Discipline is scared, pure and does not envy. Discipline is the spine that keeps the passions of the soul together. 

This doesn’t sound very convincing right? That’s maybe because our view of discipline is informed by this definition, discipline is a code of conduct, a discipline has rules to be followed to the T imposed on us by institutions and elders. We hear things like –

  • A discipline is rigid. 
  • Discipline is unchangeable. 
  • it’s not a practical skill for it doesn’t make space for spontaneous living. 
  • creative people hate discipline because it is anti flow and anti intuition. 

These ideas paint a very grim picture of discipline The Indian view on discipline is more to do with obedience and reverence to elders and customs than it is to do with the self and it’s  impact on our life.

IMPOSED DISCIPLINE

The Indian idea of discipline imposes such discipline on children at a very early stage in life. 

Imposed discipline that is too rigid moulds the self before the self learns to explore itself. children don’t question rules enough if they are imposed on them very early in life. THAT’S how conditioning works right? that is not to say that rules should not be imposed early in life. discipline must be something someone takes up on their own. The question you can ask me here is why would anyone take up self discipline when discipline is seen as anti spontaneousness, rigid and anti adventure. 

Making a routine

The process of coming up with a routine helps knowing exactly what kind of discipline will work for you.  How long you take for each task. 

Reasoned Routines 

Routines should be reasoned. Procrastination takes place only because we don’t give enough importance to each task. But we do not realise that each task has its importance in terms of keeping ourselves stress free and clear headed. It’s important for balance. If you want the wheel to move you have to keep tightening the screws even if tightening screws is not interesting enough. Putting it up in a routine gives it, it’s due importance. Making space for each task makes for a long term stress free life. 

Self discipline can change as and when your goals and priorities change. You might ask me what good is a routine that has to change. When you make a routine a big part of making that routine is to strengthen your ability to follow it and further to make better routines that are more realistic to your skills. Goals and priorities will keep shifting, new activities will keep coming up but how well we anticipate change and how well we accomodate it in our day is also very important. 

Motivated reasoning

We procrastinate because we tell ourselves that a certain task isn’t important. We make a case against an important task. For example: sleeping, I kept telling myself sleep is enough even though there is evidence against that. Because I’m motivated to make a case against it. But if I am making a routine I am placing importance on each task. The process of making a routine should support each tasks with sufficient reasons for the doing. So at no point we are able to make a case against it. Hence we reason objectively. 

Here is where I shall talk about how self discipline is the frame of your days. self discipline must include all domains of oneself emotional, interpersonal, physical and intellectual. once you set yourself up to a routine in this manner. you are sure to find balance.It is important to be realistic in terms of how much time you give to each aspect of the self. 

 If it’s absent  then you will not learn to manage time, or prioritize without hampering your own needs. without a general frame for your day you can’t really expect to save time. Each task will depend on the mood. when you inculcate self-discipline you are structuring your day and life. Mood is a bad driver and a terrible judge. 

EASE OF DOING THINGS

 After you get used to a certain routine then every task becomes less of a chore and becomes easier to do without being burdensome. when you don’t have a routine you are sure to like some tasks more than others. you are then sure to hurry basic chores to get to your task of pleasure. when you inculcate respect for routine you realise that each task needs to be loved for what it is you don’t do things to get away from them. but you do them because you understand that finishing not so important tasks are to be done for the sake of discipline because my discipline takes care of balance. I don’t have to worry about balancing my life because my self-discipline has taken care of it. worrying about balance can be chucked out of the picture because there is a structure holding it together. 

Time management 

Is all about efficiency. We lacked time only because we did not have a routine that checks us. It checks the time wasted in deciding what one wants to do. 

Discipline is not rigidity

Lowers stress

Ridigity comes when we think our routine is the only way to live life. Routines must be seen as directions and checks in speed and time. Discipline is not anti spontaneity. Living life is all about following your gut and the life instinct in you. Self discipline is making time for such an instinct. It is to balance both life and work. Your quality of life totally depends on your ability to create a balance. You are far less likely to be stressful if you trust your routine to keep you motivated. You are far more likely to understand exactly how long each task without procastination takes when you experiment with schedules. 

You still need motivation 

There are two schools of thoughts about this. The Harsh critic school and the be gentle on yourself school. These two approaches mean nothing without a context. There will be some tasks that you will have a certain degree of mastery over these tasks need less of the Harsh critic in you. The tasks you aren’t Able to do very well would need the Harsh critic treatment. Hence keeping your discipline under check needs you to be conscious about where you are at at different skills or tasks you are pursuing. 

To live gracefully is to live without taking too much stress. To be able to predict how long you’ll take to do certain tasks and all these things are possible when you learn to make a routine. 

The reason I found this to be so relevant is because right now my community of students don’t have a teacher running behind them. There is a lot of self study, we are our own boss. Before the lockdown our days were fairly structured by the institutions we were a part of. But now it’s in us. We are at the centre stage of our lives. How we structure our lives is very important to our long term vitality. Our ability to maintain a healthy life and a productive life will depend on how good we are at making up routines that fit us that give a firm direction to each of our days. 

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