!

For a long time, I didn't have a good answer to those types of arguments. When I was younger, I really never understood why someone would choose to be so disciplined? Why not indulge, eat, drink and be merry?

My attitude towards self discipline has changed over the last 5 years and here's my attempt to articulate why.

I think one aspect that sets Humans apart from everything else is our ability to think about ourselves. In fact, we're even capable of thinking about thinking about ourselves!

Humans evolved from animals, and even now, we still are very much animals. We're discovering that the old animal parts of our brain still uses a lot of the same mechanisms that our distant animal ancestors used.

I think if we're not careful, humans can still very much act like animals.

For example, when we eat sugar, our animal instincts kick in to tell us to eat more. When we get cut off in traffic, we immediately kick into fight mode. When we drink alcohol, our dopamine receptors take over.

So then, how can we act less like our animal anscestors, and be more human?

I think the answer to this question is to consciously think about your thoughts and then follow thru with action. I believe this ability is our super power and is what separates Humans from everything else.

Self discipline is the practice of using this superpower.

Your lizard brain tells you to sleep in. But the human in you knows that waking up and working out will make you healthier and happier. So you choose to wake up early.

Your lizard brain wants to drink a margarita. But the human in you knows alcohol does all sorts of bad stuff to your body and mind. So you choose to skip it.

Your lizard brain wants to devour a dozen krispy cremes. Your human brain knows that's going to make you feel sick. So you choose to eat something healthy.

I also think it's also important to acknowledge that there's no black and white recipe for your human brain to follow. For example, skipping the margarita might not always be the right call. It's so beautifully complex; after all, humans are, infact, still animals.

The last few years, I've been experimenting with becoming more self disciplined in a variety of ways. And I'm experiencing so many benefits, they are hard to count.

I think the reason why I'm seeing so many benefits is because self discipline is actually the practice of being Human.

Tags: mindset personal development