22 December 2016

76 – On Discipline (or, Go Easy)

We’ve all got interests, hobbies, and passions. They’re important to us. They’re worth our time and effort. Pursuing them often requires discipline. Yet sometimes we need to give ourselves a break. Sometimes we need the discipline to know when to go easy.

And this essay’s about that.

I’m never bored. There are too many activities that I want to do. I’ve got too much to listen to, read, watch, write, and make. It’s a voluntary condition. Such are the self-inflicted burdens of the inspired.

And that’s fine. Having too many activities you want to do is the best complaint a person can have. After all, the true opposite of happiness is boredom.

However, the window for doing activities shrinks pretty quickly. Working, exercising, cooking, eating, watching hockey, and sleeping chew up most of my day. And no, hockey’s not optional for me. I’m Canadian, and in my world the New Year starts in October.

Anyways, I do battle with that shrinking window of time through my Systems. I like my Systems and do pretty well by them. Though doubt still creeps in and frustrates me on occasion. Sometimes I don't feel like there’s enough time for all the activities. Sometimes I wonder if I’m trying to do too much, or not managing my time well enough.

Perhaps Universal Basic Income will provide an answer to my dilemma in the near future. Perhaps I need to become my own boss instead. Or perhaps I simply need to build a bunkbed.

We need to remind ourselves that we can’t do all the activities we want to do at once. We can’t make all of our goals happen overnight. Nor can we work diligently on them all of the time. We simply don’t possess an infinite reservoir of energy for doing that. Though seeking revenge after being left for dead may be the exception to that rule.

A friendly reminder that our modern-day lives are pretty damn easy.

You need to pick your battles wisely. You need to do the things that matter most to you. You need to tackle those things in a surgical manner. And sometimes that involves knowing when to back away from the line of scrimmage.

You need the discipline to take a break.

Discipline can be defined as many things. It’s identifying, and using, tactics and tools that make you better, stronger, and happier. It’s practicing constructive habits consistently. Discipline is essential to becoming better.

Discipline is doing challenging things that make you stronger. It’s working hard on something meaningful when you desire to unwind in the meaningless. It’s practicing positive habits consistently when you wish to allow negative indulgence to break your routine. It’s focusing on important tasks when you long for distraction through unimportant trifles. Discipline is resistance against temptation.

Discipline is relentless. It can be hard to stop doing something that you’re passionate about. It can be hard to step away from something you feel compelled to do. It can be hard to stop thinking about something you’re emotionally and intellectually invested in. Discipline is often to keep going where others would stop.

And yet discipline is something else that’s too often forgotten.

Discipline is humility. It’s understanding that worthwhile pursuits drain you of both energy and fuel. It’s realizing when to relax, when to rest, and when to recharge. It’s accepting that sometimes you need to take a break from doing, thinking, and going. Discipline is admitting you’re human.

Discipline is fighting the urge to keep going when you know you should stop. It’s choosing to go easy for a spell. It’s learning to take regular breaks from your pursuits. It’s making a habit of taking some time off.

Discipline is knowing when to do nothing.

Be disciplined in your activities. Do the things that matter to you with diligence, focus, and intent. And yet be disciplined enough to take a break and go easy. Stop doing when you feel the need to do so. Inaction can serve to reinforce the discipline required for taking worthwhile, meaningful action. Relaxation and rest recharges and refuels you. It restores you and readies you to continue carrying on.

Sometimes we can only do something effectively after effectively doing nothing first.

So go easy for a bit. Enjoy whatever holiday you’re going to celebrate the next few days. Have some fun and foolish times with the people that matter to you.

And I’ll see you next time in #77 when an all-time defenceman meets an all-time martial artist.  I don’t know how that’s going to play out yet. But I’m not too chuffed about it. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’m going easy for a spell.

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.