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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Discipline

So, I haven't posted since May 7. That's pretty sad. To tell you the truth, after it had been about two weeks, I started to simultaneously feel guilty about not posting and dread posting. It got me thinking a lot about personal & spiritual discipline.

I often feel like I have not been sufficiently disciplined. General professional reading languishes unread in my Outlook inbox. Efforts at daily journaling (or blogging) peter out. Healthy eating (and an eternity ago exercise programs) begun with enthusiasm fade away.

Lack of discipline is related to procrastination, but distinct in this way. Procrastination relates to defined commitments. When I put off addressing the needs of my work, church, family or community organizations, I find myself back on my heels doing only what has to be done immediately. It leads to less than optimal performance and it is a serious problem, to be sure. But lack of discipline does not have such dramatic results. Lack of discipline results in being disappointed in how I have shaped myself. Looking back and saying, "Why haven't I paid down more of my debts, lost more weight, written that story, made this change happen in my organization, community, or world?"

The opposite of discipline isn't procrastination, it is leisure. Which brings me to my question, because unlike procrastination which is always unhelpful, leisure is a crucial component of the human condition. Rest and Relaxation are both desirable and necessary.

So, how do you balance discipline and leisure? How do you ensure you work sufficiently hard to shape yourself and be the best you possible, while at the same time fully enjoying the gift that is life?

1 comment:

shadowfax said...

I totally know what you mean -- especially about the blog -- when I go a few days without posting it grows in me like a shirked duty and really feels like an obligation to get out there and write a post. If it ever starts to feel more like burden than fun I'll drop it. I'm not there, but I can see how it can happen.

Thought-provoking post.