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Defining self-discipline

We usually use this term when we describe a person that makes positive long-term decisions, by overcoming short-term temptations.

We associate this process with some sort of "will" or "willpower", though what these really mean is not that obvious.

1.29K

10.3K reads

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The product of our environment

Self-discipline is both an environmental and an individual problem: we can change our behaviors and beliefs through education, but the resources available for education are provided by our environment. Also, our habits are a product of what's available in the environment...

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5.56K reads

Making decisions

In every moment of our lives, we are making decisions on how to act. Problems arise when we have to choose between what's immediately gratifying and what is not, but will be in the future. 

The difficulty thus lies in delaying gratification.

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7.52K reads

The role of education

An individual can be changed through education.

We have so little control over the biology that determines our desires. But the part of our biology that is more malleable is our brain.

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6.04K reads

Dopamine and rewards

When we're deciding between immediate and delayed rewards, our brain chooses how much dopamine to send to each part of the brain (the limbic targets for immediate rewards and the frontocortical targets for the delayed ones) pragmatically by how pleasurable the reward is and how much time would ...

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5.69K reads

Behind decision-making

There are different factors behind every decision we make: genes, hormones, social environment, physical environment, past experiences, the context of the situation, etc. 

But the most immediate cause of any of our actions can be traced back to our brain activity.

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6.58K reads

The role of dopamine

The neurotransmitter called dopamine is more about the anticipation of a reward than it is about the reward itself.

Some specific cues found in our environment hint to a potential reward and dopamine starts to raise anticipation. So dopamine is the one responsibl...

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5.81K reads

Self-discipline and habits

Habits are the ones that mediate the relationship between our desires and our environment.

To change a habit, both we and the environment have to change, and that's why self-discipline is so hard.

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6.24K reads

The virtue of self-control

We have hold self-control as a high virtue since the earliest times, and that's why it is a staple in most religions and the moral of many myths.

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12.9K reads

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"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

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