Hardly expressing any emotion, the sergeant commanded with his loud booming voice: “DOWN.”
“ONE!” … we knew what was coming…
“TWO!” … it’s only been two weeks in, but we already know the inevitable hardship…
“THREE!!” … and it was all because one of our mates left a speck of mud on his rifle.
“FOUR!!!” … in all of our minds we scream pain.
We continue the pushups until one of us breaks, after which we move on to monumental amounts of jumping jacks, chasing the rabbits, situps and running 100 meters out into the field to tap a tree and back within an unachievable timing set by the sergeant.
Only to do it all over again.
After breaking at least half of us, the sergeant resumes our normal training.
In some countries, National Service is a mandatory thing that all guys (and girls) have to go through.
Fortunately, I had to go to National Service when my time came. I only say ‘fortunately’ now, after I had done serving my mandatory time. During the training itself, it was hard to say I was ‘fortunate’ because I was honestly suffering too much to even think that.
I got sent into one of the toughest units, the Commando Unit, thanks to my ‘adventurous’ answers during my aptitude test that helps the Armed Forces decide where to put me.
During the aptitude test, I had the hopes to become a commando. I wanted to do what they did in the movies, because commandos are awesome!
Jumping out of planes, fire cool weapons and get to ride cool military vehicles!
Little did I know, Basic Military Training School was a massive mental and physical test on your abilities to emotionally endure all this pain.
It was 8 weeks of breaking every single one of us who enlisted, and ‘rebuilding’ us up mentally.
Before I joined the Commandos, I thought I had prepared myself, but was slapped in the face with a huge culture shock when I got in.
Head shaven, was called only by my last name, and had a total identity reset. It was a minimal expectation to have everything neat, in line, and pristine.
I have to admit, I teared a little when after weeks, my family was finally allowed to visit the camp and I could have some real personal time. By the way, handphones were not allowed during basic military training so there was no outside contact at all.
It was very tough. Both physically and emotionally.
Here’s a clip that summarized it quite well.
Fast forward to a full year later, I had gone through Basic Military Training, the leadership course, multiple weapons courses, unarmed combat course, the rappelling course, the airborne course and many many many training sessions in the jungle rain or shine.
I had finally earned my Red Beret, and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I had gone through so much hardship, simply to earn the honour of donning a red beret which symbolizes the specialized skills and willpower we have been trained to have.
And it all began with a thought that it would be ‘fun’, before I joined the commandos.
What I truly learned during that first year in the army was my mental ability to push through really extremely difficult situations that I normally would not put myself into.
It was the first time I had to discipline myself to keep doing the things I seriously didn’t want to do, in order to experience the things that I wanted.
It was extremely tough during training, but I had priceless fun jumping out of military planes, learning to fire many different real-life weapons, driving badass vehicles and got to be like it was in the movies!
I had a great time in the army, which was filled with lots of blood, sweat, tears, pain, failures, success and fulfillment. All done in 2 and a half years.
I can acknowledge that my discipline levels have gone up and down since then, and I have seen the difference between being disciplined and not.
Here’s what I think.
Know Why You Are Doing It
Without knowing why, there will be no reason to change what’s “real” in the mind, even if there is a strong compelling reason to change in actuality.
Ask yourself these questions if you’re considering to take on something that you think is going to take some discipline.
- What is your reality? What kind of feelings and thoughts are very real to you, but not to others?
- What is your actuality? What is really, truly happening around you or to you, without your emotional involvement?
- What is your environment? Are you comfortable, or do you feel that there is a need for change to the circumstances you are in?
The best way to summarize the points above is to align your mindset to be open to what is truly going on around you. Are you actually in a bad circumstance or situation, and are you doing anything about it?
Willpower, it is directly in correlation with your ‘Why’.
- The less you FEEL for something, the less you find the drive/willpower to do it.
- The more you know ‘Why’ you must do something, the more you will feel the willpower to do it.
Find your ‘Why’.
Why do you feel compelled? What brought you to this page? Could that be your ‘why’?
I would recommend writing a detailed list of your ‘whys’, because in this world it is so easy to be pulled away from what we truly want and be influenced by big companies strategically manipulating your ‘whys’. Be clear on the reason why you want something!
Understand What Habits Are
If there’s one book I would strongly recommend for you to pick up, it’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.
After reading the book, it helped realize that we are all just simple creatures running on habits. Hundreds of habits if not thousands. Here’s the clincher – a huge number of them were picked up unknowingly, or imposed upon us by influencers!
Consider the habitual things you do everyday, and see if they are impacting your life negatively, positively or not at all.
