I’ve been thinking a little more about the link I posted to Austin Kleon’s blog the other day. I finished it with the line
Instead there should just be turning up to write down a thought and seeing where it takes you.
It’s a sentiment that you hear quite regularly around the Internet these days. Just keep turning up every day and do the thing—whatever your thing is.
The phrase turning up is just a less intimidating way of saying be disciplined. Turning up to write a blog post everyday is a discipline, just as reading your bible every day is or getting up without pressing the snooze button.
As I get older I’m understanding more and more that learning to be disciplined is one of the most important things you can do. It can effect every area of your life and it’s easy to assume that discipline is something that you have or you don’t. That you’re either able to be disciplined or you’re not, but that’s not the case. Discipline, I’m learning, is something you can develop. It’s like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets.
The hard part, I believe, is not getting started but maintaining and developing. Everyone can start something, doing it for a couple of days before they get distracted or it begins to feel like work, and then stopping because it requires effort to continue. But that’s where you need to begin exercising that muscle of discipline, when things feel too hard keep going regardless, over time how hard it feels will disappear and instead it will become something you do each and every day.
So join me in learning to be disciplined. Starting tomorrow morning decide what time you’re going to get up, set your alarm and then get up when it goes off. No snoozing, no rolling over, just turn off that alarm and get up. Then do it the next day, and the next, until it becomes something you just do.