Discipline Equals Freedom... with a Caveat

15.05.20 03:48 PM By Heather Kleinschmidt

I love this track featuring Jocko Willink from Akira the Don — it’s one of the last songs on my jogging playlist, for when I’m most exhausted.


It’s true: discipline equals freedom. Whether it’s financial, health, business, whatever — it’s only by choosing our actions consciously and intentionally, and relentlessly acting on those choices, that we can build up the foundation we need for the greatest freedom possible.


But I think there’s an important caveat…


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Have you ever seen Disney Pixar’s Inside Out? One of my favorite scenes takes place in the Land of Abstract Thought. When the characters enter this space, they find themselves in pieces on the floor — it’s hilarious, and so accurate.


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Two Questions


...Why?


...How?


There are moments when we need to ask “why,” and moments when we need to ask “how.”


Where we run into problems is when we’re only asking one of those questions, and not enough of the other.


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If all we ever ask is “why,” then we end up like the characters in Inside Out — in pieces on the floor, not able to do anything or make any progress.


On the other hand, if all we ever ask is “how,” we might make miles of progress… only to look up one day and realize we’re not where we wanted to be.


We have to weave these questions together if we want to really do something meaningful in life.

Asking why makes sure we stay on the right track.

And how keeps us moving and making real progress.

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Discipline Equals Freedom


Discipline is a “how”-oriented thing.


It’s incredibly powerful… but it’s also critical that you’re using that power to move in the right direction.

*Sometimes* your resistance to disciplined action may be an indication that you're on the wrong track.

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Too Much “Why” Is Also A Problem

There are no perfect answers, and the best way to find your way forward is to get some skin in the game — that’s exactly what you do when you ask “how.”


Asking “how” is how you move yourself beyond that state of falling apart.


Also — by asking and acting on “how,” you learn new things, which can then inform your “why” in a way that was impossible previously.


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Discipline Equals Freedom, with a Caveat

Discipline is the road to freedom — asking “how,” and then executing on it — regardless of whatever you’re feeling — is what provides the building blocks for any dream to come to life.


The caveat is to pay attention to any resistance you feel. Are you resisting simply because it’s difficult, maybe boring, and requires a sacrifice? Or are you resisting because you’re on the wrong path?


The answer to that question is a big deal.


Each week, I do a deep-dive into the question of living meaningfully.

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