Freedom is interesting. Freedom often circles around the idea of peace, calm, and stability in my life. All those ideas kind of fall under this parent idea of "Discipline".
For many, discipline is a negative word. It implies law or regulations. It implies obedience and limits. It may stir up unresolved hurt from parents or our work place. We may think of diets or workout plans we started and gave up three weeks in, which we lacked discipline.
Having discipline is freedom. It breaks the chains of laziness. It wakes us up from sleeping in reality.
Those that resist discipline often do so because they don't want to face reality. Disicipine allows something or someone to have authority over us. Even if it's not a specific person, your gym could be the thing that disciplines you. If you want to be healthy you have to eat right, and in return food then becomes the disciplinary figure. Discipline is a part of a healthy whole life.
Our ego and pride and maybe most importantly our past hurts kick and scream against discipline. It's always easier to give into temptation, to break habit, to have one extra drink, to charge one more item to the credit card, to watch one more episode on Netflix instead of working because our minds are constantly trying to figure out what we can do to soothe ourselves.
It's interesting because when I look at my most whole and happy times in life, I have always been the most disciplined. About three years ago I finally stopped resisting discipline. I got to this point because the "freedom" I thought I longed for was actually making me miserable. It wasn't working. I lacked discipline in my eating and drinking habits. I lacked discipline in my work schedule, I lacked discipline with my fitness and with my relationships. I found myself in Nashville, making records, doing what I thought I loved but I was a mess of a human. This is not that unusual. In fact most the world lives a life that lacks discipline.
We can't be too hard on ourselves if we lack discipline because the very country we live in and our government clearly shows no sign of discipline. Our culture tries to sell us on freedom and material things that will only make things more complicated and our religious organizations have made discipline into a shame and guilt monster that is causing more harm then good currently.
Discipline has gotten a bad reputation... cue Taylor Swift.
Once I realized that the freedom I thought I had from a lack of discipline was actually just me acting out like a child in hopes to heal a past hurt or insecurity in my life, I began to see some clarity. I realized when I was not on a great sleep schedule, I would skip workouts or stay up too late. This would then make me sleepy for work and in return I was not giving my clients the best of me. For this I apologize for. I did great work still, but I was showing up not at 100%. Maybe you can relate?
I made a change. I began taking out the things in my life that were causing me to essentially fail at life. I made choices that were for me. I made choices to take care of myself so that I then could actually offer the world the real whole me. Once you begin to see that discipline is actually your best friend and is here to help you become whole, you begin to see the routines, rituals, and practices in a whole new light. They become a joy to do. Anyone who has hit rock bottom and made a recovery can tell you that discipline, routine, and rituals become the most grounding and freeing things in life.
When you begin to embrace discipline, your mind frees up. There is no longer an underlying shame or questioning of whether or not you are choosing to become whole and healthy. You know you are because you have given up the childish things that were once used to make you numb to reality. Discipline sets up boundaries that protect us from all the expectations that others have for us and it makes us become a confident person who puts fear in the backseat.
To lack discipline, is to ignore ourselves and reality.
I have watched so many people in town crash and burn. Rise to the top and fall off because of a lack of discipline. We think we are healthy when we get some praise and money, but that just feeds the fire and ego even more. We must have discipline in all areas of our life as this creates the space and freedom we truly long for. There is nothing more satisfying then laying your head down at night knowing you gave the day your best. For those that reject that and argue that going out and partying is more fun, I understand, I have been there. Regardless of what discipline has done to help my life, it required me to learn the hard way as well. Consider this blog as a seed that is planted.
The audio industry is misleading. It portrays this rock and roll lifestyle of travel, food, alcohol, money and sex.... which there is plenty of that, but it makes it seem sustainable. As if you can live that way forever. You can not. You can try, but you will find yourself empty and longing for some sort of routine and stability eventually, I promise.
What I learned the hard way was that those who were making the albums I loved were disciplined. They had routines and rituals. Even if they didn't realize it, they had created a schedule and lifestyle that was one of purpose and discipline. They showed up everyday ready to work. When I would ask some of my mentors to come to a show, I often would get a "no" because they needed to go to bed or they knew they needed to spend time with their family or just taking care of themselves.
Often what we need is not a night out on the town but a night in allowing ourselves time to recharge and refocus.
There has been a direct result in my life as I began to embrace these ideas. My business got better, my health improved, my relationships have grown and healed, and I actually have finally embraced myself and I love it. I love the life I live and I finally feel like everything I have wanted I realized I already had. But it came at the cost of losing a lot of "friends". Saying "no" to a lot of invites, and a mourning period of an old me that needed to be let go. I have watched people in this town try to "go back" or recreate past memories, moments, or nights in hopes of filling a void that can only be filled with forward growth and discipline and maturity. The sooner we realize we can not go back the sooner we grow more whole.
I get asked a lot, how I do what I do. It's not rocket science. It's showing up everyday to life and taking care of yourself. It's making a left instead of always going right back down that path that leads to destruction. It's respecting yourself enough to chose a different way and to trust the wisdom of so many before us that have embraced discipline.
If you embrace discipline you realize that you are unstoppable and you are no longer a slave to life but you are it's master.
This is real power and real freedom.
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