Discipline. What comes to your mind when you hear this word? Does it strike fear into your heart because it has to do something with punishment? Or do you see it as something positive that can help you?
According to Merriam Webster, discipline (noun) means training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental facilities of a moral person. Discipline (verb) means to train or develop by instruction or exercise, especially in self-control.
For ninjas (even almost fit ones), discipline is something they try to practice. For the latter, this can be a little more challenging especially when it comes to fitness and embracing a healthier lifestyle. But physical discipline isn’t the only that we should strive to develop.
5 Disciplines We Need to Master
I once attended a talk by Francis Kong and he said that it’s important to develop discipline because it keeps us on track.
“When we master this it becomes part of our subconscious such that when emergency situations happen you become so good at the basics that you don’t have to think about it it gives you the freedom to be creative.”
According to him, there are actually 5 areas that we need to focus on developing discipline. I don’t remember everything he said so I’ll try to expound the points that he shared.
1. Intellectual Discipline
Learning is a lifetime process. It does not stop when you step out of school. There are two things that Francis highlighted about learning: books and people. The books you read will feed your mind and also the people you meet.
Remember the saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with?” If you want to be more like people who actively seek the knowledge, choose whom you spend time with. Seek knowledge and it will be power.
Books are not the only way to learn. Francis also promotes technology as a 24/7 mobile university that will continue to feed your mind. He also suggests attending seminars even non-company sponsored ones.
At the talk, he recommended this routine for intellectual discipline: “Start the morning with something inspiring. Stay away from negative people. Every single day you feed your mind. Audiobook or podcast. Don’t waste time.”
2. Emotional Discipline
Emotional discipline revolves around taking care of your emotional health and mastering your emotions. It’s so easy to get carried away with our emotions and make decisions based on feelings. More often than not when we do this, we end up with the wrong decisions.
Francis said, “When you don’t control and master your moods and emotions, the worst thing that can happen to you is that someone else can control you.”
So how can you learn to master your emotions?
One is by writing down in a journal and expressing everything you want to say rather than bottling up all these feelings inside. Meditating can also help clear your mind and calm turbulent emotions. Yoga is a great de-stressor that helps you find your balance again.
Think before sending an angry email or posting a rant on social media. Take a deep breath and let your anger or emotions cool down. You’ll later realize whatever matter that upset you was not worth it. Let go.
Francis has this to say about those emotional about love lost: “Never let an old flame burn you twice.”
3. Fiscal Discipline
At what age do you want to retire?
This question triggers a series of follow up questions like how much savings do you have in the bank? What’s your retirement plan or do you even have one? Do you have other investments aside from your bank savings?
These are scary questions for most but the sooner you address them, the earlier you can plan out and start saving seriously for your future. Adulting is real especially if you want to be financially free by the time you retire.
So what can you do as a starter? Start budgeting your money instead of living paycheck to paycheck. Use apps to help you track your expenses. My fitness buddy Rome uses Money Lover and he’s loving how he can organize different wallets for his daily expenses.
For investments, you can start small and join a cooperative or get an insurance that doubles as an investment. You can also consult a financial planner like Vernon Go. But do your own research before you make a decision.
4. Physical Discipline
There are many reasons why we should exercise. Sometimes we just lack the motivation to do it. But you know what they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way. So find ways on how you can motivate yourself to do physical activities.
You don’t always have to go to the gym or yoga studio. You can climb a mountain instead or go swimming. You can jog with friends or if you feeling a bit adventurous, sign up to join a trail run that will also allow you to explore nature.
But we should remember that it’s enough to just exercise regularly. We should also get enough sleep and eat right. We are not superman or wonder woman. If we don’t take care of our bodies starting right now, we will be paying the price later.
Francis said, “We are the products of the choices we make from day today.”
5. Relationship Discipline
“No Man is an Island.”
This is the reason why God created Eve for Adam. And it’s why we need other people in our lives. But sometimes we can take these important people for granted.
Francis shared two quotes from Michael Ramsden about the importance of relationships in our lives.
“It is not that we have nothing to be grateful for, but because we have no one to be grateful with.”
“It’s not that we have nothing to be grateful for. It is that we need someone to be grateful to.”
So nurture your friendships and cultivate new ones. Learn from new encounters even fleeting ones. Take care of your relationships whether it is with family and friends. Spend time with them when you can because we never know what might happen.