Start Making Your Bed | The Psychology of Self Discipline
The psychology of self-discipline starts from self-respect.
A person who lacks self-respect cannot have self-discipline.
A self-respected person tries to protect his respect by having discipline in his life.
But, this doesn’t mean a person having self-discipline will have self-respect.
I know all this doesn’t sound very clear for now, but everything will make sense once you finish the article.
What is self-respect?
Self-respect is the confidence in oneself that one has the birthright to be happy in life.
Self-respect comes from intrinsic happiness.
The keyword here is ‘intrinsic’ because there is a difference between extrinsic and intrinsic happiness.
Extrinsic happiness refers to the happiness we receive from external sources like achievements, meeting goals, finding that your crush loves you too, having a good job, winning the lottery, achieving your dreams, etc.
Intrinsic happiness comes from living in the moment.
When you are in the moment, you are not worried about the future or sad about the past.
You don’t do something because you have to achieve something else.
You only do it because it makes you happy at the moment.
Intrinsic happiness comes when you set your mind free in the moment.
What do you mean by setting our minds free in the moment?
We will discuss this in the later article.
First, let’s understand what making our bed in the morning does.
Making my bed in the morning
There is a video on youtube where a Navy Officer talks about the importance of making our bed in the morning.
He said, if we want to change our world, we need to start making our bed in the morning.
If we do that, it will give us a sense of achievement, and this will lead us to complete our next task, then next, and then next.
Soon, we complete all the tasks or most of the tasks of the day.
So, I added this morning routine to my list because I was desperate for self-growth.
Though it helped for a few days and made me feel good from inside, I eventually failed.
So, I kept thinking, why did I fail to complete a simple task like making my bed.
Is it that I am not disciplined enough to make a bed, or is it something else, something bigger?
Of course, making our bed in the morning can help you change the world.
This is where our day starts, and once we finish our first task with complete focus and attention, the rest of the day gets a bit easier.
We start to become organized in life.
But, the problem arises when we try to fill the gap of self-discipline with external activities like making the bed, waking up early, having a strict timetable, 4 am yoga, 5 am jogging, 8 am meeting, and 1 pm lunch.
Wait? What are you saying? The sole purpose of self-discipline is following the daily routine. If we don’t follow the routine, it means there is no self-discipline.
Let me ask you this, can you follow your routine everyday? How do you feel when you complete your daily task? How do you feel when you fail?
Of course, you feel good (extrinsic happiness) when you complete your task, and perhaps you feel bad when you fail to continue on your steps.
The missing element in following a routine on our own is self-respect.
When you have self-respect, you follow the routine without forcing yourself.
You wake up at 4 am because you respect yourself, and you know you can do whatever you want.
You are on that diet because you are already happy from the inside, and there is no need for external pleasures like junk food or cold drinks.
Intrinsic happiness is stronger than the temporary pleasure of life.
I am not quite sure what you mean by intrinsic happiness and why it is related to self-discipline.
Let me give you a few examples.
Intrinsic Happiness and Self-Discipline.
My friend Roy wants to become a data analyst.
So, he has a lot of set tasks to do every day to achieve his goal.
The problem is he also wants to play video games with his friends. But, playing video games even for an hour seems a waste of time for him.
He is still living with his parent, and he soon wants to be independent financially.
So, last weekend he committed himself that he is going to quit games for a week.
Of course, the next day, he played games with his friends.
He felt bad for wasting the day once again and cursed himself for being so weak.
He knows he is not addicted to gaming; it is just a bad habit.
That night he again committed he will not play games for a month. He will dedicate himself to work for a month.
The commitment was successful for only two or three days.
He joined his gaming friends once again, played even more than before.
An awful feeling surfaced in him after wasting the whole day again.
He wished that life would have been easy for him, only he had a little bit of willpower.
So, one more commitment was on the way.
He decided he will never play video games again in his life until he achieves his goals.
We all know what happens next.
He still plays video games with his friends.
From this example, most of us will conclude that he is not disciplined enough, he is addicted to video games, doesn’t have the willpower, or maybe doesn’t like his work much.
If this is your thinking, hold that thought.
My other friend Joy has the coolest parents in the world.
They were like his best friends, and they never stop him or curse him for any mistakes.
Though they explain the consequences of a path Joy wants to choose, the decision of selecting the path leaves entirely to him.
So, one day Joy saw his friend smoking a cigarette.
Joy never smoked in his life, but he wants to smoke that day for some unknown reason.
He told his father the same that he wanted to smoke a cigarette.
His father didn’t scold him nor denied him to smoke; instead took out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered it to Joy.
Joy knows smoking is not good for his health; neither one smoke will affect his life.
He looked at the cigarette for some time as if he is looking at a diamond ring.
He took the cigarette to his room and kept it beside the window.
He never smoked till now because he just lost his interest in something that is not important.
Why did Roy, who wanted to stop gaming failed and Joy, who never developed a bad habit in the first place?
This is because of intrinsic happiness.
What is intrinsic happiness?
Intrinsic happiness comes from within.
It is not related to any object, situation, expectation, achievements, or results.
People who experience intrinsic motivation are always satisfied with life, even though they have nothing in the present.
They don’t set time in the future that once they do that, then they will be happy.
They don’t duel in the past, thinking about what they have lost or achieved.
They don’t restrict the mind like waking up at 4 am, because it will make them successful.
These are the people who go with the flow.
They don’t do a task because they have to; they do it because they want to.
Intrinsic happiness always prevails in the present moment.
It is always connected with reality.
Intrinsic happiness is not connected with time, future, or past.
It is always here, at this moment.
