Intentional discipline: the good and the ugly

Everything you want to accomplish in life requires intentional discipline. If you want to improve your nutrition, you need discipline; if you want to be in better shape, your discipline will get you there; if you want to write a book, ideas will flow and you’ll get the job done as long as you show up and rely on discipline more than motivation.

This buzzing concept encompasses good habits, results, self-realization, self-cultivation and much more. It all sounds great. However, paying a price is part of the deal, and this is where disenchantment takes place. This is the part that makes any individual struggle.

In any creative endeavour, intentional discipline is an essential component. On the one hand, you’ll find joy and satisfaction in the work you produce. On the other hand, some days are more difficult than others, and you don’t always have the same levels of energy to do the job.

Let’s explore the two sides of the coin.

The good things about intentional discipline

On my student days, I remember one of my instructors’ talk on drive. He assigned a few minutes of his class to talk about the importance of meditating why we wanted the things we wanted.

His unforgettable advice: before getting started on any project, it’s worth asking yourself: “how badly do I want this?” Once the answer is absolutely clear, discipline will allow you to:

  • Define the way small accomplishments look like. You set your own expectations and adjust accordingly to tell yourself when a win is a win.
  • Determine the steps to take and decide the pace at which you advance, as long as it’s a consistent effort.
  • Compound. Repeated efforts pile up over time. What you do today will have a great impact tomorrow.

The ugly parts of it

The colours of discipline are not always bright. The downsides come along at any point of your process. The ugly aspects involve:

  • Sacrifice. Sometimes, you will have to skip your TV time or weekend parties to work on your projects.
  • Evil days. You won’t always feel like getting things done. Some days you just want to relax. However, the true essence of discipline is exactly this: doing what you’re supposed to be doing even if you don’t feel like it.

Success is not about talent or luck. It’s about discipline, and it is part of a long-term game. It’s the only thing that gets the job done.

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