Do you, like most people, struggle with being self-disciplined? If so, you might ask yourself why. Not, “Why am I so lazy, inconsistent, incapable?” but rather “Why does being disciplined matter at all?”
Here’s the thing: discipline is not the end. If it becomes the end, you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands than your sloth or mistakes. You’ll become perfectionistic, self-loathing, and unbearable to be around. And you won’t get very far.
No. Discipline is simply a means to an end; it’s the bridge between where you are and where you want to be. And that desired future is what should be driving you, not the flurry of meaningless and unexamined expectations you’ve picked up along the way.
You’ve got to ask yourself why the sacrifice matters. What’s at stake? Does it actually matter to you? Why? And then ask why again. Really. And then keep asking it until you reach your core answer.
Most of us never dig that deep. We’re terrified to discover what’s down there. Maybe we find that we hate ourselves more than we realized. Maybe we uncover long-buried shame and regret. Maybe we learn we’ve been chasing someone else’s dream all along, and then what do we do?
But it’s not always bad. Your core why may be good – like, really good. In fact, it may be so good that it gives you the nuclear energy you need to transform your discipline from drudgery to delight.
But even if your core why is rotten, it can still be redeemed. After all, there can be no real change or transformation without an honest look at the truth. You have to start somewhere, and clearly skimming the surface and trying to produce more willpower isn’t working.
So stop beating yourself up and start asking what you’re after and why it matters. Do the inner work so you can do the outer work. Be brave. Be curious. Be honest. Be free.
Check out other articles on discipline by Dave Mierau: