"Robert do your homework! Robert practice the piano! Robert play your cello you have a competition soon! What are you going to do with your life!"
Welcome to the first 18 years of my life. While I was growing up, my mother would always yell these things to me (my sister too). I would have rather taken a (light) beating than to listen to what they had to say. As a result, I was average at everything I did. But as I grew older, I wondered why I never had the discipline to sit down and do any of these things.
A part of the reason I joined the Marines was that I wanted to get some of the elusive thing called discipline. I had problems waking up to go to class and my grades were suffering so I thought maybe boot camp could help.
At Parris Island, discipline was defined as "instant, willing, obedience to orders." Not exactly what I was looking for and though the experience changed me in many positive ways. I still struggled to get myself up in the mornings to go to class.
When I signed up for the Ironman a year or so ago, I felt that this would be my opportunity to see if I had what it took to be disciplined. My mother would not be threatening me with chopsticks, nor would a drill instructor be yelling in my ear threatening death and worse to do one more mile. If I wanted to reach my goal, I would have to do it on my own.
A year ago, I started an intense training program and have come a long way. Throughout the process, I discovered what discipline really is. Discipline is about finding a goal, a person, a cause, a place, a purpose, that you feel SO STRONGLY about that you would do whatever it took to obtain it. You would be willing to relearn how to swim starting from floating on your back, to force yourself up in the morning after swimming more than you ever have the day before only to swim even further that day, to say fuck you to the medical gods and keep going even after 2 surgeries and a dislocated shoulder.
Discipline is the dotted line between you and the location of something you are passionate about.