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Discipline requires more flexibility than most people think. We all know what we should do in most situations. Ignorance is rarely the cause of an undisciplined choice. The problem I have is that we become rigid in our thinking of when it is appropriate to give our best. When I am undisciplined, I have usually created a small window of when I am willing to give my best effort. I can disqualify a day as being a day to be disciplined for any number of reasons that create a less than ideal circumstance for the choices that I know I should make. It takes a flexible mind that accepts less than ideal circumstances and keeps going the way I know I should.
Some days are definitely harder than others. I have written before about what my dad used to call “heavy gravity” days at the gym. It’s when things just feel harder. It seems like we are working twice as hard for half of the result. It takes a large portion of our willpower to just get going. These are the days where we show out true quality. Anyone can do their best on the days when they feel their best. The disciplined person does their best regardless of how they feel. I am not talking about when we are ill or injured. We should rest on those days. I am talking about days that you just don’t feel good enough to care enough. Discipline is the supplement for the missing euphoria that seems to motivate us on every other day.
It’s tough to understand when to change and when to double down on a proven method. There is clearly a time for both. The problem occurs when our preference becomes our default. If we like potential change, we will find reasons to advocate for it. If we like the way things are, we will find reasons to resist change. Wisdom is needed to resist the need for one or the other so that we make the best decision regardless of how we feel about the decision.