What is Discipline?
Discipline of any sort, has more to do with, how we function, rather than something we follow to make it happen. What we follow as discipline, is necessarily the building block towards how we function in the world. A man of discipline is usually a man of few words. Discipline is the furnace in which our entire character is molded. The principles and the guidelines towards building the character are the raw materials which are cast into the furnace of discipline. The intentions that shape our character is the mold and the character that gets reflected as we mature into disciplined beings, is the light that lights up the area of our influence as we even walk past in space-time. Thus discipline, self-discipline to be exact, is the process-creator of our persona and aura that leaves its mark, its impact on our own selves and the world around us. Discipline in the final run, when empathetically applied to life also is the giver of joy, inner maturity, peace and happiness. It’s an entire system that has to be applied to life. Many people do not choose to apply discipline to their lives and by personal choice they remain disjoint, broken, casual, callous and degradable beings as they pass through lives spreading vibes of negativity, falsehood and day-dreaming in the world. Whenever there is an absence of discipline and order in one’s life, chaos takes over and predictability of outcomes become bleak and withered.
Nothing can do without discipline
Discipline is definitely not pseudo-liberal freedom. It is definitely not doing what one pleases driven by the wanton and vicious mind where a dwarf dreams of trampling the moon under his tiny feet. A conman raise hopes in the minds of people by showing them dreams. Politicians encourage people to vote for them on the promise that they will deliver certain work during their regime. But the question is, even if politicians were not lying, how can any work be delivered in a world that lacks discipline? Making promises in a world that does not understand the value of discipline is a lie. Discipline cannot stand in isolation from the activities for survival and excellence. One can never talk about business, occupations, spiritual endeavors, relationships or any aspect of living discounting discipline. The functioning of the world is orderly in the midst of chaos, as the Creator has designed it. However, unless man imbibes the discipline existing in Nature within his life, he cannot progress as a being walking towards highest realization. Thus discipline or self-discipline is an indispensable aspect of life.
What does it take to be disciplined?
Unless one takes up self-discipline seriously, life will just pass by leaving a gloomy feeling within. It is better that one takes this great opportunity of life and mold oneself into a disciplined student of life. The following are some important points to be taken care of, to live a fulfilling self-disciplined life.
Have long-term goals and a purpose
Life should have a purpose, a goal not for the sake of success, profit or gain but for a sense of direction that will start regulating the way we live. A waterfall that simply spills over the rock can come to no use. The water will just get wasted. If real value is to be obtained, it should be put to good use. Building a damn or reservoir is a good idea. Energy of life, unless it is directed and conserved for a higher purpose, shall be a sheer waste of a great opportunity to feel and excel in energy. Having long-term goals such as trying to learn skills or methodologies of work, education or study is a way of regulating life energy and getting prepared for higher engagement. It is also a way of setting the right track so that the journey becomes more enjoyable and worthwhile. So the journey towards the goal is more important than the goal itself. One has to glue oneself in the presence of the journey. First things first; setup a worthwhile goal.
Have a methodology to attain it
The next step is to find out one’s weaknesses and strengths. If we have too many weaknesses, it will be better to play to our strengths and then work on the weaknesses which are less compared to the strengths. If one has too many weaknesses, we shall just burn too much fuel, without getting anywhere. For example, if we are natural singers and enjoy it, it shall be a waste of time working towards becoming an athlete, that too if we do not have athletic interests. It will be better to hone skills in singing, taking right classes, learning from teachers etc. This shall concentrate our energies and regulate it towards a great build-up.
Develop skills to execute the methodology
The next step is of course getting down to work. Whenever one is disciplining oneself, it should be understood that undertaking work methodologies or setting up goals are mere tools that help us getting disciplined. If we are to graduate as good singers, we have to commit ourselves and get to the act of singing and rehearsing with regularity, punctuality and dedication. Doing it as nicely as possible is also an important factor. Practising improperly is indiscipline. These factors will determine the ABC of getting disciplined.
Have daily practices that will sharpen the axe
When one gets committed to the work, the important aspect of getting disciplined in the process is to excel in the process. The process of excelling should not be confused with the aspect of expecting great results of work or paying too much heed to the outcome of work or attaining skills. What is more important is the very journey of acquiring a skill or implementing work. If the effort, methodology and practice is correct naturally the outcome has to be proper. These are aspects relating to the nitty gritty of applying the mind in all sincerity. When the result of employing a skill or work is joy, which should be considered as a result, irrespective of whether you win a medal in the external world or on even being rejected or turned down. When honing skills is accompanied with a humble, non-competitive mindset, the disciplining of work shall translate into the disciplining of the mind and intellect, which is the purpose of all disciplining. One has to sharpen the axe with sustained practice and regularity. When such disciplining is employed, this can be called true self-discipline.
Be clear of the dos and don’ts
There are certain do’s and don’ts with regards to self-discipline. Self-discipline is internal. It has nothing to do with the external world. One has to be focused on becoming neat and organized as one is employing work, although the work or skill may have an external manifestation. Work or skill is not for comparison with others. One can learn and upgrade one’s self-discipline by learning other’s work or other’s skills but should never go into comparing or competition. Excellence should be the goal and excellence is only measured with the joy in the heart without having any frills of comparison in the external world. The more mind gets refined, the more discipline gets established within. Another great contributor towards satisfaction in self-discipline is an attitude of gratitude and having great humility in the heart. When such an attitude is harnessed in the heart, stress shall ease out and discipline will be natural and effortless. This is one of the greatest secrets of skill-development.
Do not be focused on profit loss
The highlight of self-discipline is that one has to free oneself from the pressures of the external world and competition. Money should never be a driver for work or skill, rather the only motivation for any work or skill should be excelling in it, employing practice and using the right techniques. When comparison or fear of money arises in the mind, it should understood that one is losing one’s focus and discipline. The mind is allowing itself to be distracted towards non-essential or non-functional aspects which is draining the power of discipline. In fact, in all such cases discipline has been compromised.
Self-restraint is an important aspect in life which cannot be discounted. Self-restraint is like the bunds in a field. If self-restraint is not maintained, no amount of self-discipline can be employed. If one is corrupt or given to the evils of flesh or develops lowly habits, developing a skill will have no value. It can be bought and transacted at the value of pebbles. All that one has invested in making oneself skilled, shall be of no value. More so, if someone has developed inappropriate habits, skills will desert that person and one shall become a slave of habit or become a slave of one’s senses. This shall be a heavy compromise on self-discipline. One must ensure that the bunds of self-restraint have to be incorporated as one is disciplining oneself.
Never lose focus
Losing focus on skills has something to do with inattention and weaknesses. When the mind becomes interested in something which is frivolous, it means that discipline is slackening and seriousness of life is being discounted. Self-discipline is also an aspect of harmony and joy of the heart. This is an undeniable fact. If one is losing focus, one has to mull over it and find out as to why one is getting distracted. Becoming unconscious to this fact can make discipline trickle away from one’s life. This can hamper quality of life to a great extent.
What is the final goal?
The final word of discipline or self-discipline is self-actualization. Even through work and skill development one can discover the deepest purposes of life. Spirituality is a direct method while self-discipline in Work or Skill is an indirect but an engaging methodology towards self-actualization. Self-Actualization is the process of discovering one’s true potential through the medium of engaging in practices that one loves and by being good at it through self-discipline and application. As one outgrows the skills and work through continuous application, one shall realize one’s liberated condition. Although this is a tall ask purely through skill and work development, if one applies the principles of spiritual discipline into self-disciplined work, the possibilities of self-actualization becomes largely possible.