Commit to what makes you better, on overthinking, the 3 types of discipline, do hard things

Hey! We are less than three weeks away from the new year.

This will be the second last email in 2023. I'll share my annual review in the final email of the year. I'm also making changes to this newsletter moving into 2024—more on that in the next email.

Here are two new book notes:

Commit to what makes you better

One life hack to improve your life is committing to something that forces you to become a better person. (It’s similar to making what’s good easier).

Take this newsletter as an example; it puts me in the position to consume great content consistently instead of binge-watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. Other examples are signing up for a marathon, enrolling in an online course, and joining a growing startup.

So, what's one thing you can commit to to make you a better person?

On overthinking

When we're overthinking, we're pretending to decide what to do. We're not. Instead, we're trying to eliminate the risks and consequences. We're not choosing an action because, more often than not, we know exactly what we need to get done.

Here's how Phil Stutz, author of the New York Times bestseller The Tools, puts it:

You will never get exonerated from three aspects of reality—pain, uncertainty, and hard work.

So ask yourself, "Do I know what to do?" when you caught yourself overthinking. If yes, do it now. You will never get rid of the risks and consequences of whatever you're going after. But action. Action reveals them so you get the feedback you need to move forward.

The three types of discipline

Here's a helpful way to think about discipline so we can better cultivate it:

  1. Structural discipline. The rules, constraints, and routines you put in place.
  2. Reactive discipline. It's how you respond to the day-to-day uncertainties and changes and how well you step into the gap between stimulus and response.
  3. Expansive discipline. How you step up and outside your comfort zone—knowing you're growing most when feeling uncomfortable.

Seeing discipline this way helps you build discipline not only when things are easy but also do what you say you will do even when you don't feel like it.

Do hard things

Doing hard things builds confidence. When encountering non-self-elected challenges, which you will, you know you can do it, and it will be worthwhile.

More importantly, doing easy things puts you in the head they win, tail you lose situation. Succeeding on easy things is unremarkable; failing on easy things is shameful.

Doing hard things is head you win, tail you lose. Succeed, you're a hero. Failed, you are still courageous enough to give it a try and learn something in the process.

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Dean is a strong voice in the self-mastery space. His newsletter consistently delivers insightful ideas on how to become a better version of yourself and is the only newsletter that I always read.

Sebastian Kade

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