Note: This is part IV of Monday Motivation Insights
My dear friend and client Kerstin pointed out that all this cold-shower-4am-discipline-stuff makes me sound like I’m trying to out-macho Chuck Norris.
Well. If that were the case, the cold shower would probably shriek and jump around and count the seconds until I stopped taking it. Last time I checked, it just stood still and snickered, though.
Here’s the truth:
Having grown up into a Fixed Mindset, I used to believe that whatever I did should come to me easily; that life should by right follow an effortless flow from success to success.
I learned differently, but it took me a long time. Yet my basic programming remains the same as always: I prefer comfort over discomfort, pleasure over pain.
The thing is:
Have you ever experienced pleasure that didn’t require payment through an equal amount of pain; either in the past or in the future? (Hint: That pain also comes in the form of opportunity cost, because the time and energy spent leading up, during, and cleaning up after whatever shape and form that pleasure took is gone, and can’t be used for anything else.)
We’ll look into that in more detail later. For now, please think this through, and check if you can find any examples that prove me wrong.
So, why the cold showers at 4am?
Because now I know that I can either be disciplined and happy, or undisciplined and depressed. It is that simple, and there are no shortcuts.
I’ve set up systems that keep me sane, mostly joyful and moving in the general direction of my dreams. Cold showers are one of the keystone habits that keep those systems up and running smoothly. By the time we’re done, you’ll either look forward to adding that habit to your own routine, if you haven’t done so, already. Or you’ll think I’m insane. The two are not mutually exclusive, though.
I do my best to minimise the willpower and discipline required to keep those systems running — that’s their whole point, really. If I were a Willpower Hero of Chuck-Norris-ian proportions, I wouldn’t need systems. I’d just stare down my inner demons and go straight towards the sun. But I’m not. Hence, systems.
This week, we’ll look at
- The relationship between Happiness and Discipline
- Systems vs. Goals, Goals vs. Processes
- How systems protect us from distraction and manipulation
- Commitment to your Systems, and how to command it at will
- Setting up systems for the core areas of our lives
For today, please think of goal that you have:
Now, what is something that you could routinely do every day that would move you closer to it, and that you could commit to?
If you want to write a bestseller, could you commit to writing for at least five minutes, every day? Wanna get fit – walk for five minutes? Meditate for one minute, every day?
Keep it simple, start small, and turn up the volume as soon as you get comfortable with that level of your habit.
That’s how I moved, step by step and month after month, from jumping around to avoid the few seconds of cold water at the beginning of my hot shower, to standing serenely in my dark, frigid garden, snickering back at that shower pretending to be all cold and scary.
You’ll be able to do it much quicker, and you’ll have more joy along the way than I did. Promise.
Bonus Link – Enjoy: