What is discipline?

Discipline is one of those skills I’m sometimes amazing at, sometimes struggle with. I’m been disciplined with my practice for years beyond what most people would consider doing, and I’ve also gotten completely lost in other endeavours.

I’ve been enquiring more deeply into it of late.

What I’ve realised: discipline is at the core of freedom. Discipline is a core skill in harnessing our consciousness, commanding our attention, being focused, learning the skills to create masterfully, building success, working effectively.

Discipline is a pre-requisite for realising our human potential.

So what do I mean by discipline?


Making a planpower-of-self-discipline to do something and sticking with it. Doing it no matter what. Taking command of what we decide to focus on and do.

Following through. Doing it even when we don’t want to do it. Doing it especially then. Facing any discomfort, pain, avoidance that comes up and doing it anyway.

What does it take to get disciplined?

  • Total clarity on a goal.
  • Total clarity on why - your true motivation.
  • A plan
  • 100% commitment

Persistent determination - a willingness to ‘get back on the bike’ no matter how many times you fall off. A commitment to not judging yourself for any time you don’t do it, but using each ‘failure’ as a motivation.

I’ll give you an example. When I first started learning Tai Chi, a student in the class asked Professor Wong,

“How long does it take be good at Tai Chi?”.

His answer:

“Do it every day for 10 years, if you miss one day, start again. If you want to be really good, do it everyday for 20, miss one day start again. If you want to master it do it every day for 30, miss one day start again.”

My mind blown at the time, I decided to do it.

My goal - Master Tai Chi

My why - to be as healthy as Professor Wong when I was 70 years of age, to master an art I’d fallen in love with and, mostly, it just made a deep sense to my spirit and ego.

A plan - Tai Chi every morning, and if that was missed for any reason make a plan in the morning when it was going to happen.

I must admit I did have days I didn’t do it. But in 7 years I missed about 5 days of Tai Chi. I got pretty good, and learnd to move my body in ways that are still having a profound effect on my health and well- being.

My vision for my beingness expanded beyond Tai Chi, but Professor Wong had shown me the level of commitment it takes to master my body and awareness.

So in 15 years I’ve only missed, if you put them all together, a couple of weeks of practice. And each of those days missed has steeled my resolve to keep going, keep deepening, keep practicing. Each day missed has increased my determination. And when I’ve judged myself for it or felt bad, I’ve used that as an opportunity to understand myself more deeply, to deepen my internal practice.

And now I’m learning to apply this discipline to the rest of my life. And it’s powerful.

What do you want to apply the transformative power of discipline to? Get clear, commit, and do it.