Mindful Self-Discipline | Giovanni Dienstmann

Mindful Self-Discipline Living with Purpose and Achieving Your Goals in a World of Distractions | Giovanni Dienstmann

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

🎨 Impressions

How I Discovered It

Who Should Read It?

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Ideas

Don’t confuse discipline with control

  • I couldn’t understand at first why it’s so difficult to grasp the notion of discipline.
    • It’s easy, self-imposed restrictions give enormous scale of freedom to do what I really need and what I really want.
    • But most people couldn’t see this simple dichotomy. Why?
    • Because they confused self-control with self-discipline.
    • They are not the same.
  • Everything around us designed to break self-discipline.
    • Distract us from goals and aspirations.
    • Social networks, messengers, groups and small talks.

Why mindful self-discipline?

  • Because discipline, in the conventional sense of the word, means beating yourself senseless in pursuit of your goals.
    • And that what keeps you of track, the need to. Forcing yourself to do something is counterproductive.
    • Instead of forceful approach, take another path, mindful, meditation like attitude to discipline.
    • Harmonize all parts of yourself and environment to build sustainable practice.
    • You are a monk, not a soldier.
    • It’s not about self-denial, suppression, and punishment. All it is about, is leaving behind small pleasures now in favour of bigger gains later.

I decide, therefore I do

  • It must become your everyday mantra.
    • Turn yourself into a new person.
    • Build system instead of goals. [[Системы вместо целей]]
      • Nowadays people consider that if they can’t make themselves do something is because willpower doesn’t work, or that there is no such thing as discipline, but they are wrong.
      • If we continue this line of though, we see that digital distraction has become ubiquitous, Therefore, in some time in the future it is fair to say that focus doesn’t work. [[#^435f5b]]
    • When we are talking about our inability of reaching something substantial and being unsuccessful, we mean not that we lack knowledge to achieve it, but deep commitment and self-discipline.
    • Motivation doesn’t play any role here, it’s just a word.
    • To do day after day what you need to do doesn’t require motivation, only determination, commitment, and discipline.

Pillars of a life

  • What are pillars of my life?
    • Around what I am building all activities?
    • What goals do I pursue?
  • In case of the book, they are:
    • Personal growth (meditation and spirituality)
    • Family (wife and daughter)
    • Legacy (work)
  • What are mine?
    • Mine differ a bit, but not too much, obviously family is there, and work also exists, but in what volume?
    • Self-discipline is universal to all domains and aspirations.
  • Pillars must align with goals and habits you pursue. And it’s a matter of wisdom, not discipline.
    • Knowledge is to know that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
    • [[Why tomato is fruit]]

Lack of discipline prevents us from achieving what we want, or is it something else?

I’ve decided, therefore I do.

  • Too many mentions of dichotomy between decision and choice.
  • Nothing matters for us if we’ve reached the DECISION to do something.
    • Lack of recourses is not a big enough obstacle to stop us.
      • Money, time, support, effort, internal strength, they are externals.
      • What is really lacking is a deep commitment and self-discipline.
      • Will to act day in and day out no matter what.

Disciplined life is a life of a monk not a soldier

  • Don’t force yourself to do anything, as soon as you do it, commitments evaporated, or worse changes it into duty.
    • The way of Shaolin monk, endurance without effort, is the only road to live a disciplined life.
    • No need to call yourself into an army, as Gandapas suggests in numerous speeches and books.
    • All parts of your body and conscious must should work in unison, rather than beating yourself up to stay on track.

