What does it take to live life fully? To be able to do what we truly want to do and live with ease and joy?
Fulfilling our dreams and accomplishing things we set our minds to. What does it take?
Imagine a life where you wake up without a past weighing you down. A life where you wake up with the mindset of a young child, having no preconceived idea of who you are or who you are supposed to be. Instead, you get up, and you get a new fresh start at your life. A day where you set your mind to do something, and you do it. With ease and with no resistance. I’m not implying without effort, sometimes it does take effort and hard work (like sweating profusely if you set your mind to go to hot yoga…) but you get my point right?
I believe we sometimes confuse things and let our ego (a.k.a lower brain) get in the way so much that any form of discipline or structure feels threatening to our sense of freedom. ”I’m a free spirit. I hate routine and discipline!”. Well, in my opinion, you're an entitled little brat. Oh, did I just hurt your feelings too? Seriously, listen up here because I’m merely trying to make a point.
The word discipline can be totally misused. Let me show you how discipline will not only get you where you wanna go but also how it’ll set you free.
Cultivating discipline is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Discipline is the mother of creating habits, and as we know, habits rule our world whether we like it or not. Discipline creates the inner strength to have ”veto power.” Veto power means the power to say no to the crap your lower brain comes up with. Veto power is the ability to dismiss urges. The urge to overeat. The urge to procrastinate. The urge to worry about Every. Little. Thing. It’s the power to sit anchored within and not get pulled away by the ego and all the detours it wants you to take. Like, watch ”Stranger Things” instead of getting shit done.
Freedom is an inside state.
It’s never about the circumstances or any outside event. Freedom means having the discipline to master your veto power.
Let us dig deeper into this with an example. A life without freedom looks like this. You wake up by the alarm clock, but your ego wants to sleep in, so you snooze like a mofo, and you miss your morning workout (again!). When you finally get up you’re foggy because you slept too much and while you’re about to prepare a healthy and nutritious breakfast that you were planning on having your ego doesn’t feel like it (because boring!) so you reach for the kid's cheerios. At work, you know you should get things done, but you can’t seem to step away from Facebook and all those cute kittens (I must admit I’m a sucker for cute baby animals on Facebook. Looooove them!).
Anyway, back to our story. When lunchtime comes around you had brought a nice big salad filled with stuff that you know is good for you, but instead, your lower brain hijacks your mind, and you end up stuffing your face with four pizza slices and an evil donut. And so it goes…you’re living under the spell of the lower brain and like a victim, you follow it’s whims. You falsely believe this is freedom and you freak out at the thought of having to have any form of discipline or structure.
The truth is you’re in hell.
“I think hell is something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go.” ― Neil Gaiman
Here’s a different scenario for ya. You wake up, and you notice your ego screaming to snooze. Forever snooze!!! -It screams. You veto that, and you get up, get dressed and hit the gym. During your workout, the ego does everything in its power to get you to quit. ”This is hard! Stop it! This is painful! We hate this!”. You veto the crap out of that too, and you keep going. Back home your ego tries to talk you into the Cheerios. ”Yum, they look so delicious! Who cares anyway? Have some fun!”. Yeah, you veto that crap and prepare a healthy breakfast that you know is in your best interest. Because you’re an adult. At work, your ego keeps pulling your attention towards cute baby koalas on Facebook. You love koalas. Especially baby koalas (cuteness overload!!!). But you have shit to get to so you veto baby koalas and easily complete all the things on your ”to do” list. This is freedom. This is true freedom.
This is what freedom looks like.
The internal freedom that you carry with you wherever you go. It’s having the discipline to use your veto power and keep marching even though the lower reptilian brain will do anything to get you to turn around. The ego, your lower brain, has only one job, to keep you from challenging yourself. It wants you to do your habits and your routines, and it wants to keep you safe. By doing things that feel good, right here and right now. It can't see the bigger picture or understand the concept of long-term goals.
And here is where discipline comes in. You don’t have to discipline the lower brain. Not at all. You have to discipline yourself, your higher Self, to stay put, stay firm, rooted, grounded in power to veto.
To dismiss the crap coming from the lower brain.
”Discipline might seem like your enemy, but discipline will put you on the path to freedom.” - Jocko Willink
Discipline in its purest form. The discipline to keep walking no matter what the lower brain throws at you. No matter the obstacles it tries to put up in front of you.
This is freedom.