I’ve struggled over the years with this very issue, “is too much self-discipline a bad thing?” One interesting dynamic that I’ve discovered in that thought process is that self-discipline (at least according to my definition) seems to be somewhat self-balancing and self-correcting.
The definition I use for self-discipline is “doing things you know you should do but don’t feel like doing.” What I’m noticing though is that once you start doing those things enough (say working out for example) then they become a habit and if that habit goes too far it becomes compulsive (working out all day every day for example).
However, once a discipline has reached the level of an obsession or compulsion the scales then seem to have flipped around because now it’s NOT working out, or at least less working out, that is the thing you know you should be doing but you no longer FEEL like doing because of the compulsion. At the point of compulsion we become obsessed with working out.
So at that point it then requires the discipline to stop doing it or too slow down. When you put it up to the litmus test with other things like working hard, eating healthy, saving money, or any other task that seems to require discipline initially the same mysterious flip seems to happen and then the discipline required is for re-calibration, re-focusing, and re-balancing. It’s almost as if self-discipline is also self-correcting.
I started 40 lbs overweight. Then worked out constantly. Now I seem to be closer to a happy healthy balance. I worked 80 hours a week and it was my entire focus, now my focus seems to continually be towards working towards reducing the number of hours I work.
I know I have been in situations personally where it was discipline that was required to help me lighten up on myself and not be concerned with perfection.
Weird, huh? Have you found the same to be true in your life? Do you agree with this puzzling dynamic?
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See you in the stairwell,
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