Definition of discipline

  • To specify a little bit, definition of not phenomenon of discipline, but of disciplined life.
    • It’s the art of living in harmony with goals and values.
    • The life of aligned aspirations and actions.
      • Actually it’s the combination of two things attention (where our aspiration lie) and intentions (what are we doing).
      • In short action directed to a thing that holds our attention.
    • Act in accordance with values moment after moment.
    • An ability to overcome external obstacles. Though we should remember that externals are not important, everything happens in the head.
  • To do that, to overcome obstacles, we need to train specific skills.
    • Focus.
      • In the modern age, the survival of the fittest has evolved into survival of the focused. ^435f5b
      • [[Deep Work#^51be9d]]
    • Willpower.
    • Self-control.
    • Determination.
    • Integrity and reliability.
      • Keep promises to yourself.
    • Authenticity.
    • Generosity.
    • Responsibility and ownership.
    • Vision.
    • Perseverance and resilience.
    • Grit.
      • Stick to your plan, even when you think that it doesn’t work.
    • Integration and wholeness.
    • Growth.
      • Learn to learn.
    • Centeredness.
    • Excellence.
    • Self-love.
    • Alignment.
      • With your future identity. [[#^751f0d]]
  • We also need to create a rhythm of life.
    • A flow where things happen in a reliable and planned way.
    • Build a system in a sense. [[Системы вместо целей]]
    • We are nothing more than a set of habits at the core of our identity.
    • Define them, break into bits and reassemble as parts of new I.
    • Become a maestro of your personal show, control tunes and music.
      • There was a note about music, though I don’t remember the context; thus it’s lost in the troves of my vault. I’ll remember at some time and add it here.

Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. Self-discipline allows a person to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.

  • Discipline bares fruit when you are imbued with achievement, wellbeing and happiness, instead of victimization, self-pity, resentment and limited life.

Series of exercises to find core values

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find why.
Mark Twain

  • Why do we want these habits?
    • Is it because everyone doing them, or we really wish them?
    • Do they align with your core values?
    • Task one.
    • The list of values is really endless, but here are some examples from the book.
      • ![[Снимок экрана 2022-09-14 в 05.41.55.png]]
      • We can add anything that we think the list is missing. And can add endlessly.
      • Choose five out of all, or add your own. No more than five.
    • After doing it, explain to your partner what’s so important about them.
    • The nexts step is a bit longer, answer honestly to the list of the questions.
      • How do you spend most of your time (apart from work)?
      • Where do you spend most of your money (apart from life essentials)?
      • In what area of your life are you naturally most focused, reliable, or disciplined?
      • What do you most think about, desire, and dream about?
      • What do you love to learn, read about, and explore?
      • What inspires you the most?
      • What types of injustices really piss you off?
      • What virtue(s) do you admire the most?
      • What do people who know you well say that you were born to do?
      • Fast forward your life ten years and look back. You are proud of achieving one thing. What is that?
      • Think of three peak experiences in your life, when you were at your best. What was going on at that time? What values were you living?
      • What relationships or people have most influenced your sense of purpose? How have they inspired you?
      • If you had unlimited resources (time and money), what would you set out to do?
      • If your efforts could not fail, what would you choose to do, be, have, or achieve?
      • If you had only two years to live, what would be the most important things you would do in that time?
      • Suppose every experience of your life, including all your failures and successes, was planned to train you for your destiny. What has your whole life prepared you to do?
    • These questions are asked in a manner of interview. One asks and take notes, the other answers and look how he is seen and heard by a partner.
    • Thereafter, take a careful look about answers and describe a person who has just answered the questions. One precise sentence.
      • Keep in mind that you are describing an abstract person, not the real person sitting in front of you on a screen.
    • Task two
    • Five why.
    • We are digging deeper and using top executive tool to do it.
      • Why do I want to become a runner?
      • Why do I want to be fit?
      • Why do I want to look attractive?
      • What do I want the attention of opposite sex?
      • ets.
    • By doing this, we are looking for emergent phenomenon.
      • Not often we can understand or explain ourselves where the wish comes from.
      • [[The Fabric of Reality — David Deutsch#^aa2a0b]]
      • The thing is, usually the wish comes not from the lower lever of understanding, but from a higher level.
      • Ohhh, we can do exercise with the bridge to see how it works or with the wall, or with chicken and turkey. [[The Fabric of Reality — David Deutsch#^2f06a9]]
    • It’s less crucial to speak about what, than about why. It is the driving force behind our actions.
    • Task three
    • Inspiration begins aspiration.
    • Who is your role model? A person from the area that inspires you.
      • It doesn’t matter if he is alive or dead, what’s important is to look the way he lived, acted and talked. ^c522a1
        • Don’t compare your results with his, you’ll get depressed.
        • You are here, and they are there. You have different background and circumstances.
        • Do not look at what they are doing, you may have no resources.
        • The purpose is here to get inspired by, explain you yourself why are you inspired by that person, not what, WHY!
    • Task four
    • Building your identity. ^751f0d
    • Aspirations are not about actions, they are about changing. ^28c61e
      • Filling of change after hard day of labour, self-transformative experience. Becoming a new person with new kind of life.
      • Acquiring new identity, which is important for habits to stick or for living a disciplined life.
      • There is nothing motivational about it, only inspirational.
    • At this stage, we decide who do we want to be, and later we can choose the route we are the most comfortable with.
      • We need to review insights from our work today.
      • Take into careful consideration the patterns that emerge from our observations. What are they really? Into whom I’ll turn into after fulfilling my aspirations, and the deepest why?
        • Because if you don’t build habits about your deepest why, they will feel as a chore.
        • Habits that are correlated to a heart-felt purpose, help feel yourself exciting, meaningful and promising.
      • Describe an aspirational identity.
        • Your feelings.
        • Typical day from your new identity life.
        • By what actions and if, people get inspired by you.
      • Cross the gap. Choose three areas with a chasm to cross.
        • In my aspirational identity, I am a well-known speaker, who is known for the works I do at school and university, and for a book about knowledge and note-taking.
        • There is only one true aspiration here, to become a well-known speaker.
    • Task five
    • Ruminate on it.
    • Don’t get stuck in indecisive mode, think.
    • Capture emotions, thoughts, and surprises you get from what you read and moments of your life.
      • If you can’t come up with important why, then do not proceed with future work of building new identity, it will be a waste of time.
      • [[How to Think Like a Roman Emperor — Donald J Robertson#^952576]]
    • In short, meditate.

