Zettelkasten Forum


Discipline is Freedom

Disclaimer: this topic is unrelated to Zettelkastens.

The title of this topic is a quote from Jocko Willink, a retired Navy Seal and a person that is known for his advocacy that discipline is freedom, which I totally agree.

Most "regular" people will say discipline is not freedom because in order to have the discipline to live the good life, is necessary to follow strict guidelines and goals that you will establish for yourself.

I think I can say a thing or two about the lack of discipline because I'm on the path to becoming a better version of myself. I suffered (and still do) with lack of discipline. Things, like wake up on time or do what I got to do, sometimes are difficult to keep up.

We also live in a distract society, with a lot of tweets, gadgets, notifications, all demanding our attention. I believe (and also after reading Deep Work) that at least for my self, the cure to distraction is,

  1. Minimalism,
  2. Be selfish

Why minimalism?
I believe a minimalist life (interesting reading) will improve our focus. Less stuff, less noise. Side effects: you will have more money, fewer things to choose.

Why be selfish?
When I say selfish, is as not helping others, but more worried to help yourself, to be respectful of our own time. Quite often and depending on where you live in this world, people will be more or less invasive.

I spend my time between Brazil, USA, and Portugal, and is noticeable how Brazilians will quite often just shows up on your house and stay, stealing your precious time talking about nothing specific. That's not a rule, and my friends don't do this, other people does :wink: (don't want to offend anyone), but it's like a cultural behavior. Americans on the other side, are way more worried about this, time is money, right?

In scenarios like this, you need to be selfish and say something like "ok, I can't have you here now, I'm doing something important..." and so on.

My question is, especially directed to @sfast. How you schedule your day in order to have discipline? What do you think about minimalism? Everybody is welcome to join the discussion, and share your setup to be a better version of yourself. I'm directing this to Sascha because I know he is a coach and talks about discipline (as far as I could understand, I don't speak German).

Have a great Sunday!

p.s: I cited Brazilians because I'm part Brazilian, so I know the culture pretty well.

Comments

  • The title of this topic is a quote from Jocko Willink, a retired Navy Seal and a person that is known for his advocacy that discipline is freedom, which I totally agree.

    Most "regular" people will say discipline is not freedom because in order to have the discipline to live the good life, is necessary to follow strict guidelines and goals that you will establish for yourself.

    1. Most people accomplish very little. I don't mean this in a demeaning way but rather as a fact many people recognize themselves. In my experience, many people are well aware of their own underachievement, are unhappy with it and have not clue how to solve this problem. Therefore:
    2. Most "regular" people don't have any clue. I make it a point to learn from people who are practitioners, a habit heavily enforced by the lecture of Nassim Taleb. If someone is rejecting the claim that discipline equals freedom I'd just ask how does this assumption work out in their lives. (Always: Not so good)

    I want to point that out because everyone seems to have strong opinions on that. I find that a bit strange because I needed a decade of daily research to have an opinion at all about that topic.

    We also live in a distract society, with a lot of tweets, gadgets, notifications, all demanding our attention. I believe (and also after reading Deep Work) that at least for my self, the cure to distraction is,

    Luckily, it is your own choice. My rage against smartphones is not quite blindly but based on research. A smartphone is designed for distraction and will more and tinkered to serve this purpose. I think one can use it purposefuly but only if you are willing to commit to a trench war.

    I'd like to rephrase this statement to stress the point of personal responsibility: We live in a society which offers unlimited distraction. It is shown in a funny way in the Disney movie Pinoccio and the trope of pleasure island.

    Why minimalism?

    I totally agree. I am very committed to a minimalist livestyle.

    Why be selfish?

    Being self-determined is not being selfish. This is what I always say when this topic comes up. I write because I like to research. But I commit to publish books because I think this is the best way for me to produce value for other people and ultimately the world.

    Saying no means saying yes to much bigger things.

    Silvia wrote in his cool book "How to Write a Lot" a true thing: Productive people respect your schedule while unproductive people won't because they themselves don't have a schedule.1

    How you schedule your day in order to have discipline?

    I have three type of daily schedules:

    Normal day (Mo, Thu, Thur, Fr):

    • 0600 Morning Routine (Washing, Mobility, Meditation)
    • 0700 Writing or Main Project
    • 1100 Training
    • 1300 Lunch
    • 1400 Work (Clients, Email, etc)
    • 1730 Training
    • 1900 Dinner
    • 2200 Sleep

    Deep Work Day (We, Sat):

    • 0600 Morning Routine (Washing, Meditation, Mobility, Walking)
    • 0700 Research and Writing
    • 1400 Training
    • 1530 Work (Clients, Email, etc.)
    • 0700 Big Dinner

    Sunday:

    Mostly I wake up early (0400) and do some fun stuff after my morning routine. I watch Dragon Ball Super and do some things I like. But sunday is unstructured.

    I rarely break my routine. Mostly, it is afternoon when I meet somebody. I prefer to meet for dinner. Then I am done with my daily shores and can meet with my head free.

    What do you think about minimalism?

    Big proponent. In fact, I think that minimalism (a relative term) is todays big pillar of having a good and meaningful life. I don't buy clothes other than I really need to (some of my t-shirts for training are 40 years old and from my father), don't... I just don't buy stuff. :smile:

    I have bigger fish to fry than to run through a shopping mall and ask myself which color would make me look pretty. :smiley:


    1. Silvia, P. J. (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. American Psychological Association. 

  • We live in a society which offers unlimited distraction.

    Delicieux, Monsieur Fast, delicieux!


    Maybe Sascha and I should some day make a "day in the life" video :) It'd look like a still frame, except for the sunlight changing, with both of us sitting in front of our desks all day and stuff.

    An interesting German phrase, borrowed from Immanuel Kant, is "Durch Selbstzwang zur Freiheit", literally: "Through constraining oneself to freedom". Discipline is one such constraint you put on yourself. Without discipline, you still can do everything (after all, you don't go into Stand-By mode), but you won't achieve anything. Thus not express yourself. Thus be unfree, and ultimately: unhappy.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • Discipline is Freedom.
    This thread is Wisdom!

    :+1: Respect, guys!

  • If you haven't already read it, you might find Roy Baumeister's work interesting. See here for a review (by Steven Pinker) of his book on Willpower: nytimes.com/2011/09/04/books/review/willpower-by-roy-f-baumeister-and-john-tierney-book-review.html

    Cheers!

  • @sfast thank you for the well-elaborated answer, I especially liked the quote below,

    I'd like to rephrase this statement to stress the point of personal responsibility: We live in a society which offers unlimited distraction.

    Some people will accomplish very little in life, taken by distractions and shallow thinking, the only way to correct this is self-awareness, taking ownership of our flaws and an unmitigated daily discipline...

    I was watching a live transmission from Jocko the other day, and he told a story about a guy he knows, called Jonny Kim, long story short, the guy is a Navy Seal, fought 100+ battles, received the silver and bronze star, not satisfied went to Harvard Medical School, became a doctor, changed again and now he is an astronaut .. Stories like this make me rethink the saying "You can do anything, but you can't do everything".. apparently you can, if you have discipline, focus and relentless dedication...

    Every time I get lazy I'll remember Jonny Kim and get back to this post...

    @ctietze I will keep this phrase on my Zettelkasten, "Through constraining oneself to freedom", thanks for sharing.

    Maybe Sascha and I should some day make a "day in the life" video :)
    It'd look like a still frame, except for the sunlight changing, with both
    of us sitting in front of our desks all day and stuff.

    I can relate to that :wink:

    @MartinBB thanks for the references, I'll check it later -- add to my calendar since I'm trying to be a disciplined person :) and have a specific time for each task ...

  • @wolff Satisfying my anal-retentive impulses, I cannot help but point out that putting tasks you can do anytime on a calendar may actually not increase but erode your trust in it, since you will inevitably fail to make some appointments some time. Same for daily to do lists, according to David Allen of GTD.

    Found a blog post that seems to cover the basics well: http://www.matthewcornell.org/blog/2006/3/28/are-daily-to-do-lists-and-gtd-compatible.html

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • http://christiantietze.de/

  • As someone with a background in psychology, I have a preference for scientific studies rather than blog posts :wink: This may be pertinent:

    https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/39/3/600/1822636

    Human behaviour is complex. Sure, the original post was about what one person (hi wolff!) finds interesting and effective, but I think it would be a mistake to think it necessarily applies widely. I feel that anyone who thinks they have found "the" answer, or "the best method" for doing something is, to a certain extent, wrong. They are wrong because they cannot possibly know (a) everything about any other individual actor (b) everything about the context in which the individual exists and acts, and (c) what has happened to the individual before they reached this particular point. In my view, it is a mistake to consider the individual as a sort of separate and independent actor (consider the Fundamental Attribution Error https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error). I would say it is more fruitful to look upon any human being as a component in a system, and any element of the system can change at any time. It is far more valuable to be able to adapt to changes than it is to have a rigid system (my personal view again).

    Those of us who belong to a Western European cultural matrix have a tendency to see human activity as an individual endeavour to a far greater extent than those who come from other cultures. See this:

    https://culcog.berkeley.edu/Publications/2001PsyRev_Nisbettetal.pdf

    No disrespect to the former Seal, but whenever I see articles discussing the latest "best way of doing x" my usual reaction is to think that the author is telling us as much about their personality and background as they are about the effectiveness of the method they are using. Probably more. The former Seal is telling us a lot about the context or system in which he is used to operating. And obviously those who are enthusiastic about a certain way of doing things are also telling us about their personality and background. No harm in that, but beware the False Consensus Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_consensus_effect) -- what works for you may be completely wrong for others.

    When I come across examples of what seems like the "Protestant Work Ethic" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic) my mind goes back to a story one of my teachers told me. This a well-known story, probably mythical, about a German officer who was given the task of studying the German officer corps and coming up with some recommendations. He concluded that officers could be divided into four categories: those who were lazy and intelligent, those who were hard-working and intelligent, those who were lazy and stupid, and those who were hard-working and stupid. His recommendations were that those who were lazy and intelligent should be given the highest positions because they would find the easiest ways of doing things. Those who were hard-working and intelligent should be given intermediate positions, those who were lazy and stupid should be given low positions, and those who were hard-working and stupid should be shot because they would create unnecessary work or put effort into the wrong things.

    Final question: who are we to judge "achievement"? Why should anybody else adopt the criteria we adopt? Happy and contented social interaction with friends and family might in themselves be considered "achievements" according to other cultural criteria. I sometimes remember the story told by Viktor Frankl about arriving in a concentration camp with the manuscript of a work that he considered more valuable than anything else he had. He was forced to revise that opinion.

    Anyway, just trying to be the devil's advocate here. And trying to justify my tendency to be lazy, chaotic, and unproductive :smiley:

  • edited March 9

    @wolff

    100% agreed. We just have to see what Arnold did. Legendary bodybuilder, legendary actor, and governator (I have no clue about his politics and don't want to go into them).

    My ancestors were victims of the dekulakization. The amount of work they did just not to day is ungodly and the stories of my family doesn't resemble real life when you come from the modern perspective.

    We human are tough cookies. We should live up to that.

  • @sfast I'm curious what you mean by 'mobility' and 'training' — I'm guessing they both involve physical exercise? If so, ten "training" sessions a week is pretty hardcore! :-)

    BTW I'd also distinguish that the only real discipline is self-discipline.
    Of course I'm being pretty undisciplined myself right now by hanging around this forum all morning when I could be zettelizing....

  • In the morning it is a mixture of yoga, loaded mobility and ballistic stretching.

    My core training (noon and evening) is composed out of strength training with barbell and gymnasics, endurance training like interval training coupled with some strongman-type training. Sometimes, I restrict my breathing with a gasmask.

  • edited March 9

    @sfast beside scaring people while running around with a gas mask :smile: what is the main advantage of a training with it? I searched the web and all I found were different opinions, some people saying it was good while others said the reduce inflow of air can decrease the quality of your training. Thanks!

  • You are breathing used air and have some resistance. It shifts the focus on the breathing habit (not on the muscles). I tested it for fun and it works. I could use it for some improvement.

    The main benefit for me was psychological. For wrestling and BJJ it is nice to know that you can function with limited air flow. Training looks like this: (2:38)

  • Thanks Sascha, I’ll research more about it. Interesting idea behind the method.

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