• Tony de Lacey

The Life Discipline

It is well known that in order to live our lives to our full potential we have to live in an active manner rather than passive. But what is the active manner we require in order to get there? What active manner is needed to make sure we get to the gym when we don't feel like it? What do we need to make sure we say no to the easy option and yes to the less well known path? What do we need in order to move forward? The answer is discipline.

Discipline is not what we think of it as instinctively. Discipline is not a spartan method in which you are bathed in fire, shouting at yourself and scolding yourself whenever you do something out of line. This discipline is not the same that is needed when under sustained artillery fire from the enemy. This is the discipline which you need to actively engage with your brain. Discipline is the name given when you tell your brain what to do. Talk back when your brain tells you what you know you don't want to hear.

Yes, once again i will repeat how the brain is actually an inhibitory structure, not only inhibiting your ability to do things like go to the gym and eat healthier. It also inhibits your ability to make better decisions. The old phrase 'use your gut instinct' is deliberate. Even your gut could make a better judgement than your brain. Your brain can be useful when it works for you but it is easily manipulative.

I can give you one very pertinent example of how the brain is manipulative. I introduce you to oxytocin. Oxytocin is better known as the love hormone. This hormone is secreted and affects your brain to trick you into thinking you are in love with someone. You are sure it's love. You might call it 'feelings' when actually it is just oxytocin. 'But i love him' is just you succumbing to what your brain is telling you because it's high on oxytocin. This hormone affects your brain to think you are in love with someone even if the person has treated you badly, is ultimately bad for you in your life and makes you sad. As long as your brain is manipulated by oxytocin you will be told by it that this person is the undying love you have always wanted; and this bastard can do anything to you and nothing will change.

There are many other ways the brain manipulates you. Your brain can tell you that you want something in order to make you happy. It will give you quick fixes in an attempt to satisfy its desire to get what it wants and indeed what you think you want in accordance to whichever hormone is most present at the time. Seratonin and dopamine are the feel-good hormones that the brain gets when it gets something it wants. This basicaly tells the brain that one thing makes you happy; or rather one thing makes dopamine shoot into your brain for that feel-good feeling, even if that thing is ultimately bad for your health like smoking or eating sugary food.

This is where discipline comes into play. Rather than being a slave to the manipluations of hormones why don't we take control? Yes, it's hard. Your brain is literaly trying to hurt you, trying to make things easier in order to get the short term benefit. What separates us from animals is that we developed an ability to say no to these base desires in order to achieve something more fullfiling. Humans developed the discipline to not take short cuts and to find the best thing to do in the long term despite what their brain told them. They developed a discipline to tell their brains; 'you will not control me. You will not lead me astray. I am the master of my soul, not you'.

Discipline is controlling your mind rather than the other way round. Discipline is that feeling of forcing you out of bed in the morning, doing what you don't feel like doing, taking the harder path when it is obvious to do so, seeing reality for what it really is and not the reality your mind defined for you in order to make it easier to understand. Discipline is the tool you use to life the veil of pain and suffering from your mind. Depression is when you surrender total control to your brain and your mind to the whims of hormones. Discipline is the weapon with which you fight back and win.

Jocko Willink, steadily becoming an online sensation with his podcasts has on his t-shirts and in everything he does a single message; discipline is freedom. It really is! We all want to be free and we all want to be happy. Discipline gets you there to where you want to be. Freedom is our ability to make our own choices devoid of influences both internal and external we know will get us to where we want to be. Where we want to be is happy with no reliance on anything and anyone. This requires us to like ourselves and in order to like ourselves we need to control what wants to control us; our mind. We can be free if we decide to discipline ourselves so that eventually we can discover what we need to do to be happy; address the negative thoughts in our mind, discover how untrue they all are and to finally live happy and free. We don't need anything in the world to be happy. We don't need money, love, status, anything to be happy. All we need is to say to ourselves we are happy just the way we are. That can only be achieved through discipline so we can take control.

Dear reader, i invite you to take up your discipline you have always had and to use it. Say yes to exercise if your brain tells you not to. Say yes to yourself when you finally tell that person they will not hurt you any more. Say to your mind that you are in control. This is a life discipline that is your power. We all have it as humans. It is our right as human beings to take control, to remove the manipulations of hormones that do us harm and to finally live. All it takes is discipline.


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