This article for goldfish:
- Self-discipline is choosing to forgo short-term pleasures in order to improve the chance of better long-term outcomes. Self-discipline is self-love. The love for your future self.
- Find the balance between living in the moment and taking care of your future. Both are important.
- Be conscious about your decisions, no matter how small of an impact they may seem to have at the time. Five to ten years down the line these small decisions make the difference between day and night.
This article for humans:
Discipline has gotten a bad name.
Most people look at the immediate outcome of discipline, the punishment that fell on their part. When you look at the motivation behind discipline, however, you’ll often find that discipline is coming from a place of love.
Good parents discipline a kid to nudge it towards the path that is likely to lead them to a bright future. Whether that’s the right path for the kid (or the right future for that matter) is a question we all have to ask ourselves when growing up.
When it comes to self-discipline, however, you are the one deciding what is best for your future self. It’s choosing to forgo short-term pleasures in order to improve the chance of better long-term outcomes.
Self-discipline is saying no to that extra large pizza loaded with four different cheeses, because you know you’ll feel like shit the next day. You love yourself too much to have yourself struggle with lower energy levels after. You love yourself too much to make your future self feel self-conscious about your body and skin.
Self-discipline is saying no to partying until late at night when you have an important test the next morning, because you understand you’ll regret it later. You love yourself too much to have yourself failing that test, slowing down your education and potentially harming future opportunities that would make your life more comfortable in the long run.
Sacrificing short-term pleasures for your future self isn’t easy. Our limbic brain is not trained to withhold ourselves from short-term gains. Your instinct will tell you to grab every opportunity you get now, because there might be no tomorrow.
This is the reason why many people make poor decisions they regret later. This is why it’s so hard to save money. This is why many people wish for success, but are not willing to work for it.
We all choose short-term pleasure that hurts us in the long run sometimes. Life is there to be lived, pushing all that is good over the horizon leads to regret as well.
You’ll have to find the right balance.
How to find the right balance between living in the moment and taking care of your future.
If you want to take care of your future self, you’ll need to know what your ideal future looks like. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you supposed to make the right decisions that get you there?
Set strong personal goals, and remind yourself of them daily.
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When encountering a short-term pleasure ask yourself: will this help or hurt my long-term goals? If it has the potential of hurting one of your long-term goals, weigh the benefit of the short-term pleasure against the cost of hurting your long-term goal.
The limbic brain is fast in making its decisions. Give your frontal lobe the time to catch up. When you’re on the verge to favour a short-term pleasure at the cost of your long-term goals, pause for a good 5 minutes.
If you then think it’s still a decision you want to make, go for it.
The impact of small decisions.
Don’t underestimate the impact of small decisions.
The difference between someone constantly choosing to favour small short-term pleasures over their long-term goals, and someone who’s doing the opposite, won’t be noticeable the next day. A difference might not even be noticeable in a year’s time, but make no mistake, those small decisions do add up.
Five to ten years later it will make the difference between day and night.
The funny thing is, at that moment your future self won’t even feel like you missed out on these short-term pleasures. Those pleasures will seem trivial compared to the true happiness that the satisfaction of achieving long-term goals will have given you.
Self-discipline is self-love. The love for your future self.
Be conscious about your decisions, no matter how small of an impact they may seem to have at the time.
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