Certain external monitoring by an adult is a necessity for most young adults. After all, we all know that a young child will make a shipwreck of his whole future unless he has guardians to protect him against himself. Defend him from his ignorance and natural waywardness. At some point, however, the authority figure can no longer remain glued to the young man or woman. He must leave the scene and let the youngster bear the consequences of his own decisions.
I find it so delightfully curious that people reach the need to explore what are the self-discipline benefits only after realizing how undisciplined they are.
Here, I am not talking about being disciplined in terms of obeying others. I am talking about being a disciplined person in terms of following your own rules – and having the strength to chase your own goals.
Parents directly interfere with the child’s liberty to prevent a possible disaster. And while this helps, it doesn’t necessarily lead to the person developing lasting self-discipline skills.
It’s far easier to cope with the demands of the complicated world when you have someone more rational by your side.
But when you’re all alone – no parents to warn you that spending most of your 30s watching Netflix while absorbing a truckload of junk food won’t lead to a bright future – you are left adrift in a sea of temptations that are solely designed to ruin your future condition.
In my attempt to make more people aware of the need to add more good habits into their lives – while actively butchering the bad ones. It’s about time to tackle the following topic: What are the self-discipline benefits?
In this publication, we’ll first cover the broad strokes of the advantages of self-discipline. After that, we’ll go into more detail by covering 7 specific self-discipline benefits…
Why Is It Important To Be Disciplined?
Experienced self-help junkies know that, by nature, we are undisciplined. Since the main goal of the brain is to save energy, it optimizes our existence toward easy and fun things.1
What does this mean practically?
Well, in short, it means that in order to prevent your life from becoming a total mess. Your ability to make rational decisions requires going against your nature.
By default, human nature prompts us to lay naked on the sofa while continuing to cover our bodies with sawdust from chips while watching the newest Marvel spinoff. But as you can tell, this self-defeating behavior pattern is marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs.
Sure, it’s cool to attach your brain to the never-ending stream of temptations and pretend that obligations don’t exist. But when the bill for the rent hits your inbox, you start to freak out.
Doing one’s work and fulfilling your obligations in a timely fashion is an integral part of proper adult functioning. Thus, without some sort of self-discipline, you’ll eventually “get invited” to serve time in prison. Or, roam around banks trying to get a brand new loan to cover the loans you already cannot afford to repay.
Why Is Self-Discipline Beneficial?
The core benefit of self-discipline is your ability to change your life trajectory from awful, to awfully good.
Imagine that you are raised in an average-looking home with parents earning an averagely-good salary. Your playground – the neighborhood – is full of people in the same financial condition. And on these grounds, there are a lot of people who are lazy procrastinators who don’t give a shit about anything and are only interested in contributing to the downfall of society. Since these people’s moms and dads are busy as hell trying to manage their 3 jobs. These parents can’t even tell that their kids are turning into degenerates.
So, imagine that you are living in such an environment. Given that we are designed to copy the behavior of the people around us like sponges. You’ll surely turn into another version of these degenerate kids, whose passion revolves around orchestrating a symphony of societal ruin.
Here is where self-discipline enters the gray suburban scene and flashes a sign of hope.
Possessing the almighty force of self-discipline can enable you to consciously choose to do good – to do better. Help you activate the required inner strength to overcome addictive behavior, start practicing delayed gratification, adopt the adaptive thinking mindset, and a lot of other goodies.
Eventually, all of the above will lead to distancing yourself from destructive people and surrounding yourself with more positive role models.
Why Is Self-Discipline The Key To Success?
Wise parents know that the only good way to upbuild a child’s mind is to teach him about the benefits of self-discipline.
Inevitably, there will be a moment when external control by parents, teachers, or good role models is unavailable. Thus, in these situations, individuals must direct their own actions based on sound moral principles while being focused on the long-term benefits instead of the short-term temptations.
No one is protected from the path of vice. Eventually, there will be a moment in your life when the easier alternative will look more appealing.
You’ve already seen them. Flashy ads that promote success by doing this “3-step” program, buying this “one item”, or whatever else trendy thing the market invents.
And while the word success will vary depending on your stage in life, self-discipline surely takes part in your desire to make your future more pleasant.
- When you get up early and exercise, this is self-discipline.
- When you say no to a chocolate-stuffed dessert and decide to eat an apple instead, this is self-discipline.
- When you decide to work on a particular project because you believe the outcome will be worth it, this is also self-discipline.
