Language is a funny thing sometimes. Understanding how our brain “hears” stuff is actually very important. Take this concept of being disciplined versus self-discipline. They’re pretty much the same meaning aren’t they? Or are they?
Being disciplined can mean that you are disciplining yourself to do stuff. You’re being disciplined when you go to the gym each morning. You are being disciplined when you hold your tongue instead of arguing. You’re being disciplined when you save instead of spend.
But what is the mind really hearing? Does it hear that you’re being disciplined or does it hear that you’re being punished? Because when someone else disciplines us, it’s a punishment isn’t it? We’ve done something wrong so now we are being disciplined. Is that what our mind’s are hearing? Because if it is, no wonder we have a problem keeping our promises to ourselves.
Self discipline is being deeply committed to focus on what you really want versus what you want right now. It sounds like a choice right? Because it starts with the word “self” it’s like we’ve made the choice to be disciplined rather than someone else (even ourselves) forcing us.
The concept of self discipline is best known as the Law of the Seed. When you plant seeds in the ground, you need to water them, provide them nutrients like sunlight and soil, and be patient. That is self discipline. You are waiting for the seeds to grow up and bear fruit. These days, people are after immediate results and therefor often fail to be self disciplined. They rush out and dig up the wet seeds and are disappointed there’s no fruit. Then they punish themselves for this instant gratification urge later on.
In the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins he talks about the key to making a really great company is disciplined people with disciplined thoughts taking disciplined actions. They aren’t being disciplined, they are choosing to discipline themselves. They are choosing to stick to systems and strategies that work rather than taking shortcuts. They choose to be conscious of their patterns, programs and communication rather than letting whatever limiting, unconscious habit they have rule their minds. They choose to focus on developing themselves rather than on social media, the latest reality TV show or mindless internet surfing. It’s all about the individual discipline first and then discipline within the organization. If you do it the other way around, you’re fooling yourself into thinking you are “managing” people. The only person who can manage me is me. No one else can do that.
Start teaching self discipline and you’ll end up with a lot less disciplining.