Fridays with The Ferret – (12/20/13 : Discipline)

Hey everyone and welcome to the first ever, “Fridays with the Ferret.”

First of all, I want to thank all of you who are the first to read this. You’ve followed me from the very beginning and the snowball is just beginning its decent down the hill.

That being said, picking a topic to kick off with has been quite difficult. There is just so much to talk about, so much life to explore, and countless places to start a journey. Which got me thinking, that I should try and break that thought down into its smallest pieces, you know, see the big picture, then separate it into all of its snap shots then find the commonality. That will be your beginning.

So, in this big picture, I can see a dream that I’m chasing. That dream is composed of facets, or pillars if you will that represent my customized idyllic image of self. These pillars represent ways to live happy, care free, in the moment. They represent clear and conscientious mental thoughts, good vibes, and love.  They represent dreaming, planning, and attaining. They involve carving the vessel I travel in to its peak physical form. They are the best version of my-self that I can imagine with my current tools, knowledge, and experiences; my pinnacle of Mind, body, and soul.

This leads us to the next step. What is the foundation that holds those pillars up? After some debate and a few wandering thoughts, I decided that the very foundation is DISCIPLINE. For example, discipline is what kept my mind focused long enough to form these thoughts, and again what kept me sitting still long enough to put those thoughts into written form. I was diagnosed with ADD at a young age, and have supposedly been “haunted” by it my whole life. When we hear the word diagnosis, it brings with it a negative stigma. It points to the idea that something is wrong. With ADD specifically, you are made to think you are different from other people (People are different? You’re kidding me.) This is not a crutch ladies and gentlemen. It is not a handicap, it is not a representation of limitations, and it is not something to fear. It is a learning experience. This is an opportunity to learn how to work with what you have, not against it. Which loops us back around to Discipline.

Discipline isn’t something exclusive to one person, or someone with ADD. It is a constant battle inside many of us. From the gym goer who is trying to maintain a routine, the writer who is trying to finish a novel, the student who can’t seem to focus, the athlete pushing themselves that extra mile, anyone trying to alter a behavior in themselves, and the health concerned individual trying to make changes to their diet, discipline is a recurring theme of anything beyond drifting in the ebb and flow of physical existence. It’s an art that is slowly dying in our fast paced instant gratification way of living. When commodities and comforts can be delivered to you instantly by the push of the button, it takes away the buildup of discipline to achieve a goal or reward. It requires less thinking, less doing, less experiencing the very gift of life by making it easier and easier for us to have our thoughts constantly distracted.

Let’s look at our current smart phones for example. How many times have you been to a social function, and either seen, or been the person “glued to their phone.” How many times have you been to a restaurant and been that person on your phone at dinner, or have seen it happen? Social interactions are becoming less favorable to being distracted by a text, a Facebook update, or some game that will keep the mind distracted from the life that is going on around us. How many times have you seen someone text while driving? How many times have you yourself done that? Would you run blind folded through a construction site? So why would you distract yourself while operating a motor vehicle? The answer again … Discipline!

Discipline is the driving factor that allows us to achieve our goals and do anything beyond what is comfortable or requires no effort. We have to constantly remind ourselves to stay focused to our goals and ideals or be doomed to repeat our same mistakes time and time again, like Sysiphus forever pushing his boulder uphill only to watch it tumble back down in front of him before ever reaching the top. This perceived “failure” can be detrimental to staying focused on our goals and can make it seem impossible for us to change or do anything differently than what is comfortable. Friends, the boulder tumbling down the hill is not a sign of failure, weakness, or impossibilities.  Like living with a “diagnosis” it is a challenge to be met with gusto and zeal. It is a learning experience.

Like any difficulties in life met, they are there to teach us something, to shake things up, to get us thinking outside of the box for new ways to solve our problems and ultimately get our boulder to the top of that hill. Discipline, is the vehicle that will see us through to the end and nothing else.

So why does it seem like when we set ourselves out on grandiose goals do we often times fall short and feel as if the task at hand is impossible? This is a reflection on one trying to “bite off more than they can chew,” essentially trying to skip steps in the ladder. There is a reason each rung exists. Each step is measured out to be manageable and attainable. We must treat our goals like a ladder. See the big picture and break it down into the individual steps that you must take to get to the top.

One strategy to consider when undertaking your goals is to write them out with your ultimate destination being your starting point. From there, go backwards. Trace the path all the way back to where your first step should begin. You have now created for yourself a map of how to approach your goal. For anyone who has ever gotten lost, a map is an invaluable tool and with this strategy you have essentially mapped out your goal and know your route from start to finish.

So what happens when we come to a fork in our “map?” Again, you already have the destination in mind and the path to get there, so when you find yourself in a snag, you can pin point it to your current location and devise a new strategy on how to progress to your next step without losing headway; take a side street, if you will.

Above all else, keep practicing. Nothing worth attaining is free and the value of nothing is nothing.

I leave you with a metaphor: Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. But, catching your own fish will never be as easy as being given a fish. But nor is being given a fish as rewarding as catching your own.

So friends, get out there and achieve! Find your discipline, and like a muscle, train it!

Have any stories to share about your own struggles with discipline? Have a story of triumph? Feel free to share below or send them to me via email and I will share them anonymously in a compilation to come at a later date!


One thought on “Fridays with The Ferret – (12/20/13 : Discipline)

  1. I’ve spent the last 10 or so years of my life working in kitchens, and about a month or so ago decided it was time to turn things around and get in better shape. Discipline is the hardest part with being surrounded by unhealthy food 8-12 hours a day 5-6 days a week.

    I started my diet and working out a week or so before thanksgiving and dropped a ton of weight, and other then letting myself enjoy the holiday managed to keep it going up to this point. I went a month without any fried food (which I had basically lived off of my whole life), and overall just feel much better. Now I have some time off from work but I’m facing Christmas and all of the parties and gatherings that go along with it. If I can stay disciplined and work through the next few weeks it should get easier heading towards spring.

    I like what you’re doing here. I find the more people I know who talk about being healthy and active, the easier it is for me to keep on track. I’ll be keeping an eye on the blog, and I’m already following on facebook! haha

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