April 21st 2019
Today was another busy Sunday at my day job. So this left me in silence to work and think. I like silence for that reason because it provides a kind of cognitive distance between your awareness and your problems. All day I could only think about discipline. I never knew what discipline meant as a child or teenager. But I never really gained a context for discipline until I started practicing guitar, and it didn’t evolve past that until I started to exercise.
It seems to me that discipline means your ability to put your priorities and your craft before your baser needs. To practice guitar scales instead of play video games. To train instead of watch television. My mother always said, “Do what you need to do before what you want to do, or you won’t get to do what you want at all.”
Definition of Discipline
- “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.”
- ” A branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education”
This first definition is reminiscent of policy towards raising dogs or cattle. Dealing in punishment and reward. Like you yourself are some kind of animal. If you stop to evaluate the human experience, it’s accurate to some degree. Often times rage or anger, can just be hunger, thirst, or exhaustion in disguise. On some level we do live by the means and laws of nature. We humans, being mammalian primates, are by extension affected by animal nature or instinct.
The second definition has a more positive implication. Discipline as I first found it. The studying, and the learning. Higher knowledge, slowing and consistently cultivating a craft. I won’t cherry pick though, both of these are immensely important. Animal nature leads way to vice and distraction. Distraction is the enemy of progress. Any artist, scholar, poet, or architect could gain benefit from mastering his or her own animal nature.
This is the true struggle, against oneself.
I try to start small and remember all of the little things. Make your bed, and brush your teeth. Comb your hair, and clean everything up before departure. Wash the clothes every week, and clean and dry the dishes. So as the days go these habits stick. But don’t be so hard on yourself that it stresses you out.
Your living space generally reflects order or chaos, however the real chaos is internal. Life can make you feel crazy, but sometimes simple strategies like organizing or decluttering can buy back sanity. Take back your mind by taking responsibility for your space. Similarly, getting rid of old things you no linger need can release hangups on an emotional level.
You’re not always going to feel like it, and often you really won’t. This is what separates motivation and discipline. As I have grown in discipline I can carry more good habits. Harder ones too. This brings me to my favorite of all things in discipline and thats exercise.
The Discipline of the Grind
Exercise is where my discipline flowed from. I wasn’t really doing enough with music in my late teens, and as I grew into my early twenties I started lifting weights. I loved the idea that if I just showed up, and consistently struggled against my obstacle, I will grow. The day by day evidence and feedback from my struggles fueled me. So I started to practice guitar the way that I would play. I started to research and learn this way too.
When I was very young my favorite games were role playing games, and my favorite part of the game was the grind. This was where you could go against constant enemies, and level up. This is how I choose to see being human now. So I keep a kind of attribute and skill list in my head, and I’m in love with gaining experience points.
Whatever grind you pick, whether it’s swimming, or running, or dancing. Even if it’s not physical, everyone has a thing. Each and every one of us has a love, or a passion that can be nurtured through discipline. I like the word “craft”. Guitar is my craft, so is writing, or singing. Without these disciplines or crafts, I would lose my purpose for existing. I would most certainly find another.
Discipline really could be at the heart of the soul of man. We like to be happy, but only rest when we are fulfilled. Fulfillment takes commitment and dedication. Distraction is the enemy. Fear, anger, envy, greed, all of these things give way to the breakdown of one’s own integrity. Day by day, moving closer or further away from one’s hopes and dreams.
I hope as I move forward to gain even more context and experience on the definition of discipline. But I don’t have hope for more discipline because that’s counter productive. Hope won’t do the thing that must be done. Only willpower, and discipline.
Thanks to all, I hope you’ve enjoyed
Until next time.