Jocko Willink is a retired Navy Seal, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. Jocko is famous for his 4:30 daily wake-up. He posts a picture of his watch every morning on Instagram and Twitter then he does his daily morning workout consisting of weight training, calisthenics, sprints, and more. He also train Jiu-Jitsu every day in the afternoon. His mantra is, “Discipline Equals Freedom”. Jocko is currently 50 years old.
The word discipline is derived from the Latin word, discplina, which means “instruction or training”. It is derived from the root word discere – “to learn”.
In simple terms, discipline is doing what you are supposed to do whether you feel like it or not. Sounds simple and easy, but we all know otherwise!
How does discipline equal freedom?
Most people wait around to get motivated before they do something. That may involve watching a video on YouTube, reading a book, talking to a friend, and more. They are depending on something from the outside to spark the desire to do what needs to be done.
When business philosopher and teacher, Jim Rohn, was teaching a seminar about success, a guy said that he needed his boss to motivate him every morning. Jim Rohn smiled and asked, “What if he doesn’t show up? Jim then said, “You have to have a better plan for your life than that.”
Discipline truly is freedom because you are the captain of your own ship. You are in control of what you do and when you do it. You aren’t relying on anything external. When it’s time to work out, you do it. When it is time to work on the project, you do it. When it is time to spend time with the family, you do it.
Award-winning composter John Williams wrote the score for Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more. When asked about his success, he said it came down to daily discipline. He said that he sits down every day and writes music whether he feels like it or not. He said sometimes I write great stuff and other times it is terrible.
He said that doesn’t really matter. What matters is writing every day led him to writing the masterpieces that have defined his career.
What is the problem with motivation?
The problem with motivation is that it is temporary. You get fired up for a moment or a few days but that wears off. If you are relying on that, you are stuck in the mud. Being disciplined means you take 100% responsibility for your life and take the action necessary to succeed.
How can you be disciplined in your relationships?
Discipline plays a key role in the success or failure of relationships. Most people think that relationships, such as marriage, is a 50/50 scenario. The thought process is I do my part and you do yours. On the surface, that makes sense.
In reality, successful relationships are 100/0. You take 100% responsibility for the relationship and what happens. When your spouse is upset, don’t ask what is wrong with him or her. Instead ask yourself, “What did I do (or didn’t do) to cause him or her to be upset, angry, frustrated, etc.”
This can be very difficult to accept and implement, however, it works. The commitment is to the relationship and the other person. You understand that you cannot control what someone else says or does, but you can control your response to their actions. You can choose to respond positively, proactively, and calmly. You can choose the disciplined path and check your ego at the door, so you can zero in on what you can do (focus on solutions) to improve the situation and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.
What do most people do? They react! They get angry, sad, emotional, or any slew of negative emotions. We have all been guilty of this before. I am not proud of it; however, I am trying to learn from it.
Let me be clear, I am not scoring straight A’s on all this stuff. I, like you, are a work in progress. I am constantly “under construction” and working towards the best version of myself. One thing I know for sure is that when my focus is on taking disciplined action, the better version of me comes out.
How should we discipline our children?
I also read that the word discipline comes from the root word “disciple” which means “to teach”. When we discipline kids, we are doing it to teach them something – the right way to behave, follow the rules, etc. It should never be done out of anger or emotion. Is this easier said than done? Hell yeah! As my dad would say, “That’s why they call it work!”
In closing, we have to understand that there is no easy way out in life. There is only discipline. When we understand that and stop fighting against it, life becomes more fun and your results will go through the roof!