inspiring focus, simplicity, and purpose

Key to a Meaningful Life: Discipline


I used to believe that life is all about who has the more, the better, the bigger, and the faster.

Enter minimalism, and I quickly realized that stuff don’t make anyone truly happy.

Over the last few years I’ve traveled the path of minimalism.

I eliminated all unnecessary things in my life with the same unbridled zest I had used to collect all those stuff in the first place.

Like a crazy pendulum, I swung from one extreme to the next, even affecting, positively or negatively, people close to me and around me.

I sought to simplify my lifestyle, at least that’s the goal, because that’s what all the simplicity gurus of the Internet are saying.

So:

  • I started paring down my personal possessions to less than 100 things
  • Lived within my means, or more appropriately, lived below my means
  • Learned to say “no” and chose my commitments
  • Exercised regularly and began eating a healthier, nourishing diet.

I did all that, but still somehow couldn’t find meaning in all I do. What then is the problem?

Don’t get me wrong. Minimalism has benefited my life in more amazing ways than one, that’s for sure.

But what I’m talking about is the inner self. The feeling of satisfaction and significance, fulfillment, the assurance that my life has a meaning.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and this is what I realized: the problem is self-discipline.

The Discipline Problem

This is the problem: We want it all, and we want it now, whether it’s an abundance of possessions or an abundance of simplicity.

Okay, definitely not everyone, but perhaps most of us.

When we want something, we are afraid of the inconvenience, persistence, and effort that it would take to get it. We just want it handed to us in a silver platter most of the time.

But deep inside we all know that nothing beautiful comes easy, nothing worthwhile comes in an instant, and nothing meaningful comes without discipline.

We get down dirty, make plans, and take action to achieve the meaningful life that we want.

And it will all take self-discipline.

It’s just the way it is in every facet of life: physical, mental, financial, and spiritual.

If you’ve tried to get rich quick, tried to lose weight by taking a pill, tried to acquire knowledge by cramming in the last minute, or attempted to get close to God just by waiting for Him to come to you, and expect desired results then there’s a problem.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of quick results when the focus is in the results rather than in the journey.

For the joy is actually in the journey, in the daily discipline of growing our mind, body, and spirit.

There’s nothing wrong in seeking an abundance of less – or more. It doesn’t mean anything – whether you are someone who has mountains of material possessions on hand, or living with just the most minimum of bare essentials.

You are both the same if you don’t feel joy… significance… and meaning.

I’ve found out that the only way to bring abundance to life – the kind of abundance that gives joy, significance, and meaning – is to bring discipline into it.

But that may be the hardest thing to do.