Self Discipline

Self Discipline

October 23, 2015 by in Hints and Tips Comments (2)

To be a success at anything requires effort and effort requires energy. If you are going to successfully make the transition to becoming a Digital Nomad, you are going to need to make yourself largely energy self-sufficient – from a motivation point of view.
Motivation can be delivered in two ways –


“Intrinsically” & “Extrinsically”

Intrinsic motivation is internal – you provide the factors which lead to your level of motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is when the factors leading to your motivation are provided externally.

When you work in an organisation, the structure of that organisation provides the sort of extrinsic motivation most people are used to, that is; the Management hierarchy provides the stimulus to get you to work on what is required. Continuing to be paid, receiving bonuses & awards – even a message of congratulations or acknowledgement of a “Job well done”, are all examples of extrinsic motivation.
Of course fear can also be a motivator – the threat of losing all of those things can also drive people to act!
That’s all very well and good but, what happens as you move up the Management chain is that there are fewer and fewer people that can provide extrinsic motivation – either in reward or punishment forms?

Do you think that people like Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Donald Trump & other successful entrepreneurs are reliant on extrinsic motivation to get them going?

No, these people, and many others like them, are largely self-sufficient when it comes to being motivated. Their motivation is intrinsic – they provide their own motivation and that is much more powerful & reliable when it comes to being motivated.
Intrinsic motivation is more powerful because it is more personal – after all, its source is you! That has to mean more than any external factors. You also have more control over it because you decide when its needed and you can apply it “In the moment”.
You cannot do that with extrinsic factors – if they are removed (something over which you may have little control), your motivation suffers and your energy (read enthusiasm) dips. When someone is too reliant on extrinsic motivation factors they find it difficult to keep up their high performance once the external source of their motivation is no longer available.

Everyone has a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators in their lives – really successful people understand the dangers of a reliance on extrinsic factors & so develop mechanisms to identify their intrinsic motivators.
Digital Nomads have to be self-sufficient when it comes to establishing the levels of motivation they need to “Get the job done”. Make no mistake, the lifestyle of a successful Digital Nomad is both a reward and a liability – it might be very pleasant to wake up each morning to warm sunshine and a sandy beach in the background but how do you resist the temptation to simply “Catch some rays” or go for a swim – even if you do promise yourself to get some work done “Later”?

The fact is, without motivation – and the self discipline to apply & act on it, you are not going to be able to resist those and the many other temptations a Digital Nomad faces every day!
So, how do you motivate yourself? How do you ensure that you have enough self-discipline to put in the effort required to be a success in this space?

Here are some suggestions that will help you with that:

  • Know your why: Understand the key difference between what you do & why you do it. Simon Sinek has a great TED talk on the power of knowing your why. Check it out on Youtube.
  • Do the hard stuff first: Get it out of the way early, when your energy levels are better able to cope with it. Putting it off just drains your energy as you constantly think about the difficult task that lies ahead.
  • Set goals: By setting goals you’ll know exactly what you need to do to achieve what you want in life. Goals turn wishes into reality.
  • Break tasks down: Attempting to tackle big jobs can be daunting but if that big job is broken down into smaller pieces those can then be done one at a time & that’s a lot more manageable.
  • Make yourself accountable: Nomads don’t go around playing the blame game. If something doesn’t work learn from it and move on but accept responsibility – after all you are the one who decided on whatever actions were taken in the first place.
  • Master time management: Learn to take control of your time -create a schedule that helps you to do things more efficiently.
  • Deal with procrastination: Do it now!
  • Reward yourself: If you have a major success or complete a task that’s been on your mind – celebrate & reward yourself!
  • Surround yourself with positive thoughts and people: Positive thinking is very powerful. Just telling yourself that you can do something is often all you need to get started. And when you’re around other positive people, they’ll support and encourage you to keep trying.

    Motivation is a complex subject, and motivating yourself can be difficult. By examining your needs, you can often change the way you view a task, and you can link completing it with something that’s intrinsically satisfying. You can also provide your own rewards, and change how you approach undesirable tasks to provide more extrinsic motivation.


    By using a combination of self-motivation tactics, you’ll motivate yourself to get those undesirable tasks done. Then you can get on with the parts of being a Digital Nomad that you enjoy – like being on the beach or reading a book or simply spending more quality time with those you care about!

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