HomeWorkProductivityMake Discipline Effortless — Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Flow States

Make Discipline Effortless — Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Flow States

I lived in Hindu Vedic ashrams and Buddhist monasteries across India, England, and Australia.

No monastery had a bar that served Mojito’s (at times I wish they did.) And there were certainly no shops selling H. Upmann №2 Cuban cigars in any of the ashrams.

Instead, they create an environment that supported a spiritual seeker to find answers to their fundamental questions.

Whether you are a spiritual seeker or an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home dad, creating an environment that supports discipline is crucial to success.

Dan Koe was onto something when he said:

The secret to self-discipline is to avoid environments that make it difficult and create environments that make it effortless.

1. Create environments that make discipline effortless

Turns out you don’t need to go to David Goggins and force yourself to run through a desert while you have a fractured leg to be disciplined.

An alternative view you may like to try is creating an environment that supports your needs getting met and one that helps with slipping into a flow state.

A psychologist that wasn’t on the front cover of Time, nicknamed the ‘Father of Flow’, thankfully imparted some knowledge that doesn’t involve desert crossings on one leg.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi started out studying poor starving artists. He noticed their ability to be consumed in their activity to exclusion of all else around them. He found flow states had 8 parts.

Mihaly on the left — By Striker Sándor — Emailben Demetrovits Zsolttól, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14916262

Another psychologist found that when your basic needs are met, you naturally proceed to more subtle and advanced pursuits.

Abraham Maslow discovered when basic needs are met self-actualization, success, motivation, and peak experiences take place. The theory is called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

By Androidmarsexpress — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93026655

When you are doing something you love with full attention, you don’t need force and a supportive environment contributes to this.


Organize your house that allows for easy and minimal noise and distraction.

What do swamis and Marie Kondo have in common? They don’t have unnecessary crap lying around the house.

The beauty of living a minimal lifestyle is ease. It allows for finding things simple so no panic arises when trying to find your keys when rushing out the door.

A silent environment allows for deep concentration, a prerequisite of flow. Either avoiding having a TV or time block for certain shows.

Your essential nature rests in silence. Go there and wonder.


In nonviolent communication, safety is one of the 3 basic needs of a human.

Have a job that is challenging, financially rewarding, and, if possible, interesting. Note this can take several years to establish.

I have to change jobs several times over the last 2 years due to strict bat flu mandates in Australia. As such, a lot of time was taken away from spending time on other, more enjoyable, and productive tasks.


Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou have and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1 scene 3

Surround yourself with people with similar values, goals, and interests. You will talk about these things.

Your thoughts are to keep on those higher topics and interests you value when around such people, and that’s all they want to talk about.


We met the level of esteem on the hierarchy of needs through self-recognition of your successes.

You need to see yourself as being successful.

In your home, have your goals written up in a highly visible area. Including the bite-size tasks that will take you toward those goals.

I have a large whiteboard in my lounge room.

When you see you are ticketing off your accomplished tasks, you feel inspired to do more. Success breeds success.

Flow state requires your goals to be challenging but within your means of achievement.


Live and breathe in a life that is focused on your moral values. Maslow considered this to be one of the highest human pursuits.

This is a list of do’s and don’ts that are specific to your goals and lifestyle.

This enables flow to take place through doing those tasks that are intrinsically rewarding.

2. Avoid environments that make discipline difficult

In the 1970s, there was a psychologist that gained a cult-like status. He got himself on the front cover of Time magazine.

His theory has been the lifeblood of the evil modern-day marketers around the world that created fragmentation of people’s ability to focus their attention.

Thus consumers find it hard to focus on the long-term consequences of their actions.

B. F. Skinner is the psychologist, who found that what he thought at the time was a blanket rule for all humans, that when rewarded for an action, a human will continue to do that behavior, repeatedly.

Irrespective of the negative consequences.

Picture of B. F. Skinner — By Silly rabbit — self-made (by User:Silly rabbit). Updated in the Gimp by User:Michaelrayw2., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115478248

Negative environments appear to give you a quick reward but can have negative consequences.

Delete ‘tranquilizers’

These are low-hanging fruit but need to be said. Switching on Netflix when you are tired. Playing on your phone. Eating junk food. This continues to numb you to your negative feelings.

Bars & nightclubs

Hanging out in bars and getting drunk feels good. Especially when you get chatting with someone you find attractive. But the consequences of a handover and an STD aren’t so appealing.

One positive that came from covid shutdowns was not being able to meet up with friends at bars. As such, we would meet up at the local walking track.


A vampire lives by sucking human blood. If you get bitten, you become one.

Gossiping feels exciting at the time, but it never ends.

Organization & clubs

My sister took my niece to their welcoming basketball get-together before the season starts. There were a couple of hundred ballers and their parents. The president of the club said that they favor the boys over the girls at this club because when the girls get to the age of 16, they spend their time chasing boys.

Choose your organizations and clubs wisely.


Avoid Costco and Walmart.

They sell highly processed foods with little nutritional value. Shop at health food stores that sell organic fruit and vegetables.

Final thoughts

While David noggin and his army of devoted minions do stretch their minds to the limit with difficulty (a pre-requisite for flow), his feats are done via force.

When you have to force yourself to do things, there is an underlying resentment and anger that you carry. And you will remain on the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs.

When your environment and lifestyle are aligned with your goals, there is a sense of safety and ease that permeates your sense of being. These radiate out into the world.

And effortless success is sure to follow.

[td_block_21 block_template_id="td_block_template_1" custom_title="READ THIS NEXT"]
[td_block_1 f_header_font_transform="uppercase" ajax_pagination="" block_template_id="td_block_template_1" m4f_title_font_family="394" m4f_title_font_weight="700" m6f_title_font_family="394" m6f_title_font_weight="700" sort="" offset="5" m4f_title_font_size="eyJhbGwiOiIyMCIsImxhbmRzY2FwZSI6IjE4IiwicG9ydHJhaXQiOiIxNiJ9" m4f_title_font_line_height="1.3" custom_title="Related Stories"]

Coming Soon

no posts