I would say that I have had a love-hate relationship with discipline of any kind. A part of me feels that “things happen”. Trying to push things into happening is unnatural, even brutal. Anything that doesn’t come on its own is an imposition that serves on one. My favorite quote on poetry, for example, have always been the one by Keats:
If poetry comes not as naturally as leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.
Now tree cannot enforce some kind of a discipline that it would have turnover of these many leaves by this quarter. And it suits me just right because that’s the kind of poet I am. Poetry comes to rather than me taking many steps for going to poetry. And sometimes, poetry is just delivered to me all wrapped in a gift box from the heavens, I merely go through the act of scribbling (or mostly typing these days). Now this part of me would simply hate the thought of getting up early on a cold morning, stepping out of my oh-so-cozy covers and actually do something because it ought to! This part thinks that the best way to go through life is to live every moment as it comes. Forcing ambition or struggle in the name of “will power” is a violent and stubborn act. Only going with the flow and grace can bring about true creativity, everything else is coerced, hence foisted and manipulated.
Not that this part doesn’t get any work done, it does. And when it does, it is beautiful! Anything, when I have no deadline or anticipation and my heart is in it, turns out good. When, how, how often, how worldly useful will that be – nobody knows. So the poet in me thrives and I am sure I would never write sub-standard poetry (according to my standards) but I can’t say how many poems will I write or if I would ever get a book published!
Now that takes discipline.
When I look around myself and see the world, I am amazed by these very inspiring people who literally stop at nothing to achieve what they set out to achieve. Like I said, I have a love-hate relationship with discipline, I can’t help admire what dedication and unrelenting efforts can bring about. Discipline is literally putting your actions where your mouth is.
Is discipline necessary?
I would like to hear no. But I haven’t seen many (or any) cases where success (whatever the definition of that may be) came through without any discipline and striving. Even in the case of a tree, where leaves come naturally through grace, it has to stand in sun and do its internal processes tirelessly.
What does discipline mean?
Discipline when analyzed minutely means – clarity, commitment, strength, faith and perseverance. Clarity is the seed and one thing leads to another. If clarity is there, commitment will come. If commitment is there, strength will come and so on…
Since it all boils down to clarity, let’s talk about clarity. Where does clarity come from? An intuitive answer is – from vision and goals. The clearer the vision and goals are, the more the passion. And once there is passion involved, consider the battle won.
So why is lack of self discipline there? Why would one waste their time doing something unnecessary and/or unproductive while they could be reaching for the stars? Simple. They either don’t have a vision or they don’t believe in it enough.
I cannot imagine a situation where a lover is to meet his beloved after a long time and he finds himself lacking in self discipline so he cannot wake up on time. In fact, that he could not sleep the whole night in anticipation is more of a possibility.
We do what we want to do. We cannot not do what we really want to do. Self discipline just appears out of nowhere. We just have to want something enough. Heck, people have even found God through wanting him(/her) enough!
Or so I hear…
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