Analyze, isolate and replace your bad habits with either neutral or positive ones, and you’re already a step ahead of most people.
Develop Good Habits One By One, And Know Why You Do Them
Start by building new easy good habits.
Simple stuff, in order to create the consistency of success.
The idea is to start the flow of dopamine attached to small wins and keep it going.
Here’s a list of things you could do first thing in the morning to get the momentum rolling:
- Cleaning the home in the morning
- Making your bed
- Clearing the plates from the drying rack
- Neatening furniture
- Sweeping the house
- Light exercise, breaking a sweat
In this video, Admiral McRaven covers this better than anybody else.
Counter Intuitive Habits
“You have to be out of your mind.” is usually the ironic first thing that will probably pop up in your brain as you consider counter intuitive habits. These habits are things that force you to do something that you naturally wouldn’t not want, but are actually beneficial to you.
When it comes down to primal instincts when we are under a threat, there are two modes that we will be in, and that’s the “Fight or Flight” response. Right before these habits your body is literally blasting at you to go on ‘flight mode’, because that way you would be ‘safe’ and there will be no more threat.
If you were to listen to your body, there may many things that you are losing out in the long term.
Are you actually allowing your body from holding you back from your true potential? Think about that.
Here are some easier counter intuitive habits that you could pick up:
- Sleeping Early
- Physical Training
- Cold Showers
So, how do you get over the counter intuition to even start on these habits?!
Knowing your Why will give you the mental drive to get over that physical-mental barrier that is holding you back.
Physical-mental because in reality, what you feel is completely biological and on a hormonal level.
What you KNOW, is not.
Read that last line again.
Once you’ve proven to yourself that what your body feels is not the same thing as what your brain knows, it will get easier the next time.
Another piece of good news is that once you’ve passed that initial hurdle and is in the habit, it takes much less willpower to get it done over and over again.
Don’t confuse what your body wants, with what it needs.
Understand that intuition isn’t always right, and you will innately know the meaning of mastering your body.
Counter intuitive habits are all about training your mind to take on the Fight instead of taking Flight.
So take on the fight!!
How To Take On Counter Intuitive Habits, aka Be Disciplined
Here are some things I’ve learnt along the way trying to help me be more disciplined:
- Breath Control
- Fill up your body with oxygen to help clear thinking.
- Clear your mind with the meditation of breath.
- Mindful Envisaging
- Have a clear image, feeling, and sense of what you are trying to accomplish.
- Visualize that not only is the task/habit done, but you feel fulfilled doing it.
- The “Will I die? ” Test
- One of the ways that I convince myself to get difficult things done is to ask myself “Will I Die?”.
- If the answer is no, then I know it is my body telling to take flight.
- Screw the flight and take on the fight!
Every time you complete a counter intuitive habit, you will feel the sense of accomplishment, the sense of fulfillment.
The harder the task, the deeper the sense of accomplishment.
If you have a powerful morning routine, you will feel successful by the time you leave your home.
Self confidence will start to radiate out of you because you know you have physically and mentally primed yourself for a very effective day.
Consistent Day To Day Execution Of Good Habits Means A Successful Lifestyle
Mastery of your Fight or Flight Response takes effort and time, but be consistent with it and the puzzle pieces will begin to fall in place. Life will seem a little nicer, because you’re hard on yourself for the best results.
Success is not an end result. A lot of people have that mistaken. They see the result and forget the thousands of hours of effort put into it.
Success is the result of very consistent (sometimes counter intuitive) habits.
It is a lifestyle.
Be aware of bad habits
Which of your intuitive habits are holding you back from your full potential?
What bad habits can you completely do without, and know that you will will be fine? With each bad habit you eliminate and replace, you free up that much more time to build a good one.
Know Your Limits, then push them.
Once you have developed the good habits of success, you will find yourself more self confident, physically energized, mentally strong and know what is driving you in life.
People will start saying “Wow you are so disciplined, I’ll never be able to do that.”, when you actually know that it is definitely doable. It just takes one small positive successful habit at time.
Don’t Be To Hard On Yourself At The Start, But You Must Start.
Start easy, build on easy success habits one at a time, train your Fight response, and know why these habits help you ultimately.
If you start too hard, you will squelch your motivational spark and you may not consider trying the habit again because in your ‘reality’ it was hard.
Remember to feel fulfilled completing your habitual tasks.
Remember that although goals are the reason why we work towards a certain target, it is actually the process oriented goals and habits, that will eventually manifest the realities around us.
How have you tried to be more disciplined and has it worked well?
What’s the difference between being disciplined and not, to you?
Please comment below and share this if there’s somebody that might benefit from it!