The limits of discipline: Remember the joy of life

So much of the world of self-development can go down this path of being about discipline.
It’s all about, you know, what I should do, wanting to change myself, to do better, to find some way to be “successful” and find ways to “fix” myself.
And it becomes this whole world of what I should do.
This feeling like “The way I’m doing things needs to be improved.” It becomes easy to focus on discipline and self-control and directing how I should live my life so that I can become closer to some ideal.
I can start to imagine and appreciate all all those people that, you know, wake up before dawn and run long distances and are hyper-productive and successful, get all these things done.
And this becomes kind of this ideal of these people that are so disciplined and focused and productive, and it becomes like yeah, like I want to become more like those people.
And of course, all this is great, all this is very valuable, and it seems to come from a place of being unsatisfied with the way that I’m living my life.
When I was even more lazy, more into escapism, time wasting, it felt like I was wasting the potential of my life.
That feeling is a very uncomfortable feeling, and going into the world of discipline and self-improvement seemed to be a way- it’s a way to fix that.
It’s a way to improve my experience of life, so that my life can become closer to what I want it to be.
So all these things are great.
But where it can go too far is it just becomes all about discipline, self-control, what I should do, improving myself, changing my habits to be closer to some ideal, becoming this kind of model of productivity, so that I achieve as much as I can.
And this whole idea of hating mediocrity, like “I want greatness”.
Trying to pursue greatness.
You know, “To be great, I have to work so hard, and not worry about the simple pleasures, because I have a great plan that I’m carrying out.” But it all has a limit.
What’s the point of being perfectly disciplined? What’s the point of trying to live some ideal of productivity, and you know, trying to achieve greatness.
What is even the point of greatness? I mean, I guess greatness sounds great.
But really, what’s the point? If it’s taken too far, it’s missing really the heart of life.
Because it’s trying to take the material of life and build it into something very specific, trying to make something, as if like our simple life is not good enough, and that a simple life has to be improved and changed in some way.
And some of this is very good.
But if it’s taken too far, it’s to the point where we don’t even really appreciate the simple joys of life.
And you know, achievement, hard work and achievement and greatness: these are not everything.
The simple joy of being alive: when you look at it from this hyperproductive, search-for-greatness kind of mentality, the simple joy of life: it just seems like you’re wasting time.
It’s like “Well, OK, you’re having fun.
Well, I’m becoming great.
I’m working hard.
So I’m gonna win.” But then when you look at it from the joy of life perspective, these people that are shutting down all their joys through discipline, they’re just pure discipline and trying to use that to become great, and then they die.
It’s like well, what’s the point? Why didn’t you just enjoy life when it was around? So I think that we can’t lose that sense of the joy of life.
As much as we can use discipline to improve ourselves, we always have to remember that the simple joy of life is a central thing.
It’s just we are alive now, and it’s something for us to celebrate and enjoy.
And if that has to be made into a discipline itself, then so be it.
It seems to me that that’s as important as any other discipline that we have.
True enjoyment of life.
And not just, you know, reaching out in escapism and trying to make ourselves feel better through sort of easy pleasures, but through- whatever way works for us.
For the simple pleasures, of simply celebrating and being happy to have this chance to experience life.
No matter what we do, it seems like that is never too far from the centre of what this is all about so I’d be curious to hear how you feel about this.

#joyoflife #workvsfun #toomuchdiscipline

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