The discipline of discipline

disciplineDid you know that a discipline is a kind of a whip? Quite literally.

It comes from a Middle-Ages Christian tradition of whipping yourself in order to purify your spirit.

It sounds absurd, particularly given the severe aversion to pain that most of us have these days.

These days, we tend to elevate every minor ache and every little discomfort to the level of suffering and do everything to mute, dull and avoid pain, even if it means that we’re simply sweeping our issues under the carpet.

So for us to take a whip and swing it at ourselves in earnest is a difficult sell.

discipline1Discipline is discomfort – there’s no way around it. And yet nothing can be accomplished without it.

If you look back at any of your accomplishments, you will see that it was the result of some sort of discomfort and pain that you chose to endure in order to attain the results you wanted.

But discipline IS hard.

One way of approaching it is by committing to become more disciplined.

This is usually accomplished by creating what in psychology is called a ‘commitment device’.

Let’s say your goal is to lose weight. A commitment device here could be to announce to all your family, friends and acquaintances that you are going to be 25 kilos lighter by next October – and that’s a promise! And then constantly post progress updates on social networks.

discipline2Another commitment device could be hiring a coach and paying him or her to keep you accountable.

The best option, however is a combination of self-discipline and external accountability.

We need to do everything we can to trick ourselves into consistently doing what needs to be done, regardless of how we feel about it.

One of the devices that I use to keep myself disciplined is meticulous planning of my activities on monthly, weekly and even daily basis.

In a way, my commitment to planning indirectly commits me to doing what needs to be done elsewhere in my life. I mean if there is a plan and if it’s in your face all the time, you can’t help but following it.

This way I only need to be disciplined about being disciplined – the rest takes care of itself! 🙂

I’ve created a Facebook page where I demonstrate how it all works for me and I provide resources for you to begin committing yourself to discipline.

Come and follow me at Alik Barsegian Exposed.

Leave a Reply