Mindset – Strategy of Self-discipline

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By Niel Malan - Business Coach. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

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Full Transcript

[The following is the full transcript of this Vlog: “Mindset – Strategy of Self-discipline”

NIEL MALAN:Welcome back to another edition of our weekly blog. Last week we started speaking about the science of self-discipline. How do you get more of it? Right? And is it possible to get more of it? And as a quick little recap, I told you about a little story of a book called Switch that said that there’s really three elements to lasting change.

The first is your mind, the second is your emotions, the third is your environment. If you didn’t watch this video, I strongly suggest you go back, it’s really short, because then this the rest of the series will make sense to you. So one of the key things that these researchers found when they study the children in the marshmallow experiment that I spoke about last week, is they found that some of these kids who were able to resist temptation actually didn’t necessarily have greater self-discipline, they had different strategies for dealing with temptation and I’ll give you some examples, and in fact you must actually go and Google the marshmallow experiment on, and what some of those videos on Youtube, it’s hilarious. The poor children are tormented, right. So what some of them would do is they would literally physically face away from the marshmallows, right, and just look at something else and start humming. One kid you could see was talking to himself about the marshmallow. So what he did, he closes his ears and he started singing out loud while looking away. So what these researchers started asking themselves is is self-discipline more a matter of strategy or is it a matter of personality type? And what’s it really all about? You know. How does a person that wants to become more self-disciplined and better follow through, how do they do it? So one of the keys that I found in my own research, because I’m always looking for leverage, I’m always looking for ways that one single action can have a massive, massive, massive result.

It’s fine that people tell you just be more disciplined, but you know, it’s paradoxical. If you don’t have it, how do you get more of it? Right? So I look for more practical ways to achieve a result and there’s no difference when it comes to this subject of lasting change. And one of the books that I came across is by a woman called Carol Dweck. It’s a book called Mindset. And there’s a huge distinction in this book which I think a lot of people don’t know about, and that’s why I want to tell you about and I really hope you pick up her book, it’s awesome. In her book Carol Dweck also studied success. She made a very deep study of the science of success and she tried to figure out some of the key differentiating factors. And one factor that she determined was a huge, huge, huge role play and whether or not people had resilience, had willpower, had self-discipline, followed through, finish what they started or not, is a mindset interestingly. It’s just a mindset. Kind of a, I guess you call it a world view. And this world view, she says there’s really two minds sets right, the first is what she calls a fixed mindset. And the second world view is what she calls a growth mindset. And these two mindsets has to do with how you approach tasks that can lead to success The fixed mindset is a mindset that thinks in absolute. It sees failure and success, it sees up and down it sees black and white, it sees did or did not.

It basically judges events as absolutes, right. So a dieter for example that wants to lose weight, that has a fixed mindset will first of all procrastinate before they get started because the fixed mindset implies failure or success. So as soon as there’s a fear of failure present, people procrastinate. Procrastination never ever happens if people don’t perceive a fear of failure, if they perceive growth. Do you understand? So that’s one of the key things that happens in a fixed mindset. It’s that there’s a fear of failure, so the dieter would actually procrastinate on starting. When they do finally start they’re anxious as hell, right. And what do people do when they get anxious? They comfort eat most of the time. So you can already see how some of them set up with failure right? What the person then does, as soon as they cheat on the diet, they think that they failed and they stop immediately, right. And they go into a self loathing cycle and basically just abscond all the plans. Now those people think that they have weak willpower. Those people think that they have poor self-discipline, but it’s not as simple as that right. Let’s have a look at what a person does that as a growth mindset, right. A growth mindset does not think in absolutes. A growth mindset think in terms of learning and correcting. So a person that has a deeply entrenched growth mindset doesn’t have a fear of starting something because they see the process of doing something as part of the learning experience, right. So let’s look at the very same dieter. The same dieter starts faster because they don’t have this fear of failure. They kind of assume they will learn as they go, they will figure it out as they go. And they don’t have the same anxiety of trying to be perfect or trying to get things right. So they move a little bit faster but the important thing is when they cheat, and you’ll notice I say when they cheat, not if they cheat. Because all dieters cheat right, it’s just a part of it. When this person has a backslide or has a cheat or whatever the case may be, they can actually interpret the events and say okay, what is it that I can learn from what happened? And they can deduct some lessons out of it.

So for example, let’s say the person was out at a family dinner, right, and everybody had cakes or chocolates or whatever the case might be, this person must say okay, you know, if I go to a family dinner and I’m hungry, that is when I backslide. Next time I’m going to eat a big salad before the time and tons of water and I’m going to excuse myself off the table before the dinner before the desserts come out. So can you see, that’s a very practical way of learning and then the person can then next time try something different, right. And then again, it may be that the person had another kind of setback where they travelled and also ate rubbish and didn’t follow through, again that person would learn from that experience and keep going. What Carol Dweck found in this awesome book mindset, she found that people that have a growth mindset have got significantly greater level of resilience follow through, they complete tasks that they start and they have tremendously, a great deal more willpower than the people with the fixed mindset that they have. And guess what? Her findings were the exact same as the findings in the marshmallow test, except for, she said but it’s not hard-wired, it’s not inborn. It actually comes down to a mindset. So my invitation to you this week is to whatever you’ve been procrastinating doing, whether it’s finishing your thesis, writing your book, starting an exercise program, forgiving that person that you’ve been holding on, you know, anger onto whatever your self-discipline challenge is, adopt a growth mindset.

Decide from the beginning you know what, I’m not going to judge my progress here or success or failure. I’m not going to see it as black or white success or failure up or down, I’m going to learn. I’m going to set a very clear intention. I’m going to make progress and whenever I find myself off the path, I’m simply going to learn what it is that I need to do better next time. I hope you enjoyed this video please, remember to share it with your friends. Comment right below, I like hearing from you guys, have a rock star week and I will see you guys back next week for some more insights on how to create lasting change.

14 episodes