How Important is Self Discipline
By Guest Blogger Heather Matthews
You may have heard before that self-discipline is important. I believe so too.
Let me start with a disclaimer. This article doesn’t say that it’s not important at all.
But self-discipline may be overrated.
Let me explain with a story.
Ponyo was the most well-known farmer in his town. He was a rice farmer. He loved to farm. He’s working diligently every day and he’s able to feed his family because of it.
He owns the farm and he manages it well. He loves to study the weather, he loves to plow the land, he loves planting seeds. He loves what he’s doing. He also loves his rice!
Each month, the farmers in this town holds a convention. They meet to discuss recent discoveries and new methods. And even fertilizer formulas to keep their farms running well.
Since Ponyo is the most successful of them all, everyone listens to him. They admire how Ponyo’s farm is running very well.
One of the farmers look up to Ponyo so much, his adoration comes with envy.
He wants to know everything that Ponyo knows when it comes to farming. His name is Bacchus.
On another convention held by the farmers at the town square, Ponyo shared a new discovery. A formula that can change the world of farming.
Bacchus wanted to ask Ponyo what this formula was. But he’s afraid Ponyo won’t share the whole thing as he always does. So Bacchus took the matter into his own hands.
One night after the convention, he stole the formula from Ponyo’s farm.
Ponyo wasn’t able to recreate the formula and the discovery ended up on Bacchus’s hands.
Bacchus went ahead and applied what he recently discovered.
Months went by and his farm went from good to great. Other farmers noticed his success. And Bacchus loved the attention and admiration.
Even Ponyo is shaking Bacchus’s hands congratulating him. And this bothered him. Even when it was Ponyo’s discovery, why does Ponyo always the happier guy? He always seemed so calm and contented. Ponyo was still the most respected. Why?
Agitated, Bacchus used his envy to work harder and fan the flames. He decided he’ll be self-disciplined. He only ate once a day. He slept in his barn. He woke up early. All to be time-efficient and to work several hours a day.
He was tired. But he’s proud of his hard work.
Years went by and Bacchus became the wealthiest farmer in his town. He surpassed Ponyo when it comes to wealth, produce, and land.
His co-farmers admire him for that.
And it still bothers him. How can Ponyo be this happy? How is he so contented?
Bacchus has surpassed him in so many ways as a farmer, and Ponyo is still congratulating him. While Bacchus remains miserable on the inside. What’s missing?
Bacchus’s insecurity and Ponyo’s contentment both went on and on until the day they die.
At the gate of heavens, they still discuss discoveries about farming, they love to talk about it. And when the great one called them, the great one said:
“Ponyo, come here, have a seat, rest. Well done, son.”
And then the great one looked over Bacchus and said, “Anything bothering you?” Bacchus answered, “Yes, how come you have asked him to sit beside you and not me? I am wealthier, I am more powerful, I produced more rice, and I’m more famous?”
“Well, the answer is simple, dear Bacchus,” replied the great one, “you were meant to be a boxer, and not a rice farmer. Your work is not yet done, off you go.”
And the great one sent Bacchus down for another go.
One of the most important things in life is finding out what you love to do.
And it isn’t that simple. What you love to do may sometimes differ from what you want to do and what you need to do.
You may want to just lie down on your couch and watch Netflix. But that doesn’t mean you’ve figured out what you love to do.
It can be challenging to know what you really love to do. So here are some guide questions to hopefully get you the answer.
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What would you do even if you won’t be rewarded for it?
- If you won a really big lottery, and won’t ever have money problems for the rest of your life… how would you spend the rest of your life?
- No matter where you are, whether you’re on a plane or you’re countryside… Whether you’re in a rich first world country or in a third world country… What do you see yourself doing?
- What activity do you find yourself always going back to throughout your life?
- What is it that you can’t see yourself without?
Few more notes…
I’m not saying that if you’re going to do what you love, it’s going to be easy. It can be challenging, it can be difficult. But here’s what you can count on…
You won’t find yourself doing the ‘hard work’. You won’t find yourself dreading what you do. Self-discipline will come naturally. Like a river carving its own banks.
You can be like Bacchus, devote and discipline yourself and you’ll achieve what you think you need. Or be like Ponyo, be passionate doing what you love, and do what the passion requires from you. One would lead to contentment, another to frustrations.