The Art of Self-Discipline (And Why it’s So Damn Easy)

by Bamboo Forest

Last night I had a life changing epiphany on self-discipline.

Imagine you have a huge mental burden that you could release if you chose to, but you opt to instead hold onto it even as you write your novel.

If you can write a novel while maintaining your mental burden, that means you have amazing self-discipline!

But here’s the thing: Are you really still holding onto your mental burden if you’re writing a novel simultaneously?

The answer is actually no.

While that mental burden may still be in your head on some level, you’ve obviously chosen to let it go. If you were actually holding onto the mental burden with all your might, writing your novel wouldn’t be possible.

Self-discipline, then, is less about brute force and more about letting go.

Self-discipline is actually a form of relaxation.

Great people let things go

Anyone who reaches greatness has mastered the art of letting go.

Great athletes, great writers, great bloggers, great parents, all of them, without exception, are masters at letting go regardless of whether they’re aware of it or not.

An example of letting go: currently I’m writing my sixth blog post this week. If I loathed the idea of copious writing and actually held onto that notion, this blog post wouldn’t have been written.

Letting go doesn’t mean the absence of resistance to accomplish; it means letting go of resistance and focusing your mind elsewhere.

When you let go of something you’re no longer at the mercy of its influence. What you let go of can no longer direct your path.

Truth is, if you’ve ever done something in the face of resistance, whether you were aware of it or not, you chose to let go of that resistance.

Self-discipline is the art of choosing what to be attached to and what to be detached from.

Some examples of letting go in action

  • Someone succeeding on a diet lets go of his “need” for unhealthy foods.
  • Someone succeeding in writing an annoying research paper lets go of his perception that it’s a dreadful project.
  • An athlete who surprisingly made it to professional sports has not only chosen to let go of everyone who said he couldn’t do it, but he’s also chosen to let go of his own internal voices that said he couldn’t do it.

Next time you’re struggling to overcome something, try thinking of it as more an act of letting go than an act of brute strength to overcome and see where that takes you.

P.S. – I will be writing more about the subject of letting go because I think it’s an intrinsic part of the spiritual path on all levels.

Photo by lisadragon

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