The self-discipline part is about rejecting immediate pleasure, relaxation and satisfaction for a higher goal. This lets you implement your decisions, be resilient in the face of failure and setbacks, and act with perseverance to reach your goals. It’s like weight training your mind. There are aches, pains, sweat and one hell of a pay off.
The self-determination part matters in all domains: work, family and social. It’s about autonomy, engaging meaningfully with others and performing “just right” challenges, the ones that stretch us without making us do the splits. Control people, and they do only what is required. Inflate people’s incentives, and they are prone to forego autonomy and to distort and destroy what matters most.
Here’s a 10-point quiz to assess how self-determined you are. Mark yourself from –10 to +10, add your score, and take it from there. Next up on the quest for happiness, we go from choice to action.
- My days are typically filled with fresh new ideas, sights and experiences.
- I can try out different activities to learn and grow.
- My life often gives me the opportunity to be curious, inquisitive and amazed.
- My days are filled with meaningful activities that I love doing.
- Most days I feel very productive.
- I am able to take time to be proactive and choiceful about my goals.
- My life provides me with the opportunity to take time with and care for other people.
- I really like the people I engage in activities with.
- I regularly review my activities and eliminate those that don’t make me happy.
- I am aware of my skills and abilities and my activities regularly give me the opportunity to enhance them.