Discipline is not so much about getting something you want, about being strong, about striving, as it is about avoiding your own dystopia, about being scared, about running away from hell.
The former type of discipline will only take you do far, is tiring, is weak; the latter type is enduring, powerful, a force to be reckoned with.
The lesson: identify not only your Heaven (where you want to be, what you want to achieve, how you want to help, the life you want to live, the people you want to meet, etc etc etc), but also your Hell. What is your Hell? Quite simply, everything you don’t want to happen, that could happen, and that will perhaps happen if you don’t do something about it, now.
We all have our own versions of Heaven, but lacking a Hell to run away from we are weak, inefficient, slow, wasteful, purposeless.
It is not rational, concentrated, applied, disciplined striving that makes the world go around; it is emotion, fear, chaos, power, reaction, passion and instinct. You use this to your advantage when you vividly define where you do not want to end up.
You may currently be close to your version of hell; if that be the case, it is time to completely confront your own dishonesty, denial, lies and self-delusions, and scare yourself into taking action. If you discover you are living on the outskirts of—or worse, inside—your version of Hell, then you must take responsibility your situation and burst the fragile bubble you’ve been so militarily protecting—maybe for as long as you can remember. It will be painful, but truth is like that.
Our ancestors recognised there may come a time when everything would be perfect. The issue is that we humans use imperfection as fuel; it is through identifying problems that we conjure up the energy to fix them. Hence, a problem-free world is a big problem. Lies and dishonesty cover up problems, creating the illusion that all is okay—but the truth is usually something different.
Yes, have a north star, but keep one eye on the place you don’t want to end up. Depending on your level of self-awareness, you may need to have a few painful encounters with truth. Dishonesty distorts our ideas of how horrifying things can get; it makes the task of identifying where you don’t want to end up considerably harder. Truth, on the other hand, lays it all on the table.
Define your own version of Hell—and make it as colourful, lucid, and as horrifying as you can. Confronting this Hell will not only rattle you rationally, it will redirect your emotions in favor of your goals.