Motivation over Discipline - The Voluntary Hardship Series S15E4

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It is popular these days to laud discipline and the ability to endure suffering. The problem with this is that it ignores people’s values and preferences. Some people can bear more hardships, but others are drawn to certain types of hardships. Some people--gasp--like running, and many lifters do not.

Matt, for example, enjoys waking up early and getting things done. He’s done this since he was young. It’s not a challenge for him. Staying up late, however, to complete tasks is difficult. The path to productivity for Matt is to acknowledge this and exploit it and continue to wake up and get after it.

This doesn’t mean that discipline doesn’t matter or won’t be necessary, but we need to examine our feelings for habits we’ve failed to create or end. If we begin to pursue a hobby and can’t seem to make time for it, despite having the time, maybe this doesn’t align with our values or preferences. We either need to find the good, the enjoyment, the creativity--that thing that draws us in--or we need to potentially look for alternatives.

Similarly, external motivation is a poor way to change behavior. While incentives matter, think about trying to change someone’s opinion or getting someone else to lift or eat healthy or join you in something you enjoy. The other person has to come to the activity on their own terms, or they won’t do it or will have resentment toward you.

So, know your values & preferences. Look for the good in the things that take up your time. If you can’t seem to find it, it might be time to try to change your activities.

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