Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles There's a widely-held belief that self-discipline means being able to do something when you don't actually want to do it. People who believe this think that self-discipline means going to the gym, reading books, or eating chicken and broccoli when you don't actually want to. For them, self-discipline means ignoring your authentic-self in favour of your ideal-self. But this view of self-discipline is completely deluded. Imagine that you've been taken prisoner by a criminal, and the criminal starts making demands of you. He says, "Cook me dinner. Now clean my house. Now go sleep in that corner." If you do these things even though you don't want to, if you suppress your authenticity in favour of his ideal, does that make you disciplined? Or does it just make you a really good slave? An obedient prisoner? And what do you think will happen to you as you live more and more like a prisoner, continuing to do things that you don't want to do, suppressing your authenticity in favour of his ideal? Will you love your master and be happy? Or will you become resentful, angry, and full of sadness, regretting the life you never got to live? Obviously, the answer is the latter. Suppressing your authenticity comes at a cost. I know this from first-hand experience. There was a time in my life when I lived very inauthentically. Instead of following my sincere desire to become a psychologist and philosopher, I studied engineering. I neglected my authentic-self and followed the ideals of society. I thought I was doing what I should do in order to succeed and be respected by society. And in order to follow society's ideals, I had to repress my authentic-self. I told myself that psychology and philosophy were a waste of time, even though I felt called to study them. I told myself a life full of money was more important than a life full of purpose. And I told myself that society, and the people around me, knew what I should want out of life better than I do. And by repressing my authentic-self, I became out of touch with my own true feelings, desires, and instincts. And this loss of connection took a very real toll on my health, causing me to develop lots of GI issues. For a deeper look at the science behind the connection between authenticity and health, I recommend reading Dr. Gabor Mate's new book, _The Myth of Normal_. Suppressing your authenticity will always take a real cost on your health. Forcing yourself to do things you don't want to do is not self-discipline. It's slavery, and every slave eventually becomes resentful, revengeful, and regretful. Sacrificing your authenticity for society's ideal will make you miserable, not happy. And no matter how long you force it, you will always eventually fail in the long-run. And that's a good thing too, because who wants to live their whole life as a slave? So what does it really mean to be self-disciplined? A truly self-disciplined person is a disciple of themselves. They're an eternal student. Rather than trying to suppress, repress, control, or force their genuine feelings in a specific direction, they try to understand them. And through understanding, they learn how to allow their authentic-self to flourish. And by allowing their authentic-self to flourish, they live lives of wholeness and happiness—not resentment and regret. But how does someone become a disciple of themselves in the first place? By discovering their own ideals, not society's. They follow their own interests and confront the challenges that they personally feel called to confront. They walk a path that is their own, not the path society has laid out for them. They pursue what they genuinely want, not what society tells them to pursue. For the person who becomes a disciple of themselves, self-control is never an issue. There are no issues of control, because there is nothing to control. They move as one harmonious unit. If you force yourself to do things you don't want to do, if you follow society's ideal, your ideal-self will repress your authentic-self. You will become a slave in your own body, and your body will take its revenge. But if you become a disciple of yourself, if you understand your own genuine feelings, desires, and nature, if you discover your own ideal, your ideal-self will work harmoniously with your authentic-self to promote growth. So here's the secret to self-discipline. Self-discipline is not about forcing yourself to meet society's ideal, but rather becoming a student of yourself. It's about discovering your own ideal and allowing your authentic-self to flourish.