Succeeding in any goal comes down to two things. 1 – Having the right motivation to act, and 2 – Having the self-discipline to be persistent. The more important of the two, something that most people underestimate, is self-discipline.
Don’t get me wrong, the motive to do something is what gets you started in the first place and keeps you staying positive despite adversity. However, self-discipline is the bulk of the journey. It’s what fuels the day-in and day-out hustle that is required even when we aren’t feeling motivated.
Motivation can be practiced consistently, however turning motivation into action requires willpower, which is not always there. In fact, I can speak for a lot of people when I say that getting motivated can sometimes create a false sense of accomplishment, leading to a lack of action. I’m talking about the sort of people who get excited about their goals and tell everyone, then fail to act when the time comes.
The beauty of self-discipline is that when practiced persistently, it becomes second nature and has the power to maintain our productivity, despite a lack of willpower. In this post, I’m going to share with you one thing that has massively increased my self-discipline – in turn massively increasing my results.
This relatively simple idea arose firstly from the recent challenges I’ve been setting myself as part of the 30-Day Commitment Challenge. I realised that by doing something uncomfortable consistently, I was building a tolerance to the challenge, meaning I started to push myself further and get more done because of it.
Someone who massively influenced this new habit is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tai Lopez published a video review of Arnold’s autobiography detailing the biggest takeaway points form the book. The one thing that really stood out to me was the regimented environment in which he was raised.
His father would make him endure discomfort in order to receive even the most basic of rewards. For example, Arnold had to earn his breakfast by doing sit-ups before he ate. This kind of discipline instilled in Arnold a truly extraordinary work ethic.
From a young age, he knew the value of hard work, and he knew exactly what he had to do to get what he wanted in life. He had to work for even the most basic of comforts as a child, and because of it he was a fighter for the rest of his life. And guess what became of it? He got everything he ever wanted.
So, what is this habit? I’m going to call it the pain and gain habit, because effectively it is the action of enduring something uncomfortable before experiencing a comfort afterwards. I’m done with being lazy then feeling uncomfortable afterwards out of stress due to lack of progress. That’s comfort then discomfort. The way to grow is discomfort first, comfort second.
The way of making this into a habit is to implement it into your every day life. Do as Arnold did– earn your everyday comforts like doing sit-ups before breakfast.
Here are a few ways I use the pain and gain habit daily:
- I take a cold shower as soon as I get out of bed, and when I get out I feel warm and energized. (most people don’t want to get out of the shower because they fear the cold. I’m turning this on its head and being rewarded by getting out of the shower to go do more important shit).
- I work out for 45 minutes before using the steam room/sauna then eating a large breakfast. Every morning I push my body to its limits, knowing I’m going to be not only rewarded with a steam room session and a tasty breakfast after but I’m going to build a fit and healthy body in the long run.
- I write down my work goals for the day and the rewards I’ll get in the evening because of it. I know the feeling I’ll get after completing some important work and making a day’s progress, and that drives me to achieve more every day. I’d rather be able to relax and enjoy my evening seeing friends knowing that I’ve taken control of my day and got all my shit done!
I believe that the majority of people nowadays don’t appreciate the value of hard work. We live in a world where we don’t have to put in hard labour to merely survive; most comforts are taken for granted. And when we’re too happy being comfortable, we get complacent. We want more, but we’re not prepared to do more to get it, so we settle for less.
From studying many highly successful people I believe that in certain situations, tough upbringings make for huge success later in life. This related to the pain and gain habit. People who work hard from the get-go to survive are often over-achievers later on in life because that hunger stays with them for life.
I’m not going to lie, I had an easy upbringing. Luckily, I’ve accepted that it has had a negative effect on my work ethic, and I’ve done something about it. That’s the key here, you can very easily change your work ethic.
It starts with getting out of your comfort zone by utilizing the pain and gain habit wherever possible in everyday life. If you can do it at least once a day, you are on the right track. Stop settling for less and start earning what you want. Trust me, the feeling of earning something is much, much better than the feeling of getting it instantly.
We take cheap things for granted, but we value things that cost more. Put more value in by earning your keep, and you’ll start to get a ton more value coming right back at you. The more you do it, the more motivated you will be to work even harder and get even better results. It all starts with one step, so start small. I’d recommend taking a cold shower. What’s the worst that can happen?