And these are just some of the self-discipline examples – there are plenty of others.
Self-discipline is persistently saying yes to a handful of good things while saying no to a pile of other things that can negatively influence your future.
After we now know why exactly self-discipline is important. Let me list a couple of rarely mentioned self-discipline benefits that can push your life in the right direction.
1. You Are Able To Calculate – In Advance – The Consequences
Personally, I think that the most important benefit of self-discipline – a fundamental characteristic. It’s your ability to see, in advance, the consequences of doing – or not doing – something.
So many of us do things either because we’ve always done them like that or because everyone else is doing them.
- You absentmindedly start binge-watching a TV show that you’re not even interested in only because everyone else is talking about it.
- You automatically open the refrigerator door and scan its contents, even though you’re not hungry.
- You eagerly light up a cigarette at a social gathering, even if you don’t usually smoke, just because others around you are smoking.
When you unlock the ability to control your impulses. You start to recognize how certain behavior patterns are detrimental to your future.
You not only start to see why you are doing something. But you also recognize how doing this thing can crash your future.
2. You Shift from Being a Consumer to Becoming a Creator
The most common reason you don’t achieve much in life – never have money in the bank, never have enough time to read books, never have a stable job, etc. It’s because you sit around all day looking at what the rest of the world is doing.
Plainly, 90% of the time, you are consuming things related to the person you want to be 100% of the time.
Let me elaborate…
It’s super easy to think you are living a good life. You just need a phone and an internet connection. This allows you to “be entertained” by just consuming what others have created. It makes you think that you are living a good life, while you are just having the perception of a good life.
It kind of works like this…
You say you want to become an athlete, but instead of sweating in the gym, you just watch how other athletes are exercising. You stuff your wardrobe with sports gear, but you rarely wear the gear – you are simply thrilled by the act of purchasing items. You research online about the best workout programs, but that’s the only thing you do – you research.
This lifestyle is changing our minds in a subtle way. We start to think that a good life is one where you only consume stuff.
Unfortunately, the more you consume, the more you want to consume.
You see how people are vacationing in Bora Bora or how they are getting this new item. Then, you start to think, “Well, they seem happy, I should do what they are doing.” However, once you actually go to Bora Bora. Once you get that new item. Eventually, the excitement wears off, and you are back online searching for a new destination.
All of this becomes a negative feedback loop where we think only about getting the next new thing – while never enjoying the current things we have.
Self-discipline allows you to switch from consumer to creator. In this sense, this allows you to understand that consuming is not the key. Creating is.
Plainly, you create a lifestyle, and most importantly an identity, based on your true desires.
3. You Shift from Chasing Approval to Fostering Authenticity
Spending your days trying to get others to like you no longer feels appealing. On the contrary, it feels like a soul-destroying way to live.
When self-discipline enters your bloodstream. Your focus shifts towards making the best use of your time – all based on your desired identity and future goals.
For instance, you will no longer agree to attend yet another dinner party when you have plans to work out in the morning. You will prioritize your own interests and stop feeling bad about what others will think, or say about you.
If you’re one of the many people who go through life chasing the applause of acceptance. With self-discipline, you will become more focused on your own priorities and recognize that you don’t have to please everyone all the time to find joy in living.
Sure, getting along with others is an important component of having a great life. But not when the cost is losing the essence of your own desires and ambitions.
4. You Realize That Change Is Possible – You If Want It
In the book Learning How to Learn, the author explains how, thanks to neuroplasticity, we have the capacity to change. To learn new things – things you never thought you can master. From there, mold our lives to our liking.
However, that’s not what the masses believe.
Most of my peers believe that since you currently don’t know how to do something. It’s almost impossible to learn it.
“Ah, we are too old to change careers or to get fit. This is for the younger generations,” they say. And we are not even that old – I’m currently in my mid-30s.
With self-discipline, you realize that you can accomplish (almost) anything.
I was lazy, unfit, and financially challenged in my 20s. However, this didn’t stop me from becoming productive, fit, and adequately compensated in my 30s.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to inherit a suitcase full of gold from a millionaire relative. But that’s probably a good thing – since wealth acquired with no effort can distort a person’s perception of the value of hard work.
Pushing myself to learn new things daily allowed me to mold my lifestyle. To shift my thinking into the optimistic, “Small daily actions lead to incremental progress and growth.”
So, regardless of what you think about the 1% better every day theory. Whether you believe it’s a melodramatic sales ploy or a reality-bending mindset that can shift the trajectory of your life. One thing is certain, with self-discipline you can alter your current life in a good way – but only if you want to.
5. You Start To Value The Future Gain Over The Short Term Pleasure
Something that took me a lot of time to understand about myself – which I think applies to all humanity. It’s that we should do the opposite of what comes naturally.
What comes naturally is to check your phone every time it manufactures a sound. Or, to eat food when it’s right in front of your eyes – regardless of whether you are hungry or not.
So, instead of doing the natural thing. The thing that feels like it needs to be done – gosh, who is not tempted to get a sinful treat from the free office buffet that’s always full of high-calorie food, right? We should do the unnatural. We don’t check our phones, and we pass on available food – patiently waiting until we are actually hungry.
Don’t think that these shock tactics will be fun to do. Expect it to be seriously uncomfortable to walk away from food that’s free and delicious. However, the more you experiment with this way of handling temptations, the less tempting they’ll feel.
Eventually, after much passing on the potential gains from the short-term sensations. You will start to see the benefits of not doing the natural. You will be more focused while doing work. Plus, fitter just because you said no to another dessert.
6. You Do What You Need To Do – Not What You Feel Like Doing
Self-discipline is infinitely more important than motivation – see why by reading my motivation vs. discipline post.
We daily feel motivated to change our bad habits with good ones. To leave our boring jobs, so we can start our own businesses. To throw away the junk preoccupying our homes and embrace a minimalistic lifestyle. Yet, these feelings come and go.
We watch a video by some random persona online, and we feel motivated to make a groundbreaking change. But this feeling is quickly replaced by the comfort of our current lifestyle.
When we get up and do what we are supposed to do – even if we don’t feel like doing it. That’s discipline.
No matter how you feel. When you have self-discipline, you get up and do the needed tasks that will get you closer to the desired lifestyle – or help you maintain the lifestyle you already love.
If you only did what you were supposed to do when you felt motivated to do it. You will never accomplish anything meaningful. You will only consume content related to your new desired, polished persona, but never take steps to become that individual.
7. You Realize The Value of Patience Over Impulsivity
We are psychologically and evolutionarily programmed to seek instant rewards rather than choosing to wait for better, but delayed payoffs.
For example, the classic experiment that illustrates our impulsivity is to ask a person, “Would you prefer $100 today, or $120 in one week?” Well, a surprisingly high number of people will choose the $100 today – even though they can clearly see that they are losing an extra $20 if they wait a bit.2
From an evolutionary standpoint, this instant gratification bias made sense. For a large part of our history, we needed to consume food – and other resources – now. After all, we weren’t sure if this source was going to be predator-free in the future.
However, in modern times, our tendency to experience immediate pleasures instead of waiting for gains to compound is causing more harm than good. Everywhere we turn, we are just a step – or a click – away from entering a quicksand of sensations that want to prevent us from exercising critical thinking.
Self-discipline plays a pivotal role in helping individuals break the wrecking impulsive behavior. It allows us to conceptualize the value of waiting for future bigger rewards and resisting immediate pleasures.
Since there is no finish line in terms of goods to have – there is always more to consume. Self-discipline is a must-have skill to remain on course for a brighter future for us and our close ones.
Some Closing Thoughts
The immediate benefits of self-discipline become available once you understand its importance.
Put simply, self-discipline starts with self-awareness.
Once we become mindful of our impulsive tendencies. Start to recognize the harms of acting without considering the consequences. We lay the needed groundwork for change.
Self-discipline helps people acquire and maintain good habits. Plus, cut the ill-fitting behaviors from our lives.
And while the benefits of self-discipline are far more than the ones mentioned above. The biggest gain is the basic – wait for it – doing what needs to be done even if you don’t feel like doing it.
- We constantly don’t feel like exercising.
- We don’t feel like working.
- We don’t feel like passing on the delicious-looking ice-cream-covered slice of cake.
Yet, the more we resist the allure of instant pleasures – a.k.a. overcome instant gratification. The stronger we become in our journey focused on long-term gains. Thus, we keep pushing hard especially when we feel weak and want to rest.
Bottom line, if you feel tired of your daily life which involves online sprints of consumption only to forget that your future is going nowhere. Learn how to be a disciplined person and read about the types of self-discipline so you can finally take control of your impulses.
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