When one part of you wants something and another part wants the opposite, there is no harmony, but internal conflict. Self-discipline is the art of harmonizing yourself, and creating positive rhythm in your life.
Rhythm is all around us.
Our body has its own rhythms, such as the circadian rhythm. We can think of it as the routine of the body, its natural self-discipline. When the body’s rhythms are respected and maintained—through healthy meals, regular sleep schedule, etc.—we experienced physical health, vitality and wellbeing. Break them, and we start facing all sorts of problems.
Music is rhythm. Every note, every pause needs to be exactly in the correct place—not one second before, not one second later. Otherwise there is no harmony. It’s a very strict discipline. Follow it, and you have music; break it, and all you get is noise.
Beauty is also rhythm—a form of visual discipline that values harmony, symmetry and balanced movement. There is even discipline and form shaping the creative flow of ideas in a story; without that discipline, the story’s expressiveness and power are diminished.
Discipline is the foundation for rhythm, balance, and thus harmony. Lack of discipline leads to disharmony, wasted energy, and chaos.
As you can see, discipline already exists in many things around us. In driving, it ensures safety. In medicine, it ensures health and saves lives. In programming, it ensures an app or website that works and doesn’t make you pull your hair out when using it.
Consider for a moment the different aspects of your personality—with its different desires, fears, and agendas—as instruments in an orchestra. Then ask yourself: What does my music sound like? Are all instruments harmoniously coordinated to create a masterpiece, or is my life out of tune?
Self-discipline is the maestro. Make sure she/he is the one conducting the show.