“Discipline will set you free.” This was the phrase I heard repeatedly from a trainer at a direct sales company where I had just assumed a high-stress management role. I don’t know the origin of the quote, and a Google search turned up an attribution to Navy SEAL and author Jocko Willink from 2018. But my lesson in discipline predates Jocko’s book by 32 years.
“Discipline will set you free” has been my mantra from before I knew what a mantra meant and before I began my journey of spiritual growth.
“Discipline will set you free” meant I was accountable for my actions. No sense in blaming someone else for gaining 5 pounds after eating half a cheesecake the day before. No sense in cursing traffic for my lack of punctuality knowing I left my house 15 minutes later than I should have. No sense in looking for my car keys when they should have gone on the key peg next to the front door where they belong.
The time-honored phrase has been with me through countless jobs, relationships and personal challenges. Be disciplined with my time and make deadlines. Be disciplined with someone else’s time and honor friendships. Be disciplined with my energy and have enough left in your tank for a workout. Be disciplined with your physical space and keep things organized knowing where anything may be when you need it.
Be disciplined with daily routine chores and stop procrastination in its tracks. Fill the tank with gas the night before a big trip or important appointment and spare yourself the agony of being in bumper-to-bumper traffic when your gauge is on Empty.
Guilt is a wasteful thought pattern. It dwells in the past and expends attention needed to stay present, focused and ready for what life brings you. Discipline can be fun. You will feel better when you paid your bills on time, replaced the missing button on your coat, took the garbage out and walked the dog. Then, you can treat yourself to an hour or two of binge watching knowing you’ve done your part to keep your world tidy.