Generations always gripe about the few generations ahead, and criticize the ones behind. The one we praise universally is the “Greatest Generation,” rightfully so. My grandparents were some of the great ones.
Virtue, by definition, is the moral excellence of a person. The Virtuous are those who live with an amazing indomitable spirit, who personify fortitude, prudence, temperance, and justice; people with disciplined minds, honed to resist various criticisms thrown at them; they eliminate barriers and face their fears. The characteristic traits of grandiosity, self-entitlement, instant- gratification, workless-ethic, “flaking”, non-bearing, non-committal and no follow-through begin to evaporate. Life-long learning might appear to have no finish line, but the full out effort is part of this warrior spirit.
We place the virtue of discipline above everything else. For those of us who weren’t taught the tenant of discipline, either from learning from our mistakes, or from values instilled at home, in our youth and our various environments, the cultural cues and messages of our communities, Discipline with a capital D could be the locksmith for our weaknesses.
Discipline has been a big part of my life. Because I’m human like everyone else, it comes and goes and tends to lie dormant in certain areas. Martial arts growing up, my time spent in the Marine Corps, college, my personal and professional life all require certain levels of discipline. You may personally miss the discipline you had in school, whether as an athlete or a musician.
These are the things to look out for when you feel your self discipline slip; negative thinking, morose thoughts, you start becoming introverted to an extreme by avoiding others, you exhibit judgment about others and the problems in your personal life and work environment start to compound. Your problem may be living for others and you don’t know where to start or what to do with your life. Your emotional, behavioral, spiritual and financial health starts to deteriorate quickly.
First, start by checking-in with yourself, identify your issues right away (avoid any and all excuses), make a plan; start with tiny goals and then execute. Sometimes it’s best to skip the plan and just execute. When you execute you don’t have time to overthink it. That’s why structure is the best medicine for those struggling with depression and anxiety. Depression is worry about the past and anxiety is worry about the future. When you are executing in the moment you will find that you are at your best and the suffering subsides.
You know those problems that are adding up and stressing you out? Start by attacking them right now. Start around the house and clean up the clutter, donate or throw away the garbage consuming your personal space. (This requires a lot of mental space to catalog where all this crap is–do you really need to hang on to all that stuff?) Pay your bills on time, start chipping away at debts and do everything possible to eradicate them. Slowly remove the items in your diet that are no good for you, i.e. soda, alcohol and refined sugar. Start eating cleaner. Get out, walk and workout your body everyday. I hike every day with my Golden Retrievers and visit the gym. This disciplined ritual is important for me and carries over to other areas of my life. Rinse and repeat. I use my brothers Buzz Bryan, Matt Bloom, David Goggins and Jocko Willink as my barometer for discipline. They are a constant reminder that there are others who are getting up a lot earlier, attacking the day and making better use of their time. I believe I can always do more. We all should be making better use of our time and inviting virtues like discipline into our lives.