I spent the entirety of today racking my brains over a painting that just did not seem to work, no matter how many times I started over. It was so frustrating, I almost gave up. But the thing about commissioned paintings is that you don’t have the option to give up, especially when you’re one day away from your self-imposed deadline. I suppose there is some sort of discipline involved when it comes to the kind of consistency you become used to over a certain period of time. And when I’m done writing this post, I’ll probably go back and finish that painting because it needs to go out tomorrow!
First of all, let me tell you what I think about certain kinds of discipline schools want their students to develop. It’s utter garbage, and God knows it does more damage to children than it does them any sort of good. Now, before you go ahead and come at me with pitchforks, let me ask you this- In what world do you think it is okay to shame students into doing something? and as if that isn’t enough, let me also ask you- Why do you think it’s okay to make students fit into the same, regressive mould that is only going to curb whatever actual interest they have for something?
That is, however, not to say that schools don’t help us develop the more important kinds of discipline that we need to actually be a functional human being in the world outside. There is always a lesson in there, somewhere, I’m sure. But I do not agree with forcing a whole bunch of people to just do as they’re told, while they remain unable to question why they’re supposed to do something. And let me tell you this clearly, ‘Because I told you so‘ and ‘Because I’m older than you; you aren’t allowed to talk back’ aren’t valid excuses or reasons for anything, especially when it comes to disciplining people who are still trying to learn the ways of the world. It does more damage than you can even imagine.
Discipline is good, of course, it is. But the kind of discipline we form for ourselves with very specific goals in mind is very different from the kind of discipline that we’re often forced to stick to. You setting a deadline for yourself and being determined to complete your tasks within that time is the kind of discipline you form for yourself. However, schools force you into developing a kind of discipline that, you will find, is very hard to break out of, once you’re past that age of schooling. And no, telling people that they need to discipline themselves is just the opposite of being helpful. It does absolutely nothing.
When people ask me how I manage to remain so consistent with my work, ‘discipline‘ is definitely one of the last words that come to mind. Mostly, my reason for being consistent is constant motivation and the fact that I have a lot to say, in general. I just have a lot of opinions and it is easier to put them all out there instead of spending days at a time mulling over everything and bringing myself down. No. Discipline is when I know what my day is going to look like and when I know that I am going to get things done.
Discipline is when I know that I am growing at my own pace and that rushing myself and beating myself up for things that are not under my control is just counterproductive.
Of course, it means several different things depending upon the context, but just keep in mind that anything that is just shaming you or holding you back for and from all the things that you want to achieve for yourself isn’t actually discipline at all, it’s just another way for people to make you fit into the same, old mould.
But the thing is, things are changing around us and I see more and more people break out of this toxic pattern of what we have called ‘discipline’ for ages. I take an odd sense of pride in knowing that people are starting to see that there is so much more to concepts like discipline and learning than what we have been made to believe for a very, very long time.
Then again, there are always the bad eggs who will come at you for speaking your mind about things. Don’t let that get to you. It’s not worth the time or energy it takes.
Find out what discipline means to you and I promise you, it does help change things around for the better, no matter how hard it initially seems.