Word of the Day: Discipline
The word discipline piqued my interest when I heard it in a podcast recently. In the way it was used, I really connected to its sound and meaning, immediately inspiring me to look into it further, to figure out its potential power in creating positive practices in my life.
The definitions I found on it are not the most appealing and possibly match most people's initial association with the word:
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Discipline - [noun] the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.
[verb] train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.
Self Discipline - the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses.
Synonyms: self-control, self-mastery; restraint, self-restraint; will power, strength of will, firmness, firmness of purpose, purposefulness, strong-mindedness, resolution, resolve, moral fibre; doggedness, persistence, determination, tenacity
These didn't particularly evoke the way in which I really want to embrace this word. I like its use as a verb, though the idea of control may be a bit off-putting for some. What I more connect to though, are its synonyms and I think they capture the case of it that I want to put forward.
Purposefulness, strong-mindedness, resolve, persistence, tenacity - this is what it means to me. It's the ticket to our dreams by dissolving distractions, procrastination and stagnation. Discipline for me connects to our purpose, intent and strength. It is what we need in order to maintain focus and action on our positive intentions. It will help us to create structure of new habits, implement goals and commit to creating new paths.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn
Of course I've had a range of experiences with the concept of discipline; I was a competitive gymnast, a good student, a person with an eating disorder - I am more than familiar with its connotations of imposed rules, control and punishment. I have definitely been quite 'disciplined' in ways that were not particularly empowering or conducive to self loving personal growth.
Yet here I am, wanting to connect to it and use it to positively fulfill my life. And having gained a new appreciation of its potential, I'd like to encourage others to do the same.
When we have dreams and want to enhance our lives, it's all well and good entertaining ideas and intentions. But nothing changes if nothing changes. We need to cultivate the discipline to begin. The discipline to get out of our comfort zone and habitual rituals and instead choose to do something different.
Recently on Instagram (@daretolivesos) I was speaking about committing to new positive practices. This came from reading I've been doing lately, and has the function of creating more of what I want in my life. I'm meditating and practicing gratitude daily. I'm reading more and spending less time mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I feel more connected to the direction I want to go in and the freedom I intend to continue enjoying.
Without discipline, I wouldn't set aside the time to do these things. Honestly, it'd be very easy not to. I don't always feel like doing a meditation, even when I've started, sometimes I don't want to continue. Sometimes I can minimise the point of gratitude or writing or reading.
But I know full well that we can convince ourselves of anything and I recognise that making changes can come with resistance. That's why I think this word stood out to me. Because I can see that using it for myself, with compassion and understanding rather than punishment and control, will ultimately be the help I need to achieve my goals.
Discipline is like accountability and responsibility - sometimes they sound boring, annoying or unappealing - but I believe they all have a place in encouraging us to show up and do what we want to have done.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
How could discipline assist you?
If you were to redefine it in a way that stems from self-love, could you use it to your advantage?