Hearing the word “discipline” is often enough to send a shiver down the spine of the best of us. When we hear that dreaded word, we think of suffering and foregoing pleasure. It conjures up thoughts of strict diets and living like a monk. Too often, we think of it as giving up the good stuff in order to achieve a particular goal, whether that be to save a certain amount of money, lose weight, attract a girl/ boyfriend or any other goal we may have in mind. The problem with this is that we achieve the goal, for example lose 10 kilos in weight, and then discipline goes out of the window so we gradually gain the weight back. We need to start thinking differently about discipline, seeing it as a powerful force for good, and a practice which we should adopt permanently, not just when we have something to gain.
Social Media “gurus” love to talk about discipline in term of struggle. Please don’t take them seriously. They will tell you, in their own jargon-filled way, how you can only become a billionaire through being strictly disciplined. Their version of discipline, however, often involves depriving yourself of sleep and giving up any time which you would usually spend socialising, instead sitting in front of a computer screen to work on becoming an entrepreneur. Their version of discipline is just plain wrong, not to mention dangerous to your mental and physical health. Even if following their plans and programmes makes you reasonably wealthy, you will need that money to undo the damage which this “discipline” has caused to your mind and body.
Discipline is not about achieving a specific goal, it is about making difficult decisions now which your future self will thank you for. Discipline is simply a matter of making choices in your own best interest. Choices that will give you the best possible quality of life. It’s about choosing your long-term health and happiness instead of immediate pleasure. It’s looking into the future, and making the choices which will give you the best quality of life long-term. In practical terms, it’s picking the chicken breast over the cheeseburger, going to the gym even though you don’t feel like it, saving 25% of your pay check every month…decisions which your heart and bank balance will thank you for.
Discipline is about crafting a future in which you consistently make the most appropriate choices, and experience sustained health and happiness.