Discipline the Body AND The Mind

Discipline the Body AND The Mind

Discipline sparks many images in people’s minds. For some, it’s getting up and going for a run as the sun is coming up. For others, it’s being punished for some infraction. This article will be able the former. What it takes to really create lasting change in your life, your habits and the impact you make on this planet.

So instead of thinking that this conversation is about having a beach-ready body and you can win at Jeopardy, it’s not. Try instead to imagine placing yourself into a “controlled chaos” situation(s) so that you can learn how to respond before you need these skills. 



What does it mean to have discipline? Discipline is about training your mind and body to respond a certain way to expected and unexpected stimulus. It also means that we have found a way to supersede our wiring and to move towards a specific goal or series of goals. It takes an effort to get and go to work. The effort is required to get and go to work with a smile on your face involves discipline.

People have an interesting piece of hardware that stems from our hunter-gatherer days. People are wired to conserve energy to protect ourselves and family and eat as much as we can before the food runs out. This works for us, but we have become weak and passive.

In these modern times, we find that foraging is less necessary. Food is everywhere. We no longer have to hunt or carry weapons and most of the dangers of living outdoors have been solved by living in cities. The police and military services to do our fighting and provide protection.


The Body

Ever since the invention of the wheel, people have been getting more and more dependant on machinery to do even the simplest of tasks. This is not to say that we need a primitive life, but we do need to remember how our bodies are designed. The body needs movement in order function properly. The 6 Fundamental Human Movements need to be performed every day.

With the modern conveniences that we have created, without the discipline to move our bodies no longer get the stimulation that we need for ROBUST HEALTH. Although the “experts” disagree on what the minimums are, if you want your body to function at peak then you have to think beyond the minimums.

Here are a few ways to discipline the body:

Exercise Classes (aerobic, or anaerobic, weight or bodyweight)
strength training (different than body shaping or bodybuilding)
Walking or running

Dance (formal or freestyle)
Martial arts (any style)
Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung
Parkour (free-running)

No matter which of the exercise protocols that you chose, pick one that is sustainable. Think long-term, like a lifetime. It’s probably the reason I do yoga. there are far more 90-year-olds doing yoga and Tai Chi than there are 90-year-old powerlifters. Sustainability is the key and your interests WILL CHANGE as you mature and collect more winters.


The Mind

Just as the body needs consistent challenges, so does our mind. And again I refer to our modern times as the culprit. I love, love, love my smartphone, tablet, computer, etc., but how many phone numbers can you remember other than your own? We are becoming so dependant on devices our ability to think, process and remember is becoming stunted.

Here are few ways to discipline the mind:
(source: the art of manliness)

You’ll never get muscles from sitting on the couch all day, and you’ll never develop amazing powers of concentration from exclusively reading Buzzfeed and watching Tosh.O. Your mind muscles, just like your physical muscles, need resistance; they need challenges that stretch their limits and in so doing, grow their focus fibers. 

1. Increase the strength of your focus gradually. 

2. Create a distraction to-do list. 

3. Build your willpower. 

4. Meditate. 

5. Practice mindfulness throughout the day. 

6. Exercise (your body). 

7. Memorize stuff. 

8. Read long stuff slowly.

9. Stay curious. 

10. Practice attentive listening. 

11. Perform concentration exercises. 


The Mind/Body Connection

You hear about the mind/body connection but for most, it sounds likes some “woo-woo” esoteric thing, where people just smile and keep moving; quickly.

Here’s the short version. If you train your body, your body gets stronger. In order to make that happen, you also have to learn to focus, overcome pain and fatigue and expectation of what your capabilities are going to be 6 months from now. As this happens your mind is also going to reshape to encompass this new identity.

When you train your mind, your mind gets stronger. You are able to focus longer, you learn to be more emotionally flexible because your mind can hold two contrasting beliefs without short-circuiting. With this more resilient mind, you can use this skill to push your physical body to greater peaks.

No one can read this and truly, grasp this connection between mind and body. It’s something you have to feel yourself. Each person is going to have a completely different experience, and that’s a good thing. The only things we will regret at the end of our lives is what we didn’t do, rather than what we did. Get Strong, get fit and train that mind to overcome any obstacle.

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Post Note:

For me, the conditioning my body and mind have been a lifelong pursuit. At 16, I decided to quit watching television and go explore the world. I think the next time I owned a TV was in my 30’s. During that time, I have lived on both east and west coasts and several states in-between, studied martial arts, hypnosis, NLP and shamanic training. I decided to go back to grad school in my 40’s. But this isn’t a “yay me” this is an example of what is possible with discipline. None of this would have occurred had I not decided to condition my mind and body.

Additional Reading:

Guide to managing finances with ADHD