“If you are strong enough to lift the weight … you are strong enough to put it back”
I read this at my Dojo/ Gym. Each one of us has been to a Gym at some point or the other and has observed the free-weights littered around the gym floor which reach their designated spot at the end of the day. The crux of the matter is that putting the weights back is not a matter of strength or will but a matter of discipline.
We always have a choice and no one can ever be in a hurry as not be disciplined to complete her/ his job fully. The flip side is that people who are disciplined and try to advocate it are sometimes called obsessive & compulsive. My post here will not talk about enforcing discipline but the importance of Self-discipline in our modern lives and the phrase mentioned above perfectly puts the point across.
Discipline for me in everyday life starts from getting up on time in the morning to my exercise routine, from driving in my lane to getting office on time (even though people think I don’t need to as I run my own firm), from showing up at meetings on time to finishing my projects within the designated deadline, and many more small examples like these which form our daily routine.
Let us take the example of “showing up at meetings on time” (especially in India). It is a given that time is not the essence in our culture. A 10 – 15 minute delay is considered to be “on time”. A 30 minute delay is acceptable and the polite ones (latecomer) might oblige you with an apology. A 60 minute delay is generally blamed on traffic and the meeting agenda suddenly changes to discuss the traffic situation of the city (in my case Delhi) and what the administration is doing to improve it. But, most of the time there is pride in being late; it shows how sought after & busy the latecomer is. Being on time is virtually unheard of and a handful of us who follow time discipline are laughed at. However, the very same people who are put in a culture where latecomers are looked down upon (sometimes even insulted) change sides and start following Military discipline. My point is that if we start valuing & respecting the other person’s time and inculcate a little amount of time-discipline, we would achieve both efficiency and respect of our peers.
Discipline is equally important for entrepreneurs and innovators. I recently read an article on Harvard Business Review title “Innovation Is a Discipline, Not a Cliché”. This article talks more about Innovation but what should be noted in this article is the fact its states, “innovation is a discipline to be mastered and managed. It is hard work. Getting good at it requires significant practice. Telling an organization that “it’s innovation time” without investing time, people, and, yes, some money into follow-up generates cynicism quickly”.
My bias with self-discipline maybe “Right in your face” and people might argue (and do argue) that it is not the self-discipline but the creativity & content of the individual which matters more but I think indiscipline has its roots in laziness. The funny part is people are generally quick to spot indiscipline in others but fail to achieve it in a similar situation.
My brief stint of 4 years with martial arts made me appreciate the power of discipline to a greater extent. For me however, Discipline is a quality which personifies a strong character and I advocate it to my peers, co-workers & most importantly to my kids (sometimes insolently). I want to use this post to start a discussion on something we all feel about but fail to adhere to. No matter what our short comings we should be able to teach our kids & the next generation the value self-discipline and the benefits that come with it.
Note: People who know about my obsessiveness with time discipline, while inviting me to parties, generally give me a time much later (30-60 mins) than they give to the rest of the guests.