When I was growing up, “discipline” did not have the same meaning it does for me today. Back then it meant punishment for something I did wrong, a harsh consequence for breaking rules. Today, thank goodness, it means a dedication or conscious practice to something significant, something meaningful in my life.
There are many activities or skill-building actions that require discipline before one is able to attain any sort of mastery or a level of success. Areas of skill involved can include mental focus, time management, financial resources, new ideas (or distractions), relationships, etc. The discipline is in the “stick-to-it-ive-ness” of the practice…to keep going toward a desired goal even when it’s boring, repetitive or frustrating. Discipline can also be exciting, confidence-building and stimulating as you witness your skills and practice being honed to a higher level and, thus, become the new starting point for even greater accomplishments.
I’ll be the first one to admit that my interests are varied, my skills diverse. As a result, my focus can shift from one project to another in a short period of time (within days, even hours and minutes), depending on what it is. This capability can be quite useful in my professional environment and work projects. However, it can also be frustrating when my intent is to accomplish just one thing and do it well, within a given period of time, but am instead directed elsewhere. The discipline is in returning to my original focus and intention as quickly as possible…and not giving up.
The doing of something well, through repetition, eventually becomes a discipline of another sort – a hobby, profession or expertise. The constant practice becomes a part of who you are and is done so well, so easily, that you no longer give much thought to the ‘how’ of it…you just do it. For example, I was taught to “always leave ‘it’ better than you found it”…whatever that ‘it’ might be…a campsite, a rented house or apartment, the world, a relationship, a job. This direction or discipline is now a part of who I am and I can do no less than my best. It says something about my integrity, credibility, commitment and quality of being, of my service to life (mine and others). I’ve also discovered that this is not a common practice in the world, which, I believe, makes it even more important that I continue in this manner, and teach and encourage this lesson to all who have ears to hear, starting with those closest to me (family).
I recognize that there are still many areas where concerted discipline will improve and expand my skills and consciousness…to enlarge my life. There is always room to grow!