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BOOK EXCERPT 3.1 | Where REAL Discipline Comes From (& How to Sustain It)

30 September 2013 No Comment

(The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, How to Conquer Yourself, available both on Amazon
and – for faster delivery and personally autographed copies – directly from me using this paypal link.)

True Discipline Begins as the Desire for Mastery (pg 33)

“Discipline has several key definitions, two of which, once merged together, become most apt for our purposes here. Let’s take a look…

The first key way to define discipline is “controlled behavior,” or what we’ll refer to as discipline in the general sense. This usage can be found in sentences such as, “I should discipline myself to eat better,” or “His parents spanked him as a child to instill discipline.”

The second key way to define discipline is “an activity that provides mental or physical training,” or what we’ll refer to as discipline in the specific sense. This usage can be found in sentences such as, “He mastered several of the martial arts disciplines,” or “Yoga has become both a popular exercise routine and a respected spiritual discipline here in America.”

So sometimes when we use the word discipline, we’re referencing the principle of self-control (in general), but at other times, we use the word discipline to reference a specific activity (in particular), and the logic I want you to grasp here is that discipline, in the general sense, generally requires a discipline, in the specific sense, to sustain and exhibit itself through.

yoga practitioners practicing in a studio

That is, you can’t be focused and dedicated over the long-term without a specific craft or creative skill to be focused ON and dedicated for. Whether it’s drumming in a marching band, practicing karate in a neighborhood dojo or mastering Italian cuisine in the your personal kitchen, you’ll always need a particular path – a singular channel of mastery – to hone in on and centralize your efforts around.”

Some Examples…

(cont’d) “This is why people can show extraordinary amounts of discipline for individual goals and specific events while still lacking even the most basic sense of discipline in their regular lives…

It’s why famous, record-breaking magicians like David Blane can discipline themselves for death-defying stunts (like Frozen in Time, where he remained submerged in a block of ice for two-and-a-half days, or Vertigo, where he stood on a 100-ft high pillar in Bryant Park for over thirty-five hours), still admit to having trouble managing their diet whenever showtime isn’t right around the corner.

It’s why critically-acclaimed, world-class performers like Amanda Palmer, who, before her commercial success, used to pose daily as a living statue, can discipline themselves to stand perfectly motionless for literally hours on end, yet still suffer from oversleeping and other poor tendencies no different than you or me.

And it’s why:

>> professional athletes

>> star actors

>> well-known politicians

>> corporate executives

…and other public figures end up as front-page news for undercover scandals that tarnish and soil what would otherwise be a highly-disciplined, extremely focused and well-dignified career. It’s why health clubs and gyms are packed with trainees right before summer begins and why college libraries are packed with their entire student body only during the last week of finals.

(It’s also why this chapter may be more significant than any other: the discipline you establish here, the distinct skill-set you choose to master and conquer yourself through, will become the platform and central set of concerns all the other subject matter applies to and operates upon.)

Again, discipline, in the general sense, generally requires a discipline, in the specific sense, in order to sustain and exhibit itself through; a discipline you have a certain obsession, talent, honor or infatuation for. Here’s a more personal analogy…

In my life, my most rewarding relationships weren’t the ones where I dated the prettiest girl in school to gain popularity and validation, or the relationships I pursued simply for sex to fill gaps in my self-esteem. My most rewarding relationships were the ones where I genuinely appreciated the girl for who she was as a person: the ones I wanted for nature of the woman herself, pursued from a state of respect and then built a connection, over time, based upon that.

Discipline works in a similar way: your most rewarding goals – the ones you’ll actually be disciplined enough to accomplish – won’t be the ones where you’ll achieve social status or validation through fame, or the goals you pursue simply for money because you’re in a desperate spot. Your most rewarding goals will be the ones you genuinely appreciate for the nature of what they entail; the ones you look at as an honorable craft to develop skill and finesse within, and then build proficiency, over time, based upon that.”

So in this respect, real discipline begins as the desire for mastery. Technically speaking, discipline could then perhaps be defined AS mastery itself, making…”

~ fin

Discover more great insights, techniques, strategies and wisdom for self-mastery and artistic success in my new book, How to Conquer Yourself: Discipline & Willpower for the Conscious, Creative Thinker, available on on Amazon here. (For autographed and personally-dedicated copies, delivered much faster, click here)


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