Twice a year I guest teach Integral Theory to Bond University Entrepreneurs class. Yesterday as we were walking through the stages of human development it became extremely apparent to me (blinding flash of the obvious) that our Western world is seriously missing education and structures to support learning about the values of discipline.
When I was a kid it was still acceptable for school teachers to physically punish students. The cane existed. My parents did threaten me on occasions with the wooden spoon. (It hurt.) Whether you agree with these methods or not is not the point of this discussion.
For the last few decades we have avoided any aspect of introducing children to discipline. The rigor of respecting authority and eldership, doing a task through to completion, practicing a skill even when you do not want to or do not feel like it is not considered in many homes as we raise children. We have overcompensated out of guilt for our absence, let children get away with their whims far too often and raised children who simply do not know how to self discipline.
As a consequence we have several generations of people in their early 20’s and 30’s who have difficulty focusing, saying no and doing the hard yards that it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Of course too much discipline and we get people who are unable to think for themselves. They become extensions of their parents wishes. My daughter the doctor!
Discipline etymologically means disciple unto the self. The ability to put a stake in the ground, become very focused, say no to all the temptations offered along the way, and yes to staying on track, to not allowing your lizard brain to rule.
We learn discipline through sport, the military, music studies, dance, writing, school study. We have to be willing to sacrifice the short term pleasure for the long term desire.
Ultimately discipline is about saying no to the lesser self and yes to the greater self. It is an art and a practice.
Every successful entrepreneur thrives on discipline as a core aspect of their business. And they usually also have a whole part of their life that is completely undisciplined. Which is OK. To be totally disciplined in all domains as a human is to ignore the spontaneous, the synchronous, the magical.