Welcome to part two of my multipart series on strategies for developing discipline. The goal of this series of posts is to provide working tools that can be used in everyday life to develop and deepen personal discipline. If you have not read part one you might want to go back and give it a look. Okay, lets dive right in.
Train with slogans. This is a method of both the Buddhists and the Stoics and is a wisdom that we all know, we just need to actively engage in it. To train with slogans means to have powerful quotes and phrases at hand that we can use for inspiration in those moments and situations in which we are struggling to exercise discipline. We can find these slogans anywhere. You can get them from songs, movies, books, podcasts…anywhere. It is ideal to have some slogans from your hero/role model. Takes notes on your phone of slogans that you can have on hand when you need them. I gave the example in part one of writing the Jocko quote on the white board at work. The act of writing it, and seeing it for the rest of the day every time I walked into the break room area kept me from violating the discipline I wanted to exercise regarding food. This is an example of training with slogans.
In my experience there is a voice in my head when I am confronting different situations in life. Far too often that voice has a negative message. It encourages me to give in, to take the easy way out, to stay comfortable and warm. The voice tries to convince me that some things are just too hard for me to do, that I deserve a break, that it is okay to take it easy etc etc. I don’t know where that voice comes from but I imagine it is from years of hearing and thinking shit that is just not geared towards my advancement in life.
What I have learned is that it is possible to feed a different voice. One of the best foods to give life to that new voice is the food of powerful slogans. Here are a few slogans that I like to keep handy:
-“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way” Marcus Aurelius
-“The sword of justice is ill-placed in the hands of an angry man.” Seneca
-“Discipline Equals Freedom” Jocko Willink
-“There are a few men whom slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery.” Seneca
-“If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?” Epictetus
Maybe the above slogans do not really speak to you, that is not a problem. One of the keys to training with slogans is to find the slogans that do speak to you. The voice in which they speak can be the new born voice in your head, the voice that does not want to tear you down but rather build you up. So get out there today and find some inspiring words, write them down and keep them handy. Chew on them, digest them, make them part of yourself. Try it today.