The Power of Discipline by L. Michael Hall, Phd.
If you remember, I wrote briefly about discipline in the sixth article. Yet there’s much more to be said about this thing that we call discipline. First and foremost, we have to resuscitate the term because it has been so beaten up and despised, as a term it is gasping for breathe and unable to breath meaningful vitality into the minds of most people. For most people, the term discipline conveys ideas of hardship, difficulty, work, effort, even punishment! And if those are the connotations of discipline, no wonder so many people avoid it like the HIV virus!
So what is discipline? The dictionary defines it first as instruction, then a field of study, then a training that corrects and molds and perfects. So no wonder that the related term, disciple, is the person who follows a discipline and is committed to it. What I wrote earlier in defining discipline was this:
Discipline is consistency of actions— consistency with values, with long-term goals, with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time. True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures, and long-term aspirations. … And because the truest form of discipline is self-discipline, then discipline is having the inner will to do whatever it takes, no matter how difficult, to create or reach a great outcome.
This describes the power of discipline. When you develop a disciplined approach in your life, you set up the contexts so that you can function most effectively in doing and achieving the goals that you have set for yourself. When I learned about this some years ago, I set up several disciplines for myself:
∙ I read a minimum of 30 minutes every day.
∙ I write a minimum of 30 minutes every day.
∙ I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes every day.
Today these structures of behavior simply describe my “way of being in the world.” And due to the power of repetition, I no longer even think about these things, I just do them. They make up my way of life. Do I do these things regularly and consistently? Yes, of course. Does it feel like work, effort, or punishment? No way! It feels intuitively right to being who I am and what I’m about. And it makes many of the things that I end up doing “a piece of cake.”
Habituated discipline is like that. You can’t imagine life without your disciplines. You are a disciple to your disciplines and what they stand for and mean to you. So what are your disciplines?
∙ Do you save at least 10% of your income every week?
∙ Do you operate from your highest intentionality every day?
∙ Do you always “swish” to “the You” for whom the challenges of everyday life is “no problem?”
∙ Do you sacrilize the smallest things of everyday life so that you have peak experiences daily?
∙ Do you think strategically using the distinctions of the well-formed outcome?
∙ Do you always take some moments to create a well-formed problem so that you address real problems rather than pseudo-problems?
∙ Do you esteem yourself as valuable and worthwhile in an unconditional way so that you feel free inside to experiment and make mistakes as you keep learning?
∙ Do you access your “power zone” or power matrix every day to keep creating a robust self of self-efficacy?
These are just a few of the things we work on with ourselves and with clients in Neuro-Semantics. These are things that you learn in APG Workshop and the Self-Actualization Workshops and if you practice them regularly and consistently until they become your discipline then they become your “way of being in the world.” They become the frames that you have learned and incorporated within your meaning-matrix and now you are a disciple of them.
This is the power of discipline. The power of discipline is not about effort, work, or punishment. Actually, it is the very opposite. The power of discipline is about making your learnings the structure of your life so that they become easy to act on. By the way, that is the meaning of facilitation— to make whatever you are doing easy to achieve. And when you do that, you reach a new level of freedom … free to step up to the next step, the next level of development.
How do you activate your power of discipline?
1) First, decide what you want as your “way of being in the world.” What is your choice? Now set your intention on it. Set an intention high enough to be a strong motivational engine.
2) Develop the required skills inherent in the discipline. What are the core competencies within the discipline? How many core skills are absolutely necessary? What do you need to know, understand, and believe to develop?
3) Deliberately practice the discipline. Are you ready and willing to engage in the practice consistently and regularly? What other resource do you need to make that happen?
4) Reward yourself until you experience the inherent pleasures of the discipline. Is the discipline inherently rewarding for you? If not, what external rewards can you add to it until you experience it as inherently pleasurable?