A Discussion About Self Mastery
WRITTEN BY DAVE BAXTER and TOM ARMSTRONG 9TH AUGUST 2017
As those of you who have been following this blog are probably aware I hold Diplomas in both Life Coaching and Music Therapy.
My friend and colleague Tom is well read in many of the traditional Spiritual teachings including Bhagavad Gita; A Course In Miracles and the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. He also trained with Landmark Forum as a Personal Development Leader.
Several years ago we collaborated on a book entitled “Solution Based Thinking” and more recently we have been looking at the possibility of creating a small seminar tour based around this book.
During the discussion about the tour we agreed that we could include a seminar session on the implications of
Self Mastery (also known as Self Discipline) is the ability to control your behaviour, to motivate yourself to do the things you should be doing and conversely not doing things you shouldn't be doing.
Willpower may be considered a large part of self mastery, but sometimes trying to "force" yourself to do something is extremely counter productive and simply makes things worse.
Experience has taught us that learning to associate negative feelings with an activity, makes it far more difficult to do, and therefore we become less likely to do it.
There are many possible routes into self discipline, I have added a few here but I am sure that if you think carefully you will be able to find even more.
Suppose you are delaying the completion of your tax return.
How do you feel about it? Do you feel stressed when you think about sitting down and completing those forms?
If you do there is a simple answer which is don't think about it!
It is a known fact that when sufficient thought is given to any project, more thought just creates more stress.
In this case the negative feelings that develop make it harder and harder to force yourself to do what needs to be done and eventually you begin to feel that you have no self discipline!
The cure for this is taking ACTION!
Start by putting the forms where you can work on them later.
Later, gather all the materials and put them with the forms. The next day, do just one form, and then another.
Whatever the task is, you can find enough motivation for just one small step.
Train your mind to take that first step as soon as you think of it.
Then take the next step, and so on and pretty quickly you will discover that the whole project has been completed.
Having tried this methodology several times I have always found that the task becomes easier once I make a start and pretty soon the job is done and I wonder why I was getting so uptight about it
On a different point
If you have ever stopped up all night talking about something interesting, you will know what power the mind has over the body.
It is very easy to put off sleep when we are motivated by a passionate discussion. It doesn't take much willpower to keep doing something when you are really involved and enjoying what you are doing.
So now we have discovered a further key to the realm of self discipline!
When you enjoy what you are doing you are fired up and motivated.
Willpower goes up and down with energy levels, so play energetic music, move around, laugh, and look for ways to enjoy whatever project you are working on.
The more you associate good feelings with a task, the easier it is to discipline yourself to do it.
Divide a task into a few small steps, and then give yourself a reward every time you complete each step. This could be a tub of ice cream, watching your favourite tv programme, or simply relaxing for a few minutes.
Reward yourself with a virtual pat on the back as well.
When you recognize your successes (both large and small), the possibilities become more real to you, and more likely to be repeated.
Suppose that piece of cake calls to you, or that television takes your attention away from your more important work.
It can be hard to resist temptation!
Stronger willpower is a nice theory, but there is a simpler solution:-
Stop standing in front of the cake!
Turn off the television!
This is an easy lesson to understand, but I suggest that to train yourself to apply it habitually takes a little bit of perseverance (and a few pieces of lateral thinking help!)
Don't keep beer in the house if you don't want to drink it.
Don't go alone to single's bars if you want to maintain a faithful marriage.
Stay away from people and things that have the potential to lead you into trouble!
Self discipline doesn't mean you have to become immune to temptation, but it does mean that you must develop the willpower to say no, when and if you wish.
But if you are doing that, why not have the wisdom to avoid temptation?
If you learn where your resistance is low, then you can avoid those situations with relative ease.
Doesn't this make more sense than fighting useless battles with yourself?
Fighting with yourself is no way to develop self discipline. It is far better to learn about yourself; how are you energized; what motivates you and what are your strengths and weaknesses
When you recognise that the things you have learned about yourself are beginning to happen you can begin using what you learn to make the behaviours you want to develop, easier!
That is smarter self discipline
So as we reach the end of this week’s post I would like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read the words. I hope that you will find them useful as you move forwards in your daily life.
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About Dave I am a coach; speaker; radio presenter and founder of The Blue Sky Company. I am also a therapist and co-own a virtual light centre called The Crystal Spring. My therapy work includes music therapy; crystal therapy and I am currently studying a course on Colour Therapy.
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