This morning, I finished Ryan Holiday’s latest book Discipline is Destiny. Much of my writing in the last two weeks has been inspired by the ideas of this book, from an understanding of body, mind, and spirit - and how to lead a disciplined life.
I enjoy the combination of reading and writing, each serving as a counterweight of knowledge in to information out. I’ve tried to be very conscious during this stretch of daily writing to ensure that there is balance in that equation. I want to learn enough to enhance my perspectives, while sharing enough to learn the information more fully.
As it goes, “You never really know something until you can teach it to someone else.” I respect the opportunity to put that into practice, now more than ever.
First, I recommend that you read Holiday’s book (and collection of other books, if you haven’t already). You can also listen to the audiobook, which is read by the author. Second, I hope that whether you read the book or not, you can embrace the power of discipline in your own life, as we will discuss a bit today.
“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” (Seneca)
Discipline is much more far-reaching than simply doing what you said you would do.
It spans from small decisions that compound, to the thoughts and actions that reflect character and ultimately, inform your destiny. Consider discipline in your own life...
1. Would you consider yourself a disciplined person?
If so, are you disciplined for the right reasons (the difference of punishing yourself through rigidity and holding yourself to a high-standard through good intention)?
If not, what are some small ways that you can instill discipline into your daily life (think easy wins to get momentum moving in your favor)?
2. Does your discipline primarily favor one aspect over another?
Think of discipline in three ways: body, mind, and spirit. Are you acting in a manner that respects your entire being?
3. Where is your discipline leading you?
Don’t be disciplined for the sake of being better than a less disciplined person. Think about the life you want to lead. The impact you dream of having, and the gifts you can share with the world. The disciplined life is one of purpose - and for the undisciplined, their potential will never be fully realized.
“If you don't know where you're sailing, no wind seems favorable.” (Seneca)
I’ve said this about consistency and I’ll say it again about discipline (as consistency is simply a product of discipline): It’s not perfection that we’re after, it’s progress.
We need to establish a structure that promotes gradual movement in a desired direction, not abrupt shifts that throw us from one end to the next. Discipline promotes this form of momentum. You can’t rush it - and I’d venture to say it can’t be forced either.
Approach discipline with a calm demeanor, remain level-headed, and be intentional about making the next action the best it can be.
“Discipline isn’t just endurance and strength. It’s also finding the best, most economical way of doing something. It’s the commitment to evolving and improving so that the tasks get more efficient as you go.” (Ryan Holiday)
Perhaps my greatest takeaway from this book is to not always view discipline as more.
Discipline doesn’t mean working longer, sleeping less, and sacrificing more. For many well-intentioned, driven people, discipline may actually mean pulling back; finding a better way forward, and adopting a sustainable, productive approach for all that lies ahead.
For now, I’ll leave my thoughts there. I encourage you to not only read Holiday’s book for a greater understanding of discipline, but more importantly to instill practices of discipline into your own life.
It seems accurate to say that no person of success, achievement, and positive influence can attain (and more importantly, maintain) this impact without discipline being a core tenant to their lives.
If you aspire to be a light in the world, to do important work, and fulfill your potential - discipline is the way forward.
Note to Self: Become a practitioner of the self through discipline.