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cultivate self discipline
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Cultivating Self-Discipline in An Era of Cheek Smacking

Over the past weeks there seem to be reoccurring incidence of cheek smacking in different fashions. One walked to get hers, the other stood to get his. The former is nothing of surprise unless we’re fond of underestimating what people can do, but the latter, that’s the real surprise. We recall Will Smith and Chris Rock.

So, I wonder if we’ve ever imagined what our reaction would be like if we find ourselves in such a situation of being publicly embarrassed or smacked on the cheek?

One school of thought believed the best response is to turn the other cheek, others are of the opinion that every action should equal our reaction. Regardless of the one, we believe the end should always justify the means.

The concept of self-discipline can’t be overemphasized. It’s a trait that isn’t inherent but needs to be cultivated. Our environment has so pushed us to conform to its standards of always dealing with others with the hand that we’ve been dealt, but resisting the push is easier said than done.

“Willpower is what separates us from the animals. It’s the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation – do what’s right and good for us in the long run, not what we want to do right now. It’s central, in fact, to civilization.”

Dr Roy Baumeister, PhD

Our ability to discipline ourselves is a function of our will. Self-discipline helps us look at self-denial as a weapon of strength to subordinate our impulses. It builds a wall between our emotional mind and physical action by making us more resilient when we’re pushed to the wall.

There are a few steps that could help us build self-discipline, they include:

1. Identify your struggles – Identifying the areas where we struggle can play a huge part in cultivating self-discipline. If you don’t know the problem, the solution is nowhere near. Putting down the areas of our weakness helps you know where to strengthen.

2. Visualize your actions- Your brain doesn’t differentiate between real and imagined memories. So, when you imagine something vividly, your brain chemistry changes as if you’d experienced it.

Visualization comes with giving yourself the time to process things before you act. It gives your brain the opportunity to experience things before your physical activity.

3. Practice, fail, start over- It’s not that those with self-discipline never have days where they react immediately without questioning their thoughts, but they’ve built a system where they go back to their heads and make better decisions. Self-discipline is the act of trying, failing, and trying again.

4. Know how you’ll measure progress – If you don’t know how you’ll track progress, it will be difficult to know whether you’re succeeding. Form a consistent habit of knowing how to measure your progress by identifying how you feel after an action; bitter, depressed, sad, happy etc. These moods can form an element of measuring progress.

5. Reward yourself – Want your good habits to stick? Studies show rewarding yourself is key. Deprivation means we start justifying bad behaviours and it’s often the beginning of the end of our progress. Instead, give yourself treats throughout your self-discipline practice. These treats will help you feel energized, restored, and never deprived.

Remember, self-discipline is a practice. You are a work in progress. What’s important is showing up each day ready to try. So, what changes are you going to make today?

Obiete Emmanuel

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Emmanuel Okonkwo is a professional content/creative/copywriter; and a critic. He is a published writer internationally and locally; the founder and editor of DeCritic. He holds a bachelor degree in Philosophy & Communications; a diploma degree in Copywriting & Marketing; and others. Crazy right? He has worked for and written for some of the world best marketing agencies, influencers, blogs and magazines. He is unique, rational, fun, radical and balanced.

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