Leveraging Discipline To Create Change

Posted: September 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” – Buddha

Many of us are plagued with poor habits that sap energy, keep us unhealthy and unproductive, and remaining in a cycle of apathy and regret.  I, too, admit that I’m still plagued with many poor habits that do me little or no good:  Staying up late, hitting the snooze button, drinking copious amounts of coffee or energy drinks (what would I do without them?!) just to stay awake, reading and re-reading motivational self-help guides, and various amounts of nicotine.  I can barely work on a single item at a time without surfing to some random corner of the internet to distract myself.

But it can’t be this way anymore.  I must become disciplined.

Discipline is more than just a routine for brushing your teeth and combing your hair.   Discipline is that strange paradox upon which a constant becomes a catalyst.  Discipline can give you a base, a solid foundation, from which you can place more structured building blocks of life.  Most of us are dogma and status quo wrapped around an internal landscape that looks like a shanty town.  We use our name brands, our slick hair cuts, and our cars as symbols of where we stand.  These are the things people see outwardly – and maybe we’re OK with that.  We’re comfortable with what people see, neither in the background nor standing out.

But you’re not really reading this because you want to fit in.  No, you want to turn that shanty town into a structure!  Surely, there is something more than just the shanty town you’ve created.  What do you want it to be?  It’s difficult at times to bring up the imagery, it takes a knowledge and – dare I say – discipline to know oneself enough to construct such a mental painting.  But you do know what lies within your foundation.  Please, seek it out.

Personally, I want an industrious and bustling river city.  Its borders hold a well-trimmed surround of nature mixed with the technology and comforts of a modern society, but with a flare of the rustic past that first settled its lands.

For me, this means being able to lose my self without being lost (the peacefulness of nature, but not the deep woods!), constant reflection upon the small changes towards a better life (the flowing river, bodies of water), maintaining my knowledge of general computing (technology – the industry I work in), and living in a state of sustainability with the strength and skills to match (rustic past).

So what is the path to leveraging discipline to create my world?

There is so much information out there that I haven’t tried, but fortunately (meh, maybe unfortunately) I’ve spent years bookmarking articles that resonated with me.  The themes of many such discipline articles tend to start out with some personal blurb – some profound loss, some (and this is no joke) based on the poor treatment of a cat by a cat nanny – and then they proceed to what the author thinks suits people well.  I’ll summarize my personal findings below:

  1. Morning Routine
  2. Exercise
  3. Meditation
  4. Passion
  5. Goal-Setting

Sometimes I feel like the articles written are a bit disparate.  That is to say, the numbered list is not always fully logical.  I’m no Vulcan (a Vulcan would not agree to all these human emotions anyway), but this above list makes the most sense to me, given the order that it is in.  Let me explain a bit further:

The Morning Routine

If you can’t start your day off right, how can you have a good day?  You need to own this time, and make sure you have a morning routine you enjoy – one that also prepares you for the rest of the day.  Maybe your routine can include…

Exercise

You’re going to need energy, and to get it you’re going to need to break down some barriers in your conditioning.  You don’t need to be a marathoner or body builder.  You do need to be able to run a few miles straight and perform any manner of body weight exercises.

Meditation

I have not mastered this, but instead reflect more so than meditate.  I’ve kept it in this list because I think what should be happening at this stage is a period of mind silence – a proverbial “reboot” of sorts.  Working on meditation will allow you to to switch off and to ease your mind.  I think exercise is a more important building block to accomplish before meditation as you can reach a fairly awesome state of mind through it alone.  It will also help cleanse your body of impurities.  Trust me on this one, meditating while hopped up on caffeine or nicotine is nearly impossible.

Passion

It is not until you have built the foundations of your lifestyle that you can follow-up on your passion.  It is not a hard-fast rule, but without a good day, a strong energetic body, and a clear mind can you have the tools available to pursue your desires to their greatest potential.  In fact, I’ve found that missing any of these pillars can make the journey nearly impossible – which is why I have yet to figure things out (by a lot).

Goal-Setting

If passion is your arrow, then goal-setting is your aim.  Don’t have a passion?  Make your goal as getting the first three pillars figured out first.  Once you do, it’s time to get out some paper and figure out the fourth.  I don’t have some kick-ass program for you to follow.  Remember –> I’m on this path right now myself.  I’m going to stumble, I’m going to fall, but this time I want to pick myself up again and go back at it.  I’ve done the “skipping years of my life and waking up in a life I didn’t know.”  It’s not a fun realization, and I don’t want that for you – or for myself any longer.

Discover your structure, your theme, your flow.  Let it guide you.

Man. Vicarious.

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