When we see someone who seems to have it all together, who exhibits good habits and good self-control, we tend to attribute it to good moral character and self-discipline. Indeed, the concept that a lack of discipline is the root of most folks’ problems is deeply embedded in our culture.
While there is certainly more than a gem of truth in that belief, the reality is that most folks with good habits, with apparently good self-discipline, are not so much good at resisting temptation as they are great about staying far away from situations that require resisting temptation. In other words, they deliberately structure their lives so that they do not have to exercise self-discipline.
That is a seemingly small but very, very crucial distinction: The key is not so much exercising self-discipline as it is avoiding situations where your good moral character and self-discipline are tested. Don’t resist temptation, avoid it. Create an environment, choose friends, routines and a life style that keeps you far away from temptation. Even better, find those that reinforce the best in you and give you inspirational examples to follow.
“The people with the best self-control are typically the ones who need to use it least.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits, “An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones”
“The truth is all of us are 100% self-disciplined… to our existing habits and routines.” – Dan Sullivan
“So easy when I want to, so hard when I don’t.” – Proverb
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier