Self Discipline Versus Freedom

Sun Setting, Peaceful Time of Day

I promised a Thursday blog, but I didn’t say what time … did I?

Yesterday, as I dragged away from a 12 hour day at my  computer at 10:30 PM, I decided to approach Thursday by relaxing over my “do list.”  However I am a disobedient child, not to anyone else, but to myself, and today, when I planned to do some catching up on bookkeeping, I am writing. Yesterday, my list directed me to write, so I worked on the books.

Most folks don’t want to be backed into a corner by others. But me? I resist my own efforts for a disciplined approach to accomplishments.  There are a multitude of classes and books covering goal setting and motivate behaviors.  Goal setting to me, feels like a trap.  Self discipline again.  And there sits my trusty timer, smiling at me. I do know it works for others, so I’m not knocking the concept. We are each unique.

Forgiveness and love begins at home in my own heart, toward myself.  And it’s working.  I am relaxed today, and in five years no one will care about my “do list” including me.  The deep creative part of me is stirring amidst this peace.  The writing improves.

In a prior post we discussed the subconscious response to positive thinking.  Folks talk about “wanting to do something” and “believing you can do something” and both are important. It is getting to the “wanting with your whole heart” and “Believing with your whole heart” that is difficult.  We have constructed barriers or fences for protection. Michael Hague, writing teacher extraordinaire,  calls it living in our identity, but once we are brave enough to break through, we can live in our essence.   So if something in the subconscious is more powerful, the half truth must be overcome and the barrier removed.

I have a tight fisted grip on freedom.   What does freedom mean to you?   And I’d love to hear what you think about self-discipline, not mine, but yours.  Grin.

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol J. Garvin
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 09:26:18

    Yes, I’m a list maker, too, when it comes to daily chores. I’m an organized person and putting things down on a list frees up my mind… I don’t have to stress about forgetting something important. But I’m a rebel when it comes to fixed schedules. I dislike being confined to them, although much of my life has required it. There are inevitable appointments and deadlines in my life, and I often work most efficiently when faced with them. But formal goal-setting is a little too much like New Year’s Resolutions, which I stopped making years ago when I decided I was just setting myself up for failure. (Instead, I have “intentions”… things that I would like to accomplish and will work towards, understanding that not every destination is attainable.)

    I suppose all this suggests I’m not very self-disciplined… although I do acknowledge priorities and follow my passions, and I think in life they may be more important than enforced self-discipline.

    Do you think possibly it’s all just a matter of semantics?

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  2. Marianne Strnad
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:21:01

    Discipline? What’s that? The older I get, it seems the worse I become. Oh Me, what will become of you? Lol!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 11:48:22

      Intentions, and then one day at a time dear friend. I suspect there are successful people in many aspects of life that put one foot in front of the other and do very well. Like comparing the writing term, pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants) and plotters (laying out plans in advance) … both have success …we can walk through life that way. But I’ve seen you in operation, and that smart phone is your third hand. I’ll wager there are lists on there somewhere!

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  4. Angela Wallace
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 14:58:59

    I love my lists, and I’m pretty good at meeting my writing goals, though I do allow myself the flexibility of playing catch-up. For the last round of Row80, my goal was to write 1k a day, and sometimes that meant Monday (0), Tuesday (2,000), and that worked for me. In other areas of my life, goodness can I not meet a goal to save my life. I’m terrible really, but it just comes down to what’s really important to me. If I’m not passionate about something, I can’t seem to keep up with my goals, no matter how important I know they are.

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 11:42:46

      Angela, thanks for sharing. I am passionate about many things and therein lie the difficult choices. Randy Ingermanson wrote that if we have ten things on our agenda, if we reduce them to five, those five will be done two times better. Hmmm. I am checking my agenda’s.

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  5. patriciasands
    Oct 01, 2011 @ 09:27:48

    Dear Marion – Your comment that “forgiveness and love begins at home, in my own heart” rings so true! If you are content with your choices in life and are able to forgive your missteps, then all will be well. You may even loosen that tight-fisted grip! Lists and goals are great to help us plot direction but often detours turn out to be most helpful in a journey and we should enjoy the ride!

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  6. Hartford
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 04:20:34

    I struggtle to attain more self-discipline. Left to my own vices, I veer off in a million directions and rarely accomplish the things that I “say” and “think” are most important to me. Odd. So lists, scheduling, plans help me stay on track and focused. Great post!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Sep 30, 2011 @ 17:46:35

      I just read one of your tweets and discovered you are from Eastern Canada! A big wave from a former Canadian. (I would have written your actual place down, but I don’t trust my memory … grin.)
      Wonderful to see you here! Yes, I need lists … but the distinction for me lies between a list and goal setting. I even see a difference between a deadline marked on a list and goal setting. The lists and the deadlines are fine, and do help me keep on track, but for me, goals feel like one shove too many. Trust me, I’ve tried. My tolerance level is rising though.

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  7. Laurie Ryan
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 20:49:01

    No to-do list? Perish the thought! I’m a lister from start to finish. And a plotter, and a scheduler. While I do enjoy down time and I believe it helps the creative process, I can only DO down time if I know I have a list to return to when I’m done. lol Great post, Marion!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Sep 30, 2011 @ 17:38:12

      I hear you , Laurie. I have a one track mind and need the list to avoid forgetting important things. But I carry the items forward that I don’t accomplish. Keep em talking to me. It is the goal setting that sets my teeth on edge. I need to get over it! I can even deal with deadlines … That’s why I love your writing spread sheet so much. It gets revised according to my progress, and lets me know how much I have yet to do, etc.

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