Deep thoughts, Podcasts


I’m always very intrigued by the concept of discipline. Self-discipline, I should clarify.

There’s something inspiring about observing people who are exceptionally disciplined, and it seems like an elusive “life skill” for many people. An area people commonly wish to improve on.

Cal Newport’s podcast yesterday focused on discipline with his guest, author Ryan Holiday. (I did not actually finish the episode yet, but a few things stood out so far.)

Some notes I jotted down:

  • Discipline is “popular” right now. (i.e. people doing discipline challenges. I can’t remember the examples he listed, but things like clean eating challenges, the 75 Hard challenge, ice bathing, ultra marathon training, etc. come to mind.)
  • Discipline is a transferrable skill.
  • Quote from Seneca: “The body should be treated rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind.”
  • Ryan Holiday, talking about transferring discipline: “If you’re the kind of person that can, when you’re in the middle of a run and your body is tired, and your body is saying, “You should stop, this is hard”…. and you have the ability to override that? I think that is a skill that then when your phone says, “Hey, you should pick me up and tune out the world for the next 45 minutes,” ideally you have cultivated the ability to say, No, I decide what I’m going to do, not the impulse, not the urge, etc.
  • More from Seneca (paraphrasing): “If you want to have the virtue of generosity, you get that by being generous. It’s a thing that you do.” Likewise, with discipline, if you want to have more discipline, it starts by being disciplined. Insisting on discipline, making discipline a habit. What are you going to quit? What are you going to push yourself to do?
  • The author’s mantra= “Persist + Resist“. (I like this! Sometimes you need to persist– stick with what you said you were going to do. Sometimes you need to resist– step away from the thing you said you didn’t want to do.)

I only made it through about half of the episode so far, but I liked the discussion around discipline! (I know Cal can be controversial in that not everyone loves him. Personally, I find more value in his work than not and greatly enjoy it, so, I choose to continue listening to him.)

My favorite line was the one above that says, “No, I decide what I’m going to do, not the impulse, not the urge.” I thought that was a very powerful way of looking at things. And I could see that being a helpful reminder, when maybe willpower is feeling weak, or you’re reaching for a 3rd cookie. lol. I decide. I am in control of my actions, not some all-powerful invisible “urge” or desire. I am not a puppet.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for my Under Armour gym bag. It’s a small backpack type bag, and I love the small outside pocket for storing my keys, air pod case, etc., plus it has a separate inside pocket where I always put my sunglasses. I carry this bag around with me in the weight room actually, and keep my progress notebook in it or will stick my hoodie in there when I get hot. I’ve had it for a few years now, and I just really like it.

6 thoughts on “Discipline”

  1. I haven’t listened to his podcast before but I will have to check this episode out. I am sure there are things I can take away from his podcast. I think overall I am a really disciplined person and have been from a very young age. And I’m an upholder which is a type that tends to do better with discipline but it’s not like I’m perfect. There are plenty of things I struggle with. Like I am not so disciplined that I will get up at 4:30 in the morning to work out. But I can train for things like a 10k and will put up with discomfort during a marathon, etc. I just need really defined goals/bounds around what I am doing. Like “intuitive eating” doesn’t really work for me since I am not a moderator and I can talk myself into thinking I ‘deserve’ x food. But for others, they can intuitively eat and still make good choices.


  2. I have a love-hate relationship with discipline. my friends tell me that I’m the most disciplined person they know. I used to be, and now I am still if I want to but started to relax a bit when things change, so discipline doesn’t equal to being rigid. For example, it wouldn’t be good/healthy to wake up at 4am for a long if I went to bed late although I know I can if I want to. So it’s good to sometimes step back and check if it still makes sense to follow the discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thrive on discipline. I am not a perfect human, so I don’t always have it, but I know in my mind that things work better when I am disciplined about them. I haven’t listened to this podcast, but I am intrigued.


    1. Oh, and I would like to add… I think disciplined people live longer (I have two examples in my family and I think having structure and discipline to their day in old age worked miracles for their longevity!).


  4. Ryan Holiday is interesting, isn’t he? He’s the person who sends out the Daily Stoic, to which I subscribe, and of course he has a new book out on… Discipline. 🙂
    While I am a very disciplined person I also think it’s a loaded term for many, many people. It somehow implies… obligation? But for me, it’s obligation to self, so it’s okay. I am disciplined because *I* want to get things done, not because someone is telling me to do so.
    Hm. Not even sure focus is an appropriate synonym, though. Interesting to ponder! Please share your thoughts on the rest of the podcast, if you listen to it? And if you’re willing to share?


    1. Yes, same guy. Ironically, I recently subscribed to the Daily Stoic newsletter, although I actually am not familiar with his other books/work… and when I first heard him on the podcast, I didn’t actually realize he was the guy behind the Daily Stoic at first!


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