If you think that you can’t go anymore, you are wrong

  • Fatigue, usually hits what you expended only 40% of your resources.
    • Which means that at the first sign of tiredness you can go further at least twice as long.
    • This state is true for any line of work: mental, physical, psychological, etc.
  • The grit to continue is a question of habits and willpower to go the whole mile.
    • Discipline is not about just habits of doing something, it is about inseparable trio: habits, willpower, wisdom (to know what you really want).

No aspirations, welcome boredom and tediousness

  • As I’ve mentioned in [[Скука и любопытство]] if the feeling of boredom doesn’t leave us at work or school, it happens only because we ask the wrong questions.
    • Questions that don’t spark curiosity.
  • This is equally fair for aspirations.
    • When you have nothing to aspire to, your life is devoid of drive and engagement.
    • And we replace it with bad habits, look for entertainment in all the wrong places, such as social media, games, etc.
    • We all need to know that we are moving somewhere.

Instant gratification VS delayed gratification

  • Modern life stimulates a person to change long-term gains, for short-term gains.
    • Our brain prefers comfort of picture browsing than effort of text reading.
    • Pictures are easier to understand than text.
  • Striving for long-term gains is a search for fulfillment, which follows with a transcend moment of higher level bliss.
    • Maslow also considered this from the point of view of basic needs.
      • Why do we need to satisfy all levels of needs?
      • To ascend the highest possible level of achievement and experience peak moments of one’s life. Flow, inspiration, daily gratitude, experiences of awe.
      • [[О пирамиде Маслоу]]

