“…self-discipline is not self-suppression. Suppression is when you resist and fight against your desires, keeping them as buried and unexpressed as possible. Self-discipline is when your highest desires rule your lesser desires, not through resistance, but through loving action ground in understanding and compassion.”
The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida
I read a book last week recommended by one of my fitness mentors. It was one of those books that you have to put down about 380 times so that you can think about what you just read. Sometimes you want to throw the book across the room and still other times you want to buy a copy for everyone you know. It was one of those books.
I don’t care what it is you are trying to achieve, if excellence is your ambition that it requires discipline. It doesn’t matter how much you love it and how naturally you seem to come to it. There comes a point where you are crossing the bridge between ok and awesome and you have to decide if you are really going to do this thing. Are you going to put in the time? Are you going to put in the energy? Does what it will take to go further seem worth what you will achieve by pushing the limits of your will. We have all come to this point in multiple endeavors. It is the place between buying the complete Rosetta Stone French edition and moving into the place of leading tours in the Louvre from French art students. You were going to play the guitar, lose 10 pounds, change careers, go totally paleo. There are many reasons we don’t buckle down. At they end of the day though it is just a long list of excuses. We want to think of them as explanations but that is nothing more than a euphemism for the lie we tell ourselves about why we can’t do the thing right now. We will get to it. We need to prioritize our life, our schedule, our budget but as soon as we do then we are all in. I am not surprised at how often we fail to get where we want to go. There are two impossible hurdles and the second one needs to be cleared over and over. The first is starting. There is always a reason not to start. The second is staying and this is the one that is continually renegotiated. This is where self-discipline is the only answer. This is where it comes down to a question of desires. What is your highest desire and are you going to let it rule you? Define it and then let it.
If you have taken an incredible leap and been bruised, maybe even badly, I encourage you to press on. If you have found your highest purpose even if only for this present moment than nothing should stand in your way. Don’t run from the challenge. Run into the challenge because it is only in this place that you can truly give everything you have to offer to those around you.