Self-Discipline Doesn’t Work – Try Self-Indulgence



Our society tends to celebrate self-discipline. People who are seen as disciplined are shining examples, whilst we look down on those we perceive as undisciplined.

Your mission is to find out which type of person you are in terms of self-discipline, and what you can do in order to be more successful.

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Task 1: Which type are you?


a) Iron discipline. You push yourself relentlessly, without regard for yourself. You’re probably very successful and have achieved a lot in life. Typically, this type also has at least one area in their lives where they’re incapable of discipline. This could be anything, such as food habits or needing a glass of wine to relax.

b) No discipline. These people don’t even try anything that requires discipline. They describe themselves as lazy or failures. What they often overlook, is the dedication and consistency they apply when they’re truly interested in something: They know their favourite books by heart, or know every last detail about their favourite movie or band.

c) Attempting discipline. These are people who have the nagging feeling they should be more disciplined. Every now and then, they pursue a goal with a lot of discipline. Typically, this won’t last very long and then their self-confidence takes a beating.

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on


Task 2: Self-discipline or self-indulgence?


There’s a better way! You’re not a machine. Our lives aren’t meant to be led like a military operation, they’re meant to be lived.

Instead of self-discipline, try self indulgence: Ask yourself what you truly need and want at this moment, and provide it. Take your own needs seriously. Do what lights you up.

Whenever you fail at discipline, it’s because the voice of your own true needs has won. Once you regularly listen to that voice, your needs are fulfilled and you’ll have the capacity to develop discipline in the areas where it’s needed.