The human mind is powerful. However, it is amazing how fast we can find creative excuses to refrain from utilizing its might. Discipline is the most important tool we use to control our inherent laziness and really, to complete any task in life—as simple as getting out of bed every morning.
If you really think about it, discipline is probably the most important tool (following curiosity, of course) the human race was given, and our evolution—both historically and in modern times—proves this beyond doubt. Discipline is what helps one focus on a task, whether it is mental or physical. It is the action of applying oneself to the process needed in order to achieve a goal.
The dictionary definition of discipline is as follows:
dis·ci·pline | noun
the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. Discipline is the quality of being able to behave and work in a controlled way which involves obeying particular rules or standards.
I like to look at discipline in a somewhat different way: emotionally, discipline is similar to a hook. It is a little foreign object that irritates you; it isn’t exactly a tasty morsel—in the back of your mind you know it isn’t a rewarding treat on its own, and could even be extremely challenging. It is very easy to push this irritation away and keep doing what you’re doing. But if you apply a sliver of effort and nudge yourself to take the hook despite the irritation, you can change everything. I feel that punishment isn’t necessary for the development of discipline. Instead, the hunger for change—or unhappiness with the current situation—will propel it, and rewards along the way will make it stronger.
Ingredients for well-cooked, long lasting discipline
· 1.5 cup hunger (or desire for change)
· 1 dash effort (more if needed)
· Rewards for garnish
One’s personality might dictate the amounts of effort needed to “take the hook”: a timid personality in a fighter might mean that discipline is needed to put on a brave face in the ring, to hide your apprehension from your opponent. That timid fighter may have an easier time applying discipline to his/her training than to stepping into the ring. A bodybuilder might have a hard time leaning out for a show and will need to apply discipline to refraining from certain foods, or to getting their cardio sessions in every day. Some of us focus our discipline on getting the rest we need for proper recovery, and others focus it on showing up to our gym sessions—in other words, discipline is necessary when one has to accomplish something that does not come without effort.