What was the problem?
I had a flaw in my philosophy, in my personal mindset which I finally discovered and begun to fix. Consequently, my life is changing and transforming for the better! I was missing the key ingredient, the cornerstone, the foundation to transforming vision into reality. I did not have true discipline!
Essentially, I did not understand, apply and live discipline. I was ignorant! I did not know what I didn’t know. You may not either and I wouldn’t blame you. The missing piece to my puzzle was thanks to Jocko Willink’s podcast. the insights gained enabled me to reflect on my past failures and successes. Through his exploration of human nature, war and life, I learned what sacrifice has been paid and is still being paid for my freedom. I gained perspective! I understand and continue to learn that I am blessed beyond measure.
Living in the developed world with most of human knowledge at our fingertips via the internet, with food conveniently found at the local supermarket and with minimal or no threat to our person, how do we find time to complain? Why did I still blame instead of take extreme ownership? It’s absurd and a testament to the irrationality of the human condition. Relatively speaking, my challenges and most likely yours are almost insignificant compared to those who are entrapped in the darkness of this world. There are people who are starving at this moment in time. Some are being tortured. Others still are dying! Yet we in the light tend to forget or underestimate the evil and darkness that exists on our planet.
Discipline is the solution?!
How could I not be disciplined after internalising the stark reality from Jocko’s wisdom and the books which he investigates? Compared to the harsh experience of those who have lived before me and a significant number of people now, choosing discipline is a no-brainer! For so long, I had the misconception that discipline was like the yoke on an ox. I had fallen for the subliminal message that pain or discomfort was unnecessary, unwarranted and useless. Looking at the definition of discipline, it sounds strenuous, like a chore, almost unnatural, a punishment. How could I be so wrong? No one had ever told me the truth or if they did, not in a way that I understood the significance of what they were saying.
At first glance, it seems like a quality that could only be of use in the military or in some old-style Victorian era school. However, like with many things in life, appearances can be deceiving and I firmly believe that is the case here. Let me give an example. Suppose you have a long term goal that will require sustained effort. All well and good. You have a plan, a schedule to achieve that goal. It’s the start of your endeavour to change, you’re most likely feeling…enthused, at worst motivated. Classic example would be signing up to the gym after New Year’s festivities. Fast forward a few months and you’ve been to the gym a grand total of 7 times and it’s already the start of May. What could have gone wrong? You are nowhere near where you envisioned yourself being at this moment in time.
What happened? A strategy is great until you add in…you guessed it…real life. All sorts of things will come up…which you didn’t account for and in the moment, you will create an alibi, you will procrastinate, you will make an excuse and you will rationalise it all! After all, there’s always tomorrow, right? Except, tomorrow never comes! How can you fix this? How can you sustain the desire and action that will take you from now to the ideal you?
The answer is simple but not easy to implement. It’s discipline. Not discipline like you most likely know it. What is discipline? How is this discipline different? How is it defined? Simply, this discipline is freedom. It is the choice to be better in this moment. To take the high road. To embrace the strain, the challenge at hand. It is knowing that you have in you the strength to push and see your goal to it’s completion. It is an immersion in the process, it never ends. Day in, day out, come rain or shine. This discipline is about taking extreme ownership for yourself and your life. It’s about humility, knowing that whilst you have made some progress, you still have room for improvement. You can be stronger, faster and smarter. Why would you wait? This discipline is the super power that will ensure you get from A to B.
Frankly, it’s hard for me to describe the mindset change, the paradigm shift I have experienced. All I can attest to is the ease with which I have begun to conquer my goals. It has certainly not been easy. It is one thing knowing better, it is entirely another thing doing better and the transition took a few months. For those who are intrigued enough by my words, I highly encourage you to check out Jocko’s podcast and keep an open mind. For those who are already living the disciplined life, let’s continue to get after it!