It's a surprise! – self-discipline. And you can develop this critical quality with little effort.
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5 min read
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We are in the age of the "goldfish bowl" attention span. What about "Patience is a Virtue" and "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day"? Well, I think they "went out with the baby and the bath water". Our society is constantly changing at such an accelerated rate that we have forgotten or left behind the core practices we must embody in order to survive as entrepreneurs. Core Practices such as Integrity, Honesty, Humility, Patience, and many others. When it comes to self-discipline, we lag behind. Is it because it's too hard? Too difficult to wait? Too time consuming? (Those are all excuses, by the way … just call it out as it is!) Self-discipline is something we need to shape ourselves into responsible and thriving people and entrepreneurs. It's been around for hundreds of years and yet it isn't there that often. How do you get into the practice of self-control so that you can penetrate the goldfish bowl attention span and microwave minute? Results? These 3 tips will guide you on your way.
Related: 10 Powerful Ways to Master Self-Discipline
1. Delaying satisfaction
Oh boy! Yes … this one is going to be a blast! Have you heard of "The Marshmallow Experiment"? In the 1972 study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University, the professor offered children a marshmallow. Each child could have one marshmallow right away, but if the child waits, they can have two marshmallows. This was a delayed gratification experiment. The researchers tracked the children who could wait for two marshmallows i.e. H. They were able to delay gratification and found that later in life these children had better life outcomes, better SAT scores, and even improved body mass index (BMI). What does this mean in terms of self-discipline? In order to practice delayed gratification, you need to discipline yourself. Ditch the current rewards for something more enjoyable and rewarding in the future. This requires intensive self-talk and self-conviction in all areas, especially your thoughts and your way of thinking. What do you say to yourself to put off the immediate need to satisfy yourself? What do you say to further motivate you to delay your satisfaction?
2. Eliminate temptation
We are all tempted at some point. That ooey, gooey chocolate cake that gets your name after just sweating out a gallon of water during your spin class, or maybe that cocktail if you're out with your coworkers during happy hour when you decided the prize to reduce. It is this self-discipline that comes into play when you face temptations in life. In these situations, it is important to ask yourself, "Is it really worth it? Am I ready to sacrifice what is really important to me for this moment of pleasure?" (The pleasure will only last a few seconds anyway and feelings of guilt will follow immediately but that's a discussion on another day.) When You Make a Conscious Decision to Eliminate Temptation In your life you will be self-disciplined. Even small decisions can make a big difference.
3. Develop focus
This is probably the most challenging yet easiest concept for self-discipline. Unfortunately, our society has more ADD / ADHD diagnoses than ever before, which can make developing your focus seem impossible. Aside from the short attention span of 8 seconds, the focus seems allusive and difficult to achieve. How do you start developing the focus? One method is meditation. What?! Meditation? This useful, yet powerful strategy can help develop focus regardless of your current attention span. An easy way to get into meditation is through candlelight meditation. This is an effective way to develop your focus. If you are new to this field, I would encourage you to start with just 2-3 minutes of meditation and from there add a minute at a time until you have achieved the amount of meditation you want (20-30 minutes is ideal). It will be difficult at first. You are actively reprogramming and rewiring your brain. The good thing is that with the repetition, developing your focus becomes easier each time.
Related: Is Your Work Morale Better Than Average? Find out in 5 questions.
Self-discipline is not a high-level practice. We all have the ability to exercise self-discipline. It is up to you whether it is important to wait or not. When we consciously choose to improve our self-control, it takes some work, willpower, and inner motivation first. If you practice it enough, it eventually becomes part of you, part of your inner qualities. Those around you will notice your ability to practice such a unique quality that they too want to embody this ancient practice. Increasing your self-discipline is critical to becoming the successful entrepreneur you are meant to be. They are always modeling your behavior. So why not model self-discipline? It will affect you in ways you never thought possible.
Related: Why Mindfulness Is Important to Entrepreneurs