NOTE: THIS IS PART V OF MONDAY MOTIVATION INSIGHTS
Discipline isn’t exactly the most popular kid on the block. In fact, it’s more like that annoying dweeb that gets chosen last for every team: Useful for copying homework and surviving exams, but otherwise really annoying.
You probably never invited him to your birthday party, unless your parents made you: “He’s such a nice kid! You just have to invite him? Be good, now!”
At best, discipline is considered to be something to rebel against. Cue the Marseillaise, of to the Guillotine with him!
Poor kid. I can relate.
Discipline isn’t popular with the personal development circus, either.
Especially among its more pseudo-spiritual acts. Maybe cause it’s bad for sales:
The Fixed Mindset holds a killer trap with regard to the idea of being more disciplined.
This is it: If I have to be good, the idea of needing more discipline means nothing short of failure: “If I were good, as I should be, I wouldn’t need to develop more discipline. I’d already have it.”
So as soon as somebody suggests that I should work on developing discipline, what I hear is: “You’re not good. You’re not enough as you are. You’re a failure.”
Of course, my self-image requires that I see myself as already perfectly good. Cognitive dissonance ensues:
I either have to challenge my self-image, or I have to dismiss the source of what I just heard.
99 times out of a 100, the self-image wins.
Hence, talk about discipline in anything but the broadest terms, and almost no one will buy your stuff.
While we’re at it — discipline is kinda like money:
One is supposed to have it, and speaking about it is considered rude, since that could inadvertently reveal that I might be lacking it.
In related news, 99% of people wouldn’t mind having a bit more of it.
Likely because all sincere personal growth as well as any sustained joy in life depend on conscious effort first.
Later on, a lot of life may flow really nicely and things seem to happen pretty much effortlessly. But that is because a strong foundation of discipline was built first. Once it’s set, it runs pretty much on autopilot.
Now, the default setting of our brains says that survival of the species depends on energy conservation and risk minimization. So it would only have us move if it’s absolutely necessary for survival, or if moving has a huge upside, like getting lots of sex, or anything leading up to sex. Even if the only reason that getting it feels related to sex is that we’ve seen enough advertising to program us in that way.
Everything that lies beyond our comfort zone requires discipline.
Unfortunately, it is also true that “life only begins at the edge of our comfort zone”.
Take a breath, then please pause to really consider this. It’s the only thing I’ll ask of you today, so please, take a minute:
What does discipline mean to you? What’s your relationship like?
Very loving, open, trusting?
More along the lines of parties that happen in dungeons with lots of leather-clad people in attendance? (Although those can be very loving, open and trusting, too, I guess.)
All-out open war?
My own relationship used to include all of the above.
Condensed into the general idea that discipline means forcing myself to do something I don’t want to do, but should.
There’s another way of being disciplined, though.
More on that – tomorrow :-).
Here are the main differences between the two, though:
One uses force, one uses power.
One enacts what amounts to self-hate (If I don’t do this, I’m bad), the other springs from self-love (I do this because I take good care of myself)
One is imposed from the outside (You have to do this), the other comes from the inside (I choose to do this).
One comes from trying to survive. The other from being deeply alive.
- If you do want to dive deeper before tomorrow, please check out this article by Guy Finley, and see how it relates to what we spoke about here. It might take some digging to see it, but — that’s what makes it worth it ;-)
- In related news, look’s like the Agile Way of Getting Things Done is back: