The Self Discipline Equation

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What happens if you try to sprint through a marathon?

“That’s easy, you get exhausted early and end up never finishing.” — You may have thought immediately.

If so, you would be correct to assume. If someone adopts this approach, they will undeniably get ahead in the first yards of the race, blowing past everyone else, however, the longer it goes on, the more miles start stacking up, the more this person will gas out, eventually, taking a detour to watch from the sidelines.

Even though I’ve never even considered running a marathon, trying to push and sprint through things had always been my approach.

For most of my life, for whatever goal I had in mind, the strategy was always to put as much effort as possible in the shortest amount of time

I was trying to sprint to the end.

The big problem that I failed to realize though, was that this race, the one I was burning myself out in the beginning to finish, was quite similar to a marathon, and as such, it required a sustainable pace over a long period of time.

Why Most Of Us Fail

Have you ever noticed that for the most craved for goals people have, whether those be more money, a better body, or better relationships, there are an obnoxiously large amount of “quick & easy” solutions being sold?

It is much rarer to see someone giving you a 2-year plan to get in shape than it is to see some version of “The secret to a 6-pack in 6 weeks”.

By default, we want effortless results and we want them now. We want to take the shortcut, sprint through the journey, skipping to the end, and even if not everyone ends up falling for scams like the one mentioned previously, most of us adopt the same approach.

As such, we don’t seem to stick with our habits long enough to reap the rewards. We quit the marathon too soon.

How Can We Avoid This?

  1. A clear, proper goal
  2. Prioritization of the habits to reach said goal
  3. A weekly plan to implement those same habits
  4. “Deep-focus” to make sure you put your best effort forward
  5. An optimized environment to avoid distractions
  6. Prevention of future obstacles

These are all elements that usually are missing from the “sprinters” approach.

Sure, there may even be a clear goal, but in all that rush and chaos, how often do we take the time to prioritize the best ways to reach it?

Before I changed approaches, the answer was never.

Without those, does it even matter what we’re planning (if we even do it) if we don’t know it is the best for our time?

Not really.

In the midst of all this chaos, it’s easy to start changing priorities at an ever so increased pace, inevitably, spending more time deciding on what to do than actually putting our best effort forward.

On top of this, the more your mind races around, the harder it becomes to just sit down and focus. The momentum is against you.

With this in mind, I’m going to help you solve the one that is not only more applicable right away, but that will likely help you the most with your current challenges.

Developing Deep-Focus

Opposed to what a lot of people may try to sell you, the path to becoming more focused isn't one that can be “sprinted” by.

Sure, there are some “quick hacks” that in the short term may feel nice, however, in the long-term, they are of very little to no benefit at all. According to the ever-growing research on the topic, it is becoming evidently clear that focus, like painting or playing the guitar, is a skill.

What this means for us is that the same way you would have a training plan to improve your basketball skills, you need to have one for your focus. A set of routines/habits you perform regularly to give you the edge over yourself.

However, this is where things get complicated.

Just a quick peek at one of the thousands of books on this topic and you’ll easily find yourself overwhelmed. It’s too much, too complicated, too overwhelming.

The exact opposite of what we need to develop the ability to enter a state of deep-focus.

The Answer Has Already Been Found

Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?” — Marcus Aurelius

What if I told you there was advice written and published thousands of years ago, that presents us with the source of what we actually need?

Not only focus wise but also for all the other steps.

As a blank statement, I’d imagine you would find it hard to believe, after all, hasn't there been any progress since the thousands of years that passed?

My answer to that would be: Absolutely!

Every area that we can think of, from sports to science to technology, is MILES ahead of what it was when this advice was written…

However, the foundation that allowed so much of this fast progress has, in my opinion, been anchored on the foundations that were left for us.

As Isaac Newton said:

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

The core of what it takes for humanity to keep striving and achieving bigger and bigger goals, the 6 elements I’ve mentioned previously, have been written down as far back as 2500 years ago.

Unfortunately, it seems that more of us are trading these proven fundamentals, that if given enough time and effort, will truly propel us forward, for promises of quick and fast results.

Honestly, I understand.

With a lot of the older advice, it is complicated and dense to go through, the language is ancient, and quite honestly, it tends to get boring sometimes.

It is much more appealing to go to some random youtube video and get watered down information, that won’t really help, but that will keep us entertained.

Now, if you are tired of being entertained, tired of lackluster results, and above all, tired of not following through with what you truly desire, then what follows is exactly for you.

To help you, first of all with the focus part, and then with all the other steps, I have created “Paths of Progress”.

This is, to my knowledge, the first platform ever, to teach you this advice that seems to have been lost/watered down, in a way that is simple to understand…

And above all, simple to apply, giving you the step-by-step guidelines to go from consuming information, all the way to reaping its rewards.

We launched last week and the first lesson is exactly on focus.

So, if you’re ready to finally commit to long-term improvement, standing on the shoulders of giants to guide you forward…

Click here to learn more about “Paths of Progress” and start your journey.

See you inside.

Learn More About Paths of Progress Here →

Written by

Stoicism & Philosophy | Building @pathsofmeaning

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