19 Keys To Being a More Disciplined Person

19 Keys To Being a More Disciplined Person:
1/ Attack the dawn

The morning hours are the most productive hours.

Because in the morning, you are free.

Hemingway would talk about how he’d get up early because early, there was, “no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”

2/ Just be about the work

Before he was a big time comedian, @hasanminhaj was asked if he thought he was going to make it big.

“I don’t like that question,” he said.

That question implies that doing comedy is a means to an end—the Netflix special, selling out arenas, etc…

3/ Bring distinction to everything

A general in Greece was appointed responsible for the city’s sewers.

Instead of being insulted, he took fully to his new job—saying that the distinction of the office isn’t brought to the man, the man brings the distinction to the office.

4/ Patience

@JoyceCarolOates is one of the most prolific writers of her generation.

And one of the most patient.

“I almost never publish immediately,” she says. Every first draft is placed in a drawer where it sits, sometimes for a year or more.

Prolificness ≠ sloppiness.

5/ Do the hard things first

The poet and pacifist William Stafford put forth a daily rule: “Do the hard things first.”

Don’t wait. Don’t tell yourself you’ll warm up to it. Don’t tell yourself you’ll get this other stuff out of the way and then…No. Do it now. Do it first.

6/ Make little progress each day

George Washington’s favorite saying was “many mickles make a muckle.”

It was an old Scottish proverb that illustrates a truth we all know: things add up. Even little ones. Even at the pace of one per day—cumulatively, this has enormous impact.

7/ Practice

The wonderful @tylercowen has come to ask greats of various fields some version of the question:

How do you practice your scales? What drills or exercises make you better at what you do?

If you want to be great, you must know the answer to that question.

8/ Focus

Concentration might not solve every problem…but there are few problems which are not solved by concentration.

You must have mental discipline to shake off distraction, to carve out concentrated periods of focus.

9/ Be hard on yourself

“Take the cold bath bravely,” W.E.B Dubois wrote to his daughter. “Make yourself do unpleasant things so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.”

Seneca said to treat the body rigorously so that it better obeys the mind.

10/ Stay in the saddle

There is an old German word sitzfleisch which means basically sitting your butt in the chair and not getting up until the task is complete.

Many a great conqueror in the days of horseback were called “Old Iron Ass” for their ability to stay in the saddle.

11/ Find your comrades

The Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus required all citizens eat together in a common mess hall. It’s harder to eat more than your healthy share when you’re surrounded by your comrades in battle.

As my dad told me once as a kid, “you become like your friends.”

12/ Speak little

@RobertGreene puts it perfectly:

“Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.”

They have the discipline and this discipline creates a powerful presence.

13/ Beware perfectionism

Churchill said another way to spell “perfectionism” is P-A-R-A-L-Y-S-I-S.

It’s good to have high standards but all virtues become vices if taken too far.

14/ Sweat the small stuff

The reckless and irresponsible Zelda Fitzgerald said (with only some self-awareness): “It is the loose-ends,” she lamented, “with which men hang themselves.”

Is anything made better by inattention? the Stoic Epictetus would ask. Of course not!

15/ Get better every day

The Japanese word is “kaizen”—continual improvement. Always finding something to work on, to make a little progress on. Never being satisfied, always looking to grow.

You are either rotting or ripening. Getting better or getting worse.

16/ Manage the load.

“Absolute activity, of whatever kind,” Goethe said, “ultimately leads to bankruptcy.”

No one is invincible. No one can carry on forever. We are all susceptible to what the American swimmer Simone Manuel has helped popularize: Overtraining Syndrome.

17/ Flexibility is strength

@ShakaSmart, upon moving from coaching at Texas to Marquette (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), was asked if he was a cold-weather or warm-weather guy.

“I’m a dress-for-the-weather guy,” he said.

Rigidity is fragility. Flexibility is unbreakable.

18/ Be strict only with yourself

It was said that the true majesty of Marcus Aurelius was that his exactingness was directed only at himself.

“Tolerant with others,” he reminded himself, “strict with yourself.”

19/ Make the choice of Hercules

Famously, at the crossroads, Hercules had to choose between vice and virtue—the easy way and the hard way, the well-trod path and the road less traveled.

We all face this choice.

Hercules chose virtue. He chose excellence. Will you?

For more, check out my latest book, Discipline is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control, available TODAY.

Get your copy at https://store.dailystoic.com/pages/discipline

Follow: @RyanHoliday



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