My wife and I recently went on vacation in a very small all-inclusive hotel in Mexico. We both had an excellent time and relaxed a whole bunch. We really enjoyed spending time together but there were times that I just needed to be alone to think, reflect and do certain things for myself. I was able to allot a few hours during the vacation to smoke a cigar, read and do some writing without anyone around. My wife was also able to do her own thing and we were able to connect again afterwards.
I recently wrote a blog about the importance of taking time to think. Creating a personal space just for yourself goes along with deep thinking. Finding your own space away from the chaos of life and responsibilities can allow for creativity, centeredness and overall well being. You may want to call this your sacred space, place of tranquility, man cave or creative space. I know a gentleman who has a room in his home just for his writing and he spends a set time each day being creative. For me at home it is my balcony, where unfortunately the pigeons seemed to have claimed it as their place of tranquility as well.
There are times that you’re going to be away on holiday with the wife and children or a work conference and you’re not going to have your usual space. Even though you may tremendously enjoy spending time with the family or work, it could be beneficial for you to take a walk-about for an hour or two. Being all about the family or business may take its toll and cause frustration or a sense of feeling enclosed after a while. Much like a cat-nap, you’ll feel more rejuvenated when you have the ability to collect yourself. If you’re with your partner and children you may want to take turns to do this.
Some people may not agree with this and wonder why someone would want to spend any time away from the people they love? I get it and encourage them to spend as much quality time with family as needed. At the same time just remember that you are your own person; someone whom you also need to maintain a relationship with or connect to once in a while. You have your own dreams, personal plans, desires and talents that need to be developed. You are not merged with anyone and if you think you are, you will lose yourself.
Some of you may be part of sports teams, attend meetups or other social groups. I’m also involved in different activities outside of work and family including a men’s group. It is incredibly beneficial to be connected with others outside of your immediate circle. The main idea I want to stress here is the value of taking time to be with yourself. Your social networks should not take the place of this space.
For some this may be an uncomfortable place because the more time you have with yourself the more time you may think of regrets or harp on struggles. This can be very challenging but it is important for you not to avoid what may come, to pay attention to it and possibly handle it appropriately. It is sometimes easier to deal with the struggles of daily life than to listen to your own voice. Again, dealing with your negative thoughts by challenging them or seeking help from a therapist is an important step towards self-acceptance and freedom.
So, I encourage you to find your space of tranquility or solace and advocate for it when needed. When you spend adequate time in this space you can return to the world more relaxed, focused and more ready for challenges ahead. This may be easier said than done but do your best to try it out.
Self-Discipline, as defined on collinsdictionary.com, is the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work hard or behave in a particular way without needing anyone else to tell you what to do. In other words it about mastering yourself to get desired results.
There are so many areas in my life that I would like to improve, as I believe many of us do. In order to do so I would need to put in place specific disciplines. These disciplines would help make me a better person overall. For me these include eating right, exercising regularly and learning another language. To me these are great ideas but when I think about developing disciplines I get mentally overwhelmed and my actions (if I act at all) fall short.
When I do decide to take certain actions, I often find myself giving in to my feelings and procrastinating tendencies. I was looking into some shortcuts and quick ways of maintaining motivation and develop effective habits and I came across a book by Jocko Willink called “Discipline Equals Freedom.” In the book he makes it clear that there are no quick fixes and no short cuts. He goes on to write that there is only choice to do what is desired no matter what and to take action.
For most of us, our mind has been trained to avoid pain and to welcome pleasure. It is often an uphill battle dealing with feeling tired, overwhelmed and stressed. For some it involves physical pain or psychological conditions or even addictions. We convince ourselves to put certain actions off until these emotions subside and most times they never do.
So how then do we take on disciplines when being confronted with these mental or physical obstacles? How do we make the tough decisions to act? The answer that I came up with is asking different questions, like why is it important and what are the consequences of not taking appropriate actions in creating disciplines? By having a clear purpose and direction we maintain a certain level of motivation, maybe not enough to maintain the discipline, but it is a good start. There still needs to be the decision to just do it and act.
I always thought that it took about 60 to 90 days of being disciplined to create a habit. According to Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL, this is not the case. He states that it is always going to be hard and the choice to act needs to continue. The brain will not just take over the body and say, “Okay, you don’t need to worry about this being hard anymore, I’ll take it from here.” No, the struggle continues.
There may be a point when we tell ourselves that we need a break, or deserve to cut it down just a bit, or that my defined disciplines were not realistic. We also may think that we need the right people, equipment, right time to start taking action. It takes a real warrior spirit to call “bullshit” on ourselves. But, we also must not beat ourselves up because that only contributes to decreased motivation, increased procrastination and ultimately self-pity.
There does come a point when the benefits and rewards of the disciplined actions begin to show up physically and mentally. This helps with the motivation to stay on track but the temptation to falter does not go away altogether. This is why each day is a decision to act towards our disciplines, knowing that it is for our higher good and overall purpose. Battle on to victory my friends!