Extreme Discipline

The original theme of this blog concerned spiritual disciplines riffing Richard J. Foster and Dallas Willard. I read their books many years ago and even taught a couple of classes on the subject. 

It was discipline that brought me through the pandemic plus moving to a new state in reasonably good shape. The discipline of consistent bed time. Rising early for workout and meditation—even when the workout had to change because I had moved to a new community and all the gyms were closed due to Covid. Specific writing times. I did gain some pandemic weight which is all off now. Working on dropping more, although my doctor told me I was doing fine two weeks ago.

One of the few news sources I trust (even though I sent a reprimand to the CEO about too many adjectives in headlines at times) is called Axios. They use a technique called Smart Brevity, which I applaud. They’ve started a new newsletter called Finish Line focusing on life lessons. 

Here are thoughts from today. I endorse all of these.

1. Our diets: There are countless good ones, but let’s face it — most boil down to limiting things (sugar, simple carbs, booze, processed food) and starting things (more water, greens, fiber, healthy proteins — peas, eggs, fish). Try extreme dieting discipline for one week and measure how you feel.

2. Our faith/mind: It’s hard to center your brain and soul without some daily meditation, prayer, reflection. I try to meditate twice daily for 20 minutes and pray afterwards in the a.m. For me, this only works when I am extremely disciplined about it.

3. Our bodies: To me, every person should find a daily exercise habit, even if it’s walking, air squats, planks or biking. The body and mind vastly underperform without it. Start young to make it an extreme habit. But better to start now than tomorrow.

4. Our careers: All of the above give you a massive edge at work. But if you really want to crush the thing you spend the vast majority of your hours doing, you need to be more disciplined and self-demanding than others. There is no easy way to be great.

5. Our goodness: This might seem an odd coda. But few things fuel contentment and inner joy more than giving to others. If you think about the benefits (helping others + the psychic lift of doing it), it’s a very efficient use of extreme discipline.

The big picture: Start small. Pick a passion — practice extreme discipline for a few months. You’ll find it gets increasingly easy to apply it to other parts of your life.

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