The Fisherman’s Discipline


As the sun sparkles and shines on the morning bay our local fisherman is heading out to work for the day.  You could set your clock by his coming and going.  The only time he is not out there is in bad weather.  He doesn’t have to fish for a living.  I have gotten to know him and his partner as I pass their home almost every day when they are getting up.  He does it because he likes to have fresh fish for his family and friends.  He loves being out there.  He says that if there is something you like to do, you just do it; it becomes a habit in your daily routine.

We once talked about whether habit was the same as discipline and he reckons it is.  The discipline creates a routine and he thrives on routine.  He has no alarm, he gets up and does the same thing almost every morning.  His partner appreciates that kind of discipline/habit as it also structures her morning.  She gets up paints, the catch of the day arrives at noon, they cook lunch together and most days friends join them.  Their day goes into a nice slow meander; after three o clock they read, he looks after his boat, chats with his friends who also have boats, she continues to paint, they go for a walk, a swim in the summer months, meet more friends and family for an aperitif at 6.30pm, home for supper and bed by ten o clock.

Their lives were not always like this.  He was a doctor in a country practice and his partner was the local art teacher.  They always wanted to live by the sea together.  As soon as their children from separate families were finished college they moved to the coast and are very, very content with their lives eighteen years later.  They are in their late sixties now and both of them say that you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you have courage, tenacity, discipline and in their case oodles of love for each other.  You can achieve anything, any time in your life if it is a burning desire or something that will put a smile on your face.  Once you smile ‘that’ kind of smile you will always want more of it.

So what does wikipedia have to say about self-discipline?  Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to motivate oneself in spite of a negative emotional state. Qualities associated with self-discipline include willpower, hard work, and persistence.  Self-discipline is the product of persisted willpower.  Whereas willpower is the strength and ability to carry out a certain task, self-discipline is the ability to use it routinely and even automatically (as if through reflex).  An analogy for the relationship between the two might be defined as follows: Where willpower is the muscle, self-discipline is the structured thought that controls that muscle.  In most places it is believed self-discipline is the ultimate path to success.

What do you want to achieve?
What are your goals?
What kind of shape or way of life do you want to live?
How can you make small shifts that improve the quality of your existing life?
How do you get from where you are now to that place you want to be in?

Whether it’s health of mind or body you want to achieve, to be less angry, closed or judgmental, write that book, build that website, start that business, close your business, move house, move country, separate, divorce, marry or live together, take that trip or just take time out and travel the world, make that call that will change your life or a part of it, create that photographic archive, make that career change, be more loving, kind or trustworthy, be more generous; don’t wait to be asked to help, take that course or workshop, open-up to the world and yourself etc.

You can wish and think about ‘it’ forever, it’s only when you choose to make your desires, thoughts or wishes a goal and apply action, courage and discipline will you achieve it.  It’s as simple as that or you choose to stay living a mediocre life because you are too lazy, not motivated or inspired by life or your life in general.

How did you develop the habits you have that are good for you?
Is there or was there discipline involved?

Assess the ways you are disciplined and see how you can apply it to the parts of your life that will help you to achieve your goals.  Remember life is no dress rehearsal, you are on stage everyday publicly and privately, how do they differ?

Make your day a wonderful memory!

“Discipline imposed from the outside eventually defeats when it is not matched by desire from within.”  Dawson Trotan

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

“The problem with patience and discipline is that it requires both of them to develop each of them.”  Thomas M Sterner

“Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you’ve got.” Jim Rohn

“Discipline is remembering what you want.” David Campbell

“Pity the man who inherits a million and isn’t a millionaire. Here’s what would be pitiful, if your income grew and you didn’t.” Jim Rohn

“The most powerful control we can ever attain, is to be in control of ourselves.”  Chris Page

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”
Haim G. Ginott  -That is not the self-discipline we want to cultivate in this world of ours.

©Copyright The Possible Self 2012

1 comment
  1. I enjoyed this post. Especially how your income can grow while you don’t… It never ceases to amaze me how we stay at the same place and shut ourselves to growth.

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