Discipline Isn’t Dirty

Saturdays With Shivani

Living up to one’s potential, something that I wrote about last week, hinges critically on discipline so how could I pass it without giving my two bits on it? The moment we say discipline, it conjures up images of Dina Pathak in Khoobsurat who plays the role of the strict matriarch running a bustling household with clockwork precision. Or Paresh Rawal in the hilarious Andaz Apna Apna where he keeps roaring ‘sab cheez time to time hona chahiye’. This misrepresentation and definitely all that childhood trauma that this word packs in with it, is probably why most of us hate it.

For me, as I mentioned last week, living up to my full potential is my way of showing gratitude for the life I have. How do I achieve that, if not by being disciplined? Discipline isn’t as dirty as we’ve made it out to be. We just need to remove the negative connotation attached to it. Once we stop thinking of discipline as some sort of a punishment, we shall be able to appreciate what it brings on the table.

Discipline isn’t iron clad. Remember Subodh the timetable in Dil Chahta Hai? It’s anything but that. It is supposed to be a road map or more accurately GPS that gives us a choice of the route that we wish to take and immediately suggests rerouting if we make a wrong turn. The operative words for me, if you note, are ‘choice’ and ‘suggests’.  

By now, if you have a mental image of me getting up at the crack of the dawn, merrily striking off the items on my to-do list, allow me to dispel it. I do have to-do lists, lots of them and timetables too but I allow myself enough buffer time and am essentially kind to myself if I can’t cross out all those entries. I also ensure that I make time for fun and creative pursuits.  Do look up Covey’s 2×2 time management matrix that slots work in 4 categories based on urgency and importance. I find it extremely useful especially on days that could otherwise overwhelm me.

The best laid plans often go bust and it’s fine. Go back to the drawing table and see what went wrong and could be done better. Persistence pays; clichéd as it might sound. Allow discipline to declutter your mind and see yourself blossom in chaos. H. Jackson Brown Jr. said ‘Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates’ and that is not a very flattering sight. Cultivate discipline and visualise where it will take you and trust me, if done right, it will. Discipline isn’t as dirty as we may have been made to believe.

Whatever and howsoever you do it, stay real because you are your best judge. You know where you might falter and flounder. When you do, remember to be kind to yourself. I often say, start small and the bigger leaps shall take care of themselves. May discipline set you free to do what you want to do.

Dr. Shivani Salil