I am not getting what you are trying to say. What do you mean by intrinsic happiness prevails in the present moment?
Where are you right now?
Are you in the future where you are going to be a successful person?
Or Are you in the past where you had dinner last night?
You are here, and you will always be here.
Your pain, your happiness, your thoughts, your action, everything is happening at this moment.
The future is just a projection of our minds.
Past is just the experience.
But, this is the reality where you are, and wherever you go, the reality will follow.
Reality is something that cannot be understood through our minds because the mind is always connected with the future and past.
Once you are in the present, even for a second, you are your true self.
Once you are in the present, there is no worry, no stress, no fear, or any kind of negative emotion.
There is only peace and joy.
This is intrinsic happiness.
How to have intrinsic happiness
You cannot have intrinsic happiness.
It is already there within you.
It is something we experience, but the cloudiness of our minds makes it impossible to understand what intrinsic happiness is.
There are two ways to experience intrinsic happiness.
Letting the mind free
Whenever we try to control a child, either the child loses his inner light or becomes a rebel.
Our mind is like a child.
The more you try to control it, the unhappier you will become in life.
We put unnecessary barriers and restrictions to achieve our goals.
We don’t meet friends, eat junk foods, play video games, drink, go to movies, quit social media, quit our phones, and only focus our attention on work.
Wait, wait, wait… Are you saying we need to eat junk foods or play video games to achieve our goals?
If this is still your thinking, then you haven’t understood the article yet.
If you need to play video games or need to drink to achieve your goals, that means this is another restriction of your mind.
Whenever there is ‘need to’, ‘have to’, ‘must have’, etc., are in the context, you should know there is a trap ahead.
Don’t put conditions to achieve your goals.
Swim with the flow.
If you put a barrier that you can never play video games, the mind will never have a choice to choose.
This is the cause of your suffering, and this leads to an unhappy life.
Give your mind a choice, and don’t ever regret what it chooses.
Once you give your mind a choice, the process of self-respect will begin.
This is your start to self-discipline.
Why did Roy play video games?
It is not because he is addicted or had a bad habit of playing.
It is because the restricted mind was craving for some happiness, and the more barrier he put, the craving becomes even stronger with time.
So, to fulfill the quota of unhappiness, he keeps coming back.
Though, a person who has tremendous willpower achieves success in his life by restricting his mind, can never become happy after achieving it.
There are thousands of examples in our society.
Living in the moment.
I have discussed this topic more deeply in my other articles.
You can visit the following articles if you want to understand more about living in the moment.
We all have a ‘to do’ list with us.
Today, we will do this, then that, and once this is done, then that.
We are never satisfied if we fail to complete our ‘to-do’ list.
We all have dreams and goals in our life.
We all have projected a better self of us in the future.
There is hope; there is motivation to achieve that future self.
But, most of the time, the future is just a replication of the past.
With time, our hopes start to die, and we become stressed, worried, and unhappy.
Some who are optimistic keep pushing themselves every day even after failing for a long time as if they must have to reach there, the future they dreamt of for such a long time.
‘Keep pushing, one day you will have it’- this is what society teaches us.
I am no saying goals, dreams, hopes, ‘to-do’ lists are wrong.
Of course, they are important for growth, but what is wrong is our attachment to them.
Who knows what we are going to be in the future, who knows what you are going to eat in the evening, who even knows what we are going to do in the next moment.
Goals and ‘to-do lists’ give us direction.
It is only the reality, the present, which will decide the future self.
It is only this moment, which will decide what you are going to eat in the evening.
It is only this moment, which will decide the next moment.
We become so attached to our goals and lists that we forget to live in the present.
We only do something if that something’s result is beneficial for us.
No matter how boring or loathing it is in the present, we will do it if it is better for our future.
This is suffering.
Once you start living in the moment, you will find that you don’t need to worry about the future, or the evening, because this moment is already perfect for you.
There is nothing you need to change.
There is only joy, and you have all the power to do anything at this moment.
Once you detach yourself from the outcome of your action, you reach your goals further than your expectation.
Once you have all the power to do anything at the moment, your self-discipline will follow on its own.
The psychology of self-discipline.
I am not going to discuss how to live in the moment or how to practice it.
I have already discussed it in the previous articles.
This article is about self-discipline and let’s continue with that.
Whenever we hear self-discipline, we form an image of strict life, a restricted life.
The psychology of self-discipline is the opposite.
The more you try to restrict your life, the more undisciplined you will become.
The more you free your mind, the better your self-discipline will be.
So, what if you don’t feel like working and feel like playing games?
Go and play games, and play it with your full attention.
Never regret the choice.
Because regret, worry, self-loathing, hate, guilt, etc., are the emotions for a person’s downfall.
Show compassion to yourself, the way you show compassion to others.
You deserve to be treated nicely by yourself because you are a living being.
It is your birthright.
Once you do this, you will find intrinsic happiness.
This intrinsic happiness will grow your self-respect, and this again will help your self-discipline.
Once you let your mind free, you will always find the better option for your growth.
Because the primary objective of your mind is your survival.
Many will not agree with the article because this is against the rules of the books or the society.
But, this is how most of us live.
If this is the path to success, why do most of us fail to achieve our goals?
Why do most of us are unhappy after achieving our goals?
Start practicing mindfulness because once you experience the reality, you will understand the article too.
You will not make your bed just because you want to be disciplined in your life, you will make your bed because it feels the right thing to do without any expectation.
You will complete your daily tasks on your own, not because you want to achieve your goals, you will do it because it makes you happy at the moment.
Once you start living moment by moment, you will have self-discipline on your own.
Because self-discipline is not about controlling the future, it is about living in the moment.