Discipline harnesses our willpower and gives us the ability to focus. It is an imposed constraint, one we seek willingly. It provides a purpose to tune out distraction, to deny interruptions, to adhere to our stated goals. It helps to improve organization and establishes a framework by which to evaluate the tasks we have yet to do. We recognize discipline intuitively, we can easily tell when those around us behave in a disciplined way. We find that those with more discipline create better results.
Without discipline we would more easily abandon what we started. Without discipline we would fall victim to damaging procrastination, where our desire for success cannot overcome our fear of failure. Discipline, like other constraints, can be harnessed to provide us the freedom and capacity to create.
Discipline is freedom's collaborator. Structure and scheduling, administrative burdens we may grumble about, are enablement tools that allow time and energy to tackle the necessary, yet non-creative, aspects of our work. By focusing our attention to these tasks at deliberate times, we have awarded ourselves the freedom to use the remaining time for our creative pursuits.
"Managing your schedule and daily habits well is a necessary component to free up the practical and creative capacity to make great art."
While Rubin's quote is given in the context of creating art, it also rings true in our work. When we follow a routine that tackles required tasks consistently, preventing them from becoming larger, time consuming burdens, we have created capacity. Investing in our habits pays dividends in fulfillment by releasing us from distractions during the most enjoyable part of our job ... that of creating something new.
The Paradox Pairs series is an exploration of the contradictory forces that surround us. A deeper study finds that these forces often complement each other if we can learn to tap into the strength of each. See the entire series by using the Paradox Pairs Index.