Week – #20 Discipline a Path to Success

This week I am focusing on discipline. I will find more of it too. I grew up where if someone had to say it twice the consequences were felt immediately.  I learned quickly and discovered how to avoid negative attention. My childhood discipline was useful in my naval career.  The ability to follow directions, correctly, the first time was useful on board a submarine.  I am disciplined in many things and I do not suffer certain kinds of motivation well.
Discipline is another mountain with no top. There is always more and better.

It will take years to go through the entire list of values and virtues if I only do them all once. Some of these will deserve my attentiveness more than once.  We all want to do more than just survive. We want to thrive on our own terms.  That means, when it has appeared for me, an experience of contentment both on the inside and in the world around me.  The people in my life and I agree that I have succeeded and I am happy without any disappointment, sadness or regrets present.

I have had it appear with an unsettling background of sadness however.  That ‘that’s it, that’s all’ refrain or is that part of the mountain with no top?

A person can only continue to create results that do not serve them, whether internal or discipline3external, if they are blind to how the results are created – that is, if they are creating them unconsciously.  – Bill Harris

Unconscious success may be good enough for some but not for me.  The trouble with programmed discipline is it becomes unconscious.  I have not discovered how to implement it consciously on my demand.  This is not some kind of reality and perception mismatch either.

All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord. – Earl Nightingale

“Of their own accord” is the part I’d like more say about.

disciplineYourSelfThe trouble I have is the ‘gap’.  It is that space between knowing what to do and then doing it.  Programmed discipline, like doing what needs doing when a fire starts in your space is very useful.  Picking up the phone and dialing for an objective loses something for me based on programmed discipline.

The ‘gap’ when closed is nearly instantaneous from knowing to action.  When it is not closed, I see myself filling it with ‘stuff’ and calling it procrastination is just lazy thinking.  Sometimes I think a bridge over the gap might work too. Only as long as it is permanent, quick and easy to accomplish but then closing the gap seems, especially from experience, the best and most effective way.  How to help others see how to get it done is part of the quest. Is that even possible or does everyone have to learn how on their own and only after they make the choice to learn?

Multiple guess and true/false teachings have taught us to eliminate far too much possibility.  I no longer believe in the tortoise and the hare choice. I suspect you need to learn both, be both, do the one that is appropriate for the conditions today.  Same for the fox and the hedgehog choice but maybe you like simple, programmed which for me is always a background of something is missing.  The other possibility is satisfaction is fleeting, temporary and a figment of the imagination.

What closes the gap today! What did it yesterday frequently no longer works today.  disiplineisbridgeInspiration and insight from yesterday work for a time, maybe even days or weeks and then they only fill it. The more I fill the gap the more difficult it is to close it. Knowing that does not seem to make a difference either.  Knowing the second I take action, close the gap, all the angst, dread or whatever is massaging the subconscious will disappear, does not make it easier to close the gap. And, sometimes that is all it takes to go into action.

Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to. – John Wooden

Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities. – Bertrand Russell

discipline-1Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness. – May Sarton

Error is discipline through which we advance. – William Ellery Channing

There is no magic wand that can resolve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline. – Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others. – Tryon Edwards

Now I also discipline myself to do things I love to do when I don’t want to do them. – Edward James Olmos

I don’t do anything the same every day. Discipline is tough for a guy who is a rebel. – Jonathan Winters

We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice. – Apolo Ohno

Any clues on discipline you can offer?


13 thoughts on “Week – #20 Discipline a Path to Success

  1. A great article ….and here are a couple more of my favourite quotes on discipline:

    “Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” – Thucydides

    “Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “Discipline isn’t a dirty word. Far from it. Discipline is the one thing that separates us from chaos and anarchy. Discipline implies timing. It’s the precursor to good behavior, and it never comes from bad behavior. People who associate discipline with punishment are wrong: with discipline, punishment is unnecessary.” – Buck Brannaman

  2. Michael, I liked this post quite a lot. There are a lot of quotes and thought and advice on the topic of “self-discipline,” but I think this short quote by Napolean Hill says it all:

    “If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self ~Napoleon Hill”

    Thanks for a thought-provoking start to my week!

  3. A little discipline can go a long way. Discipline doesn’t come to us in equal measured amounts every moment of every day. The discipline we apply to our lives/objectives when all is going according to plan and things are looking good comes too easy to have much value, it’s that last, tiny, scrap of discipline you muster up in your darkest hour, when hope is all but lost that matters most … and changes one’s destiny!

  4. Really thought-provoking blog this week. For me, it seems the subtext is a contemplation of being present and living deliberately. In the 20th century we seemed to mix up the idea of exercising a discipline with exercising a work ethic and self-control, to the point where the word discipline acquired a ‘no pain, no gain’ meaning. One is hardly allowed to enjoy an acquired skill before one is off, looking for the next challenging ‘discipline’ or seeking to teach it to others. But how can society simply enjoy the skilled discipline of a ballet dancer if she is too busy with self-examination to demonstrate her current level of expertise? And isn’t self-control a matter of degrees? If one were reliably informed that an achievement is equally virtuous whether it is obtained through happy, effortless self-observation or painful, demanding self-flagellation, how truly would one take that to heart? How much discipline would it take to resist trying to disprove the rule, or suffer more than necessary because of an internal ego-script? As Mark Twain said “Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins”. Perhaps mindfulness can perhaps only be a permanent poise if one is detachedly delighted by life’s expression, rather than condemning the self as if we should be conscious breathers. “The other possibility is satisfaction is fleeting, temporary and a figment of the imagination” is the zen alternative. Like you, I doubt that the skilled swordsmen of Japan objected to reaching a level of expertise where they effortlessly observed their skills in action and either watched the next skill unfold or corrected their course in motion. Discipline of the mind is the ultimate challenge.

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