Unlocking the power of discipline: Staying on the good path

Discover the power of discipline. Explore inner and external discipline and how it relates to self-leadership. Get ready to unleash the benefits of discipline in your life.


In today’s A-Z post, we're diving deep into an important and perhaps controversial topic - the concept of discipline. Discipline is not just a buzzword; it's the secret sauce that can transform our lives and propel us towards our goals.

In this blog post, I explore what discipline means, why it's crucial to live an intentional and disciplined life, and how practicing self-discipline can lead to positive changes in ourselves and those around us. So, let's embark on this journey together, fueled by the power of discipline.

Understanding discipline

Discipline, in its essence, is the ability to align our actions and behaviors with our long-term goals and values. It empowers us to make conscious choices, resist distractions, and stay committed to our path, even in the face of challenges. It requires a strong mindset and a willingness to embrace discomfort for the sake of personal growth and progress.

The Jocko Willink connection

When it comes to discipline, you can't overlook the remarkable insights of Jocko Willink. His book on the topic of discipline was like a breath of fresh air.

Jocko, a retired Navy SEAL officer, author, and speaker, has become a symbol of discipline through his book "Discipline Equals Freedom." His experiences and teachings shed light on the true power of discipline in all aspects of life.

Jocko delivers Discipline Equals Freedom with appropriate gusto on Spotify and Akira The Don does an amazing job at putting the words to music in his 2019 album The Path. This is one of my fav workout albums!

Discipline does NOT equal freedom

While the title of Jocko's book is powerful and direct, it’s also a gross oversimplification. Discipline alone does not automatically grant us freedom, but it paves the way for it. By cultivating self-discipline, we gain control over our actions and choices, enabling us to break free from the shackles of instant gratification and short-term impulses. In essence, discipline acts as the bridge to the freedom we seek in our lives.

But, it’s important to note that if we haven’t taken the time to find our purpose and create alignment in our lives then discipline isn’t going to help us much. Sure, It’ll help us be better at doing something that we shouldn’t be doing in the first place but how useful is that? Self awareness, reflection, and clear inner values are a necessary precursor before embarking on any path. Being diligent on the wrong path, doesn’t make it the right path.

Taking the time to meditate, daily journaling and working with a coach or mentor can be valuable ways to find alignment and establish appropriate realistic goals that suit your personality and help you play to your unique natural strengths.    

Internal vs. external discipline

There are two types of discipline: internal and external. External discipline is imposed upon us by external factors such as rules, deadlines, or authority figures. Internal discipline, on the other hand, stems from within us - it's self-imposed, driven by our own values, aspirations, and intrinsic motivation. While external discipline can be effective in the short term, internal discipline is what truly empowers us to lead a fulfilling and intentional life.

The power of internal discipline

Internal discipline is preferable because it taps into our deepest desires and aspirations. When our actions are driven by a genuine inner commitment, we become unstoppable. We're no longer reliant on external factors for motivation, but rather, we become the driving force behind our own success. 

It's within us that the true power of discipline resides, waiting to be harnessed. This Internal discipline is so powerful because it’s not reliant on others and no one can take it away from you.

Unleashing the benefits of discipline

  1. Leadership: Discipline is the hallmark of effective leaders. By leading by example and practicing discipline in our own lives, we inspire those around us to follow suit. Our consistent actions, rooted in discipline, become a guiding light that illuminates the path for others.
  2. Happiness and mental health: Discipline acts as a catalyst for happiness and improved mental health. When we take charge of our actions and consciously align them with our goals, we experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment. We're able to manage stress effectively, maintain a positive outlook, and stay focused on the things that truly matter.
  3. Relationships: Discipline extends its influence to our relationships. By being disciplined, we demonstrate reliability, trustworthiness, and respect for others' time and boundaries. We become more present, actively listening to others and fostering deeper connections. Our disciplined approach also helps us set personal boundaries, commit to our relationships, and remain accountable, strengthening our bonds with family, friends, and colleagues.

Navigating the dark side of discipline

As with any powerful tool, discipline can have a dark side if misused. It's important to strike a balance and avoid becoming too rigid or inflexible. While discipline empowers us, expecting the same level of discipline from others might set unrealistic expectations. It's crucial to find harmony between self-discipline and understanding the unique journeys of those around us.

Another danger inherent in discipline is living on auto-pilot and losing connection with oneself, desires, dreams, creativity and spontaneity. This can lead to a lack of awareness and aliveness in the moment and a deep sense of boredom. But this sense of boredom in turn can awaken the need to change up our routines. For example this could mean switching your morning routine from yoga to a primal movement practice, or adding journaling to your meditation practice. 

Taking the first steps towards discipline

Now that we've explored the significance of discipline, you might be wondering, "How can I start incorporating discipline into my daily life?" Here are a few practical steps to get you started:

  1. Define your goals: Clearly articulate your long-term goals and values. This will serve as your compass and help you make disciplined choices aligned with your aspirations.
  2. Create a routine: Establish a daily routine that supports your goals. Prioritize your tasks, allocate time for self-care, and minimize distractions that hinder your progress.
  3. Start small: Begin with small, manageable actions that align with your goals. Consistent small steps build momentum and confidence, propelling you towards bigger achievements.
  4. Embrace accountability: Find an accountability partner or join a 21 day WhatsApp accountability group to help you stay on track. By sharing your progress and challenges with others, you'll find support and encouragement to stay disciplined.
  5. Practice creativity: Find creative ways to keep your routines and schedule interesting so that you don’t burn out physically or sink into a state of mindless boredom. In the same way that you want to eat a healthy, balanced diet, adopt the same attitude to your daily routines.

Discipline as an act of kindness

Here’s another perspective on discipline that may not be so obvious. I consider the practice of self-discipline as an act of kindness to myself. If I have the right alignment and I’m on the right path, the good path, my path (not someone else’s path)… then turning up each day and doing what needs to be done, not only helps me to meet my goals but it strengthens my character and helps me parent my inner child. 

Over time it becomes easier to say no to distractions and avoidance, and self-sabotage. Remember: discipline is not a weapon to use against yourself to beat yourself up when you don’t do what you should. Instead it’s the most loving action I can take for myself today. Maybe you didn't start today in the most disciplined way... don't worry about it - you can start now.

Guy Anderson

My experience of discipline

Like all of us. I wasn't born disciplined. It's a skill that I've had to learn and practice. When I was younger I was very undisciplined. Having discipline imposed upon me, particularly at school was something I rebelled against. 

But in my early 30s I discovered the power of discipline through Ashtanga Yoga, and for 9 years I practiced almost daily for 2 hours/day before work.

Most days, I'm up at 5am, take a cold shower, write my journal, drink my coffee and moving my body. It feels good to start my day this way and it's more or less automatic now, so I don't even think about it.

But routine can also lead to stagnation and boredom so it's important to change up the routine from time to time, to help stir my creativity and feel more alive. I do this by changing my movement practice or adding breathwork or meditation.  


Discipline is the key to unlocking our full potential and living an intentional life. It's a mindset, a daily choice, and a journey of personal growth and maturity. By cultivating self-discipline, we not only transform ourselves but also inspire positive change in those around us. 

Are you ready to start embracing the power of discipline and carving a path to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life? Stand by to get some (freedom)!

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