In every great story you have read or seen on television, there is a point in the main characters’ lives where they become disciplined. They didn’t want to live a certain way anymore. Maybe something bad happened that changed their mind. They got to work, and their life changed by the end of the book or movie.
We enjoy such books or movies because they are true. To an extent. We can change our lives with effort, mindset, and commitment. In today’s post, I share some stories of people using psychological hacks or research to change their lives. You, too, can use it to learn how to become a disciplined person and change your life.
Some Inspiring Stories of Discipline…
These are a few stories to make you rethink how you work or pursue your goals…
1. Improve It By 1% Every Day
Pick an area of your life or business and think of what you can improve by 1%. This is the barest level you can go.
For example, a few days ago, I picked a few blog posts and improved JUST THEIR HEADLINES. I am using a Headline Analyzer, so it makes it easier. If the headline score is 63%, I do my best to increase it. Sometimes, it goes as high as 90%, so that’s a lot.
Maybe this won’t bring more results than intended. But the idea is to improve by 1% in a couple of areas. If I keep the idea at the back of my mind, I will move to the introductions of the posts, then maybe the images I used. Then, maybe the number of times I distribute posts or the description I use on social media when distributing.
By following this process for a while, in a month or two, I would have transformed a lot of blog posts from meh to extraordinary.
I first heard about this concept while reading Atomic Habits. The principle is called The Aggregation of Marginal Gains. It’s about a British Cycling coach called Dave Brailsford. The team had not won Tour De France in 110 years before Dave’s appointment as the new performance director. It was 2003. Their trophy cabinet was not impressive at the time. Four years later, things began to change. Between 2007 and 2017, the British Cycling team had won 178 world championships. What did Dave Brailsford do?
Here is an excerpt from Atomic Habits:
“Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory. What made him different from previous coaches was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”James Clear, Atomic Habits
The idea is so simple, but once you master it, it can bring tremendous results in a month or a year. Break down the what you want to achieve into units. Then, improve each areas by 1%. If you improve something by 1% every day for two months, you would have improved it by 60%. That’s enough motivation to try this. out and become more disciplined.
3. The Power of Having Mentors As Parents
For many people, our parents are the first to introduce discipline to them. When you were young, you must have thought what they knew how to do best was to set rules and make you abide by them. But what happens when your parents are great at something, and you are interested in such a career?
A fascinating thing happened in 1951; a young girl of 15 broke the chess world record. Not only was she a girl, but she was the youngest to have ever done it at the time. The feat destroyed the myth that women are not excellent at skills involving spatial thinking and that geniuses are born rather than trained.
Judit Polgar is the third child of parents who were both educators. She was homeschooled by both her parents in chess, like her two other sisters. They all excelled at chess.
Judit is not the only person to show that having mentors close by (better as close parents) is one of the best career hacks you can have.
So, if you have mentors around at a young age, chances are you will excel, provided you’re interested and have passion for that career. Your mentors can design rules and training requirements. The rest of your responsibility will be obedience and to become disciplined.
The point here is that you can become a more disciplined person if you have passion for something and have mentors who are close to you, as close as parents.
4. The Man Who Survived the Holocaust
In case you’ve experienced something really bad, think of the Holocaust. A quick search of what that looks like will bring horrific images of ill-treatment, death, carcass, and human remains.
Victor Frankl was one of the survivors of the experience. He even wrote a book about it, Man’s Search For Meaning.
Here are some quotes:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
So, whenever you’re feeling down or tired, remember this man and what he must have been thinking at the point of his life when things were that dark.
Some survived the Holocaust. So, I can survive anything…
Be consumed by putting yourself up for a cause greater than you. An ambition that will live beyond your existence.
Then, start doing something.
And that brings us to:
4. No More Zero Days
One Reddit user complained about his life in turmoil, and he needed a serious breakthrough. One of the comments under the post by a user called Ryan became an internet sensation. You can read the post in the slide:
Slide to the side…
This is the whole summary:
No more zero days. Pick a thing you’re interested in doing, something that can change your life. It could be learning to code or building a business empire. The important thing is to work at it every day.
If you’re tired and unmotivated, try to do at least something to make the day “Non-Zero.”
If you play around till 11 pm in the night, wake up and do something for that day, no matter what, no matter how little.
Keep going. Keep doing more.
In physics, momentum and inertia are great concepts for explaining this idea. Inertia says that a body at rest will be reluctant to move unless you use force, and a body in motion will keep moving unless it is acted upon by force.
So, the point is to start building until you reach a stage where you have broken the inertia and started seeing your progress. I’m growing this blog, so I have an idea of what that’s like.
So, if you want to become a more disciplined person, tell yourself no more Zero Days. Start small. Keep going.
If you are tired, rest. Read an interesting thriller or something and get back to work the next day — no more zero days.
5. Humans of Bombay – Pursuing A dream That’s Bigger Than You
The story of the Humans of Bombay can be summarised in a few words: “Pursue goods that shine lights on the world around you.”
The quote below summarizes what the project was all about and how the importance of pursuing causes greater than you.
Today, the Facebook page, Humans of Bombay, is bolstered by its own website. The idea is to talk to complete strangers in different parts of the city – getting their permission to take a portrait photograph and post their story, in long form.Forbes, A Humbling Portrayal Of Humanity: Meet The Humans Of Bombay
It’s hard to quit when you are on a project that brings lots of joy not only to you but to hundreds of thousands of people in your city or your country. So, when you have the opportunity, pursue dreams that are really big.
6. 90 Days Challenge
This is a proven way to change your life by forming new habits. According to science, a habit takes an average of 59 days to stick. So, doing something for 90 days is a sure way to form a new habit.
What do you want to do? Write a book. Learn a new skill. Get fit. The 90-day challenge will teach you discipline, the power of commitment, and the benefits of when great effort compounds over time. If you learn how to write every day for ninety days, you will become much better than the average person. If you study a subject every day for ninety days, you should get an A. Apply the same to business, improving your health, or making money.
7. The Deliberate Practice of World Champions
The concept of deliberate practice is breaking down a subject into smaller units and practicing each unit separately until you master all of them.
It looks like the same points in number one, but here, this is inward. While improving something by 1% focuses on everything that plays a role in your success, like where you live, what you wear, how you talk, your bicycle, etc., deliberate practice is your internal skills, and you approach to training each day.
“People always said I had a natural swing. They thought I wasn’t a hard worker. But when I was young, I’d play and practice all day, then practice more at night by my car’s headlights. My hands bled. Nobody worked harder at golf than I did.”Sam Stead, Golf Digest
You can use deliberate practice to master anything, even storytelling:
Become A More Disciplined Person
This post is more about the mindsets you need to become more disciplined. It is easier to falter and give up without the right understanding or motivation. So, no more Zero days. Improve something by 1% every day, start a challenge, or pursue a dream as big as your city.
And if, by chance, you want to tell me your story, don’t hesitate to use the contact form above or the social media buttons below.