I love connecting with positive people online (and in person). I have some friends that share the most uplifting posts on Facebook. Today, my virtual friend Bruce Fowler shared his friend’s post who shared quotes from the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. (Isn’t it cool how you can learn through the power of social media?!)
Here is the part of the post that spoke to me:
“Unfortunately, many of us had discipline forced upon us as children. Naturally, we rebelled against an externally imposed structure. We were not shown that true discipline always comes from within, and the motivation for that urge is love. When we are doing what we love, when we are pursuing something that has meaning, discipline comes naturally… discipline liberates rather than confines you.” ~ Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
The word discipline has always struck terror in my inner child. I spent a lifetime running from discipline because I had discipline in the worst sense of the word forced upon me as a child. When I grew up, the word discipline was like a landfill where I tossed my pain from childhood. I stayed as far away from that word as I could.
Whatever definition you give discipline, look at the other end of the scale and that is where you would find me. I didn’t use discipline in anything including myself or my kids. I ate what I wanted, I exercised if and when I wanted to, I spent money on whatever my kids or I wanted leaving bills unpaid, I worked when I wanted and I didn’t tolerate anyone who tried to force discipline upon me including my employers. I quit jobs I loved because I refused to have any authority figure reigning over me doling out commands. I didn’t discipline my children and wouldn’t let anyone else discipline them either including their father. If he tried, it would cause a fight. I paid a high price for rebelling against discipline which extended beyond me to my family.
It took many years of personal development for me to accept that discipline can be a good thing and is absolutely necessary for success. The shift I had to make in my mind was away from associating discipline to external control and punishment. Even the dictionary defines discipline as punishment: “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience”… “Control that is gained by requiring that rules or orders be obeyed and punishing bad behavior”… “To punish (someone) as a way of making sure that rules or orders are obeyed.”
Discipline = Punishment, Discipline = Control, Discipline = Obey, Discipline = Rules, Discipline = Pain… that was my association that made my innate flight or fight response kick in like nothing else I have ever experienced in my life. Even writing about the word and long-associated definitions makes me want to rebel.
Once I started studying personal development and successful people I realized that there is an entirely different meaning of the word discipline. It doesn’t have to be a form of punishment. It can be for your greater good. Merriam-Webster also includes this expanded definition: “To train (yourself) to do something by controlling your behavior” and “To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control.” It is this definition of discipline that I have come to respect and am becoming acquainted with after a quarter century of running away from it.
The post reminded me about the type of discipline that empowers you to pursue your passion and live a life of meaning and purpose. I was inspired to immediately get the referenced book, “The Power of Habit” so I can discover more about how to develop the discipline it takes to live my best life, reach my highest potential, and of course share my insights to help inspire others to live their best life too!
“Once you understand habits, it’s like someone gave you a flashlight and a crowbar and you can get to work.” ~ Charles Duhigg
What I found most fascinating about The Power of Habit is how it shines a bright light on discipline. No longer is it a dark, enforced obedience, but a neural pathway in your brain that is developed by your daily routine.
So, armed with this deeper understanding of habits, I am creating new habits that will help me stay on track with my Vegformation journey. My morning routine will include exercise just as brushing my teeth and taking a shower are part of my morning routine. I made an appointment to get a mani/pedi which I will use as a reward for my new habit of exercising first thing in the morning. I think I’m going to like this new way of forming habits!