Be aware of where you are

  • No amount of motivational videos can help with achieving goals.
    • The only thing that matters is awareness of current condition.
      • Where am I?
      • What do I do, that I do?
      • Why do I do this?
    • Otherwise, a person, without clear view of where, what and why, lives life on autopilot,
    • The only possible way to understand and comprehend conditions is to pause and intentionally switch the tumbler into different position.
      • Only after that, you can move for a change.
      • Imagine that all your life you were riding in a car and never walking out of it.
      • At some point you got in it, my bet it was done sometime after university or in the last years of university.
      • And since that moment you have been driving relentlessly through life. First work, change of career, marriage, kids, school, kid’s problem, tough moments of relationship, you’ve got the picture.
      • Your car has seen smooth roads and much tougher terrains, but have you seen the condition of your car? No, you are locked inside, and your attention is only on the road.
      • You have to stop the car (pause), exit it, and contemplate what happen to it after long years of exploitation and neglect. Neglect it is.
      • To conduct an inventory shop has to stop working, the same is fair here.
        • We have to conduct an inventory of our values, aspirations, action, and wishes.
        • And keep the tab of actions +1 to actions that get me closer to aspirations, -1 to actions that stir away from them.
          [[Осознавай где ты есть]]

We are people of habits

  • Through life we accumulate habits, and they become the defining element of individuality.
    • Habits are what we are and nothing else.
    • [[Системы вместо целей#^da4072]]
    • Thus, an idea that changing them is a heavy burden, doesn’t even begin to describe the real state of affairs.
      • Changing or introducing a new one is like swimming against the current or rebelling against one’s nature.
      • New habits, and ridding of bad ones, require time and effort.
      • To implements the change, the feeling of purpose is extremely needed. Which is easily acquired through our work with aspirations. [[#^28c61e]]
      • If they are not translated into action and after that into habits they won’t be fulfilled.

Types of habits

  • Action habits.
    • Something you need to do day after day. Like going for a jog, or keeping track of your meetings, to regularly reflect about the past day.
  • Replacement habits.
    • This one is aimed at changing a harmful habit. It requires forceful intervention of conscious mind to register the cue and becoming aware of it to reject the urge.
  • Project habits.
    • What you work on something a bit, like starting a blog, or taking systematic notes.
    • It demands breaking habit into small acts of will, during a specific period of time. Like process, all notes from previous day from 5 to 7 am.

Starting a habit

  • Cueing.
    • Spend a few minutes thinking about cues for the next three habits you want to create.
    • Take steps to implement them right now.
    • Think about the order of habits if it is relevant.
    • And be ready to spend some willpower on it.
    • Examples.
      • When I enter my study, I turn on a table lamp, and begin working immediately.
      • When I enter the bedroom, I leave the phone in the corridor.
      • Leave a pen and paper ready on the table, start writing as soon as you hit the chair.
  • Environment.
    • It’s important, as I’ve aforementioned before, building systems is much more effective than creating behavioural patterns.
      • We need to create an environment for successful implementation of habits.
      • No social media apps on the smartphone.
      • No cakes at or pastry at home.
      • I turned off all notification from my smartphone.
    • Make a list of five changes that you can do today in your environment.
  • Audit doubts.
    • We constantly doubt ourselves. Otherwise, we would have already implemented any habit.
    • And doubts kill everything. Doubt kills more aspirations than failure ever will.
    • Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath, and honestly answer the next questions.
      • How am I doubting my ability to achieve the goal of making a sustainable habit?
      • In what way am I doubting my chosen strategy?
      • Do I doubt my purpose and aspirations? In what way?

Keeping on track

  • It’s not possible to be on top of your ability all the time.
    • Occasionally, you’ll be under the weather: tired, ill, annoyed, competing priorities, distractions, outright failures and dissatisfaction.
    • Wish to drop everything swarm over your head.
    • Under this condition, it is critical to have a contingency plan.
      • Which in a sense is if/then algorithm. If smth happens,
      • To accomplish this, you have to make a list of challenges you might face.
      • Then below each item an action must be put. It should be as concise and as precise as possible. No need for extra words. I will do this.
      • That’s not enough, the list must necessary be internalized, memorized, and you have to get comfortable with it.

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