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Self-Control : restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires
So, this blog serves one purpose: To motivate, and teach aspiring entrepreneurs and those who wish to start their own business. I don't consider this a "self-help" blog; however, the importance of self-control is uncanny when it comes to starting a business. Furthermore, I believe truly great businesses are built by great people who have a close relationship with their values, and feel a strong calling to share those with the world. So without further adieu, let's dive in!
Importance of Self-Control
Self-control is a personality trait that should be put into everyone's life. One of my greatest fears is being formed by feelings. To be formed by feelings is to become whatever your feelings want you to become. This actually terrifies me. Why? Because feelings come and go. One second you'll feel one way, then the next a different way. Just following how you feel is a quick way to meaningless confusion. That's not to say feelings are bad. Feelings are a fantastic part of the human experience, they simply have to be mastered by each of us. This is not to be taken lightly. A professor named Jeff White once wrote:
"Humans however are moral agents. We do not have to follow our feelings and emotions, our instincts. We have the ability to stand against them. The person who always runs away from pain and their feelings is no different than the animal kingdom. They are enslaved by their emotions. The person who sticks by a promise, however, even when it hurts, demonstrates they have the capacity for faithfulness. Making a pledge of commitment is an act of moral courage. Such a person is truly free."
I want to stress how important self-control is. And not only when starting a business. The lack of self-control leads to numerous adverse consequences including, but limited to, the following:
- Never finishing what you begin
- Doing lazy work
- Wasting countless hours
- Poor health
- Loss of friendships and other relationships
- Illegal things
For these reasons I think it is a great idea to cover how to get better self-control.
Ways To Improve Self-Control
Luckily for us, improving one's self-control is like anything else. With committed action and a plan, self-control can be incrementally built each and every day. And the crazy thing... The more self-control you have, the easier it becomes to get even more self-control. So, each and every day let's reflect on these concepts outlined here and put them into practice!
Look At The Big Picture
Looking at the big picture might just be you best friend when it comes to self-control. The tricky thing about us as people is we naturally desire things here, and now. It's almost as if we are geared to pursue the things that bring us the most pleasure in the quickest way possible. However, we all know that the things that tend to be the most worth it are the things that require long-term effort (like starting a business). This is why looking at the big picture is so valuable.
Looking at the big picture allows you to compare the reward you will get now ,if you give into whatever temptation you are facing, to the reward that you truly want: a successful business. The goal is to have such a clear vision of where you want to go, that simply thinking about it lights a small fire inside you that is more alluring than your current feelings. Don't think of how you feel, rather think of what you want in the future, and how amazing your vision would be if brought into being.
So how do we avoid instant gratification, but not burn out by never seeing any reward for our efforts? Set goals, and stick to them. Not only is this a great business practice to continue momentum, but it is also a phenomenal way to boost your self-control.
Work on breaking down your goals. Start by creating a five year goal. This is a long-term goal you want to complete. It should be hard to envision how exactly to reach this goal (because it is so far out). However, this five year goal should be able to be broken down into yearly goals. Once again, a yearly goal should be still hard to envision with actionable steps. Once you have solid yearly goals. Break down the first year goal into quarterly goals. These are goals that need to be completed in order for your yearly goal to be successful. Now your goals should start to seem more attainable. Break down your quarterly goals into weekly goals. Then a weekly goal can be broken down into extremely actionable daily goals. Your daily goals are actionable steps you can take every day. I go over this more in my time management post.
Do Physical Exercise
The mind and the body are vastly unique in their own right, yet still work in tandem. Teaching your mind and body to perform in harmony is a unique gift that few poses. in reality, self-control is all in the mind. It's a mental battle. So how does physical exercise come into play here?
Physical exercise boosts your natural energy which in turn provides you with more mental focus o battle the temptations to take the easy route. On top of this, physical exercise creates healthy habits which helps you avoid "decision fatigue" (we'll talk about that in a bit).
Above all, physical exercise is one of the best ways to "callus the mind". If you think of a callus on the hand, it is a thicker portion of the skin that allows the hand to undergo more stress, friction, and work without getting injured. Likewise, the callusing of the mind allows your mind to undergo more mental stress, friction and still come out on top.
When growing your self-control it's important to learn yourself so that you can prepare for how you will act in the future. Be aware of how certain things create deep temptations to do things you know are not beneficial to you. For example, if you realize that pulling your phone out on the couch leads to hours wasted on YouTube, then you can prepare ahead of time and place your phone far away before you sit on the couch.
Avoiding the trigger in the first place actually allows you the same benefit of self-control without having to expend as much of it. Because believe it or not, self-control is an expendable resource.
Avoid Decision Fatigue
Decision fatigue is the idea that making harder decisions is more exhausting than making easy ones. Knowing that harder decisions are tougher to make than easy ones means as the day draws on, tougher decisions will be even harder to make later in the day due to the "decision fatigue" accrued throughout the day. Use this to your advantage when you can! Make the tougher decisions early in the day. Take the work that you least want to do and do it first thing in the day.
Motivation is a powerful force. Especially when it comes to self-control. The level of commitment we put into work is directly correlated on the chance we perceive the successful result will occur. Think about it... What person in the right mind would expend lots of hard work and hours on something they 100% believed would fail?
This is where motivation comes into play. It reaffirms our belief in the possibility of success. A good practice to put into play is to regularly review your goals. Maybe record a video of yourself passionately talking about your goals. This would be a video only you would see. But during times of low motivation you could see your past self encouraging you, and further more, depending on you. It may sound weird, and it may feel super strange recording a video of yourself, to yourself, but I urge you to try it.
Also, when you have momentum don't let it go. Do everything you possibly can to keep the momentum going... I cannot stress this enough. Especially when it comes to starting a business. Think of starting a business like rolling a snowball. It starts off small, but as you continue to roll it it grows and grows. Now imagine you stop rolling the snowball. It's a lot harder to get the snowball rolling again once it's large than it is when it's small. The same goes for a business. Momentum is an extremely powerful force that unfortunately can quickly be lost.
Motivation - A Word To the Wise
Also, as important as motivation is it's more important to not depend on it all the time. Having motivation actually means you need little self-control in that moment (which is why it's great!). Because motivation is actually a feeling. But what do we know about feelings? They come and go. And if motivation is your only driving force, your efforts will be short lived.
I'd like to wrap up by talking about the "why's" vs the "how's". This really relates to looking at the big picture. The why's are the reasons behind you taking action towards something. For starting a business this could be more free time, better quality of life, or freedom to pursue passions. The "how's" are the steps you take to get there.
I'd like to emphasize the extreme importance of the "how's". Without them you will never achieve your goals. However, it's important to realize that if you spend more time thinking about the "how's" vs the "why's" more-than-likely you'll be scared away from pursuing your dreams. There's a lot of "how's" to be known out there, and that's one of the main purposes of BizGrips, but fear not. A powerful "why" can lead you through to success regardless of how many "how's" stand in the way.
Catch you on the flip,
P.S. If you are wanting to, or have ever wanted to start a business, but are lost on where to start, click here and check this out