Discipline separates who we are from who we want to be.

That may sound harsh, and a little old fashion, but that’s the way it is!

I remember a story about an adoring fan meeting Itzhak Perlman. He told the great violinist that he would be willing to give his life to play like him. Reportedly, the maestro replied, “I have!”

Discipline isn’t easy!

There is a difference between “practice” and discipline. In practice, we do something over and over. With discipline, we repeat an exercise with focus and purpose.

Malcome Gladwell famously pointed out that mastery of any skill requires a minimum 10,000 hours (For example, 3 hours/day for 9 years). Natural talent alone is rarely sufficient for greatness.

There are many things we are capable of in life. What we accomplish depends on discipline. 

I appreciate this isn’t news to anyone. Everyone knows years of effort are required to perfect an artistic or vocational skill. What might come as news, is the same thing applies to happiness.

There is a tendency to think happiness is driven by circumstances. Sure, it’s easier to be happy when everything is going our way. Yet, plenty of rich, good-looking, successful people are unhappy. 

Mastering happiness is no different than mastering any other skill; it takes discipline.

No one escapes tragedy. In fact, a quick way to judge how well we know someone is whether or not we know their pain. 

I’ve applied discipline to the challenge of happiness for many years. It sounds boastful, but I’ve put my 10,000 hours in. What I can say unequivocally is happiness improves with practice!

How does one practice happiness?

The Amazon bookstore carries 60,000 titles on the subject. Clearly, there are many approaches. Mine centers on disciplining body, mind, and spirit. A brief description follows:


It is critical to balance personal energy. Worries, anxiety, sadness, and stress trap energy inside. Vigorous physical exercise releases pent-up energy. It’s an essential daily routine that requires discipline. 


We are what we think! When someone asks me how it’s going, I always reply “never better,” and then practice meaning it. If I find a “sadness track” playing in my head, I immediately hit the stop button and shift awareness to the present moment. It’s harder than it sounds. It requires discipline.


Spirit is found in living relationships when attention is shifted away from “Self.” It’s critical to weave Spiritual practices into our daily routine. Examples include; reading inspirational literature, taking a mindful walk in nature, engaging in community service, or practicing faith. We’re always busy and it never seems like we have time for such things. Discipline is required. 

Discipline separates who we are from who we want to be.

What do you want to be?


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One Reply to “Discipline”

  1. I really like this article, thank you!

    Regarding “Mind” I find it helpful to accept sad, angry, etc. feelings when they appear, rather than suppress them. I believe such feelings come along for all of us on occasion. They are a part of our humanity. I let them marinade for a bit, identify and understand what triggered them, then move on. This has helped me more proactively deal with triggers and accelerate “time heals all wounds” recovery time. I am glad you have developed a technique that works for you.

    Thank you for sharing your insights. I very much appreciate your articles.



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