Self-Discipline, Training, Practice, and Other Things We Despise

For some of us, the very idea of self-discipline conjures images that occupy nightmares. It’s the whole discipline business. It makes us think of over the top parenting practices, the local leather bar, or a Mel Brooks movie. If we change the word from discipline to training, it doesn’t get nurse dieselmuch better because for many of us we think of either potty training, training bras, or preparing to run a marathon. Notice that of the two lists of three things I have given you, the odds are that you don’t like more than one thing in either list? Yet the truth is that no new skill is learned unless we practice it, so maybe we should give up terms like self-discipline and training and replace them with the idea of practice. Unless, of course, you were forced by your parents to practice the piano, in which case all hope may be lost.

You can pick your own word, but whatever word you prefer the truth is that we don’t get better at anything unless we actually do it. Waiting around until we can do it perfectly means that we will never do anything that we don’t already do. Could there be a better recipe for a boring life? So give up your insistence on perfection and just try something new. Know that your first efforts won’t look as nice as the efforts you make five years from now, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable because they all are steps on the way. That’s true whether your new talent is crocheting or spirituality!

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