What if I told you that to be disciplined you’ve got to slow down?
We all think we need more discipline, but what we really think when we think discipline is "willpower."
We think if only we had more willpower we would love ourselves more. We would stop eating sugar. We would go to the gym everyday. We would do more exciting things and have more exciting lives.
This is a lie.
You don’t need more willpower. You need more discipline.
Discipline requires you to decide what your values are and act on those values even when in the short term it isn’t exactly fun. Discipline comes after you’ve experienced the downfall of lack of discipline. Discipline requires wisdom and long term thinking.
Willpower is the idea that we can ‘will’ ourselves to do something. We can’t.
One the most important things I’ve ever heard is devotion and love will always outlive drive and motivation. And devotion requires the wisdom and repetition of discipline.
So how do we grow discipline?
One might argue that we grow discipline with willpower.
But I don’t see it that way at all. The idea that we have to “fight” ourselves in anyway to get what we want is just falling back into the old paradigm of “life is hard” and that we have to “work more” and “sacrifice” to “build something for ourselves.” The paradigm that the world is a difficult place to be. This is an old and tired way of thinking. It’s boring and it’s ran its course.
How we really build discipline is by committing to slowing down and asking ourselves meaningful questions.
To grow discipline we engage in mindfulness when we eat, when we talk, when we listen, when we live.
It’s simple. Just slow down. Watch what you’re actually doing. Let eating food be enough, don’t work while eating. Let walking to your car or to the next store be enough and don’t check your phone for the 100th time that day. Think about what you’re saying before you say it. Really listen to people when they talk.
We build discipline by slowing down and listening to what the soft animal of our body actual wants and doing that. It’s as simple as stopping the autopilot of life.
It’s so surface-level-attractive to speed up in life. To distract, escape, and avoid. But to live a life of intention and soul-led-purpose we’ve gotta slow down.
Slowing down doesn’t mean that you can’t get anything done. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’ll probably get more done. But you will “lean” out your to do list. Activities that seemed like life or death may get dropped. You may find yourself engaging with different people or groups or even switching careers.
But don’t be afraid to slow down badly at first. Just give it a try. Notice how many times a day you check your phone just to fill space. Notice that you feel frantic most of the time. Notice that you literally don’t stop or take a deep breath all day.
Awareness starts to decondition. And it is the key to a mindful life. So start there. See what happens.
How are you building discipline this week by slowing down?