Saturday, 14 September 2013

Discipline- Essence of success

Steam without chamber and water without dam could not produce electricity, so is man without discipline could not achieve success.

Discipline is collection of scattered components of personality within and channeling them towards success by being a part of the system. Discipline is in fact derived from proto-Indo-European word “dek-” which means “acceptance.” Discipline is the acceptance of the fact that channeling requires confinement; a sense of sacrifice for something better; a sense of hardship to forge a character as steel.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book ‘The One Thing’ state “this pervasive idea that the successful person is disciplined person who leads a disciplined life is a lie. The truth is we don’t need any more discipline than we already have. We just need to direct and manage it a little better.” And they are right.

There is a principle in physics which says that under constant volume, increase in pressure is directly proportional to increase in temperature and upon this principle, pressure cooker are made to cook the food fast as compared with traditional cooking. A gas pressure cooker is a device to cook food by raising pressure and subsequently raising temperature inside the cooker placed over the ordinary flame produced by domestic gas. It contains a metal base packed with all sides except top, a lid to cover the top after placing the food inside the cooker, a gasket or sealing ring and a weight. The lid has an opening for escaping the gas and releasing the extra pressure. The working is very simple. Food is placed inside the cooker along with some water and is closed with lid and sealing ring. Weight is put over the opening in the lid. The pressure cooker is now put on flame. Due to the heat of the flame, the temperature starts rising inside the cooker; the increasing temperature makes the water boil and evaporate. Since there is a weight on the opening in the lid, steam could not escape and increase the pressure inside and the increasing pressure raises the temperature. The process continues till the required pressure and temperature obtained. When the pressure exceeds the required limit, it lifts the weight on the lid and let some steam escape to maintain the required pressure and temperature inside. The lifting of weight and escaping of steam produce a whistling sound and it is the number of this whistling sound that determines whether the food is cooked inside or not. The same principle is applied in steam engines to run turbines for producing electricity or moving wagons on rails through railways.

What will happen if lid is not properly closed or there is defective sealing ring? The steam leak and required pressure and temperature will never be achieved. And, what will happen if weight is fixed or opening in the lid is closed? The cooker will burst due to excess pressure builds inside. The case is same with discipline. Lack of discipline incapables us to achieve success and on the other hand, excessive discipline breaks the system. We need optimal amount of discipline in order to succeed and we are already born with that. We must take care that it doesn’t leak through procrastination or other ways. In fact, we always do not need discipline; sometimes we have to relax it as marching over the bridge by the army. When army marches, all the members move their legs together in synchronous manner; all the left legs put together and all the right legs put together and this is dangerous for the bridge because of the pressure applied by the simultaneous feet at a time. 
I think all of us know that it is easy to break a single stick and very hard to break a bundle of sticks. This is also reflected in the potential damage of bridge by collective feet pressure of a battalion at a time and the collective pressure of steam inside the cooker while lifting the weight placed upon the lid. The purpose of unity is to focus on a common point and discipline is involved in it. Discipline is like a magnifying glass which concentrates the beams of sunlight on a point and helps burn a match stick without rubbing on match box. Focusing, channeling, directing or unifying mean stopping the leakage and make them available for our purpose. Discipline involves sacrifice and priority. Discipline helps us in reserving our vital strength and enthusiasm for more useful and productive things. In the words of Brian Tracy, “Discipline is having dinner before dessert.”

Discipline doesn’t mean to work mechanically like a robot with certain sets of programs pre-installed in the body. Discipline doesn’t imply to follow rules like a zombie but assimilation of principle to break the rules when necessary to sustain the principle. Discipline is courage to make a right decision for betterment in long terms rather than enjoying short term gratifications.  Paulo Coelho put it as just a choice between what one wants now and what one wants most.

Monkey-hunters use a box with an opening at the top, big enough for the monkey to slide its hand in. Inside the box are nuts. The monkey grabs the nuts and now its hand becomes a fist. The monkey tries to get its hand out but the opening is big enough for the hand to slide in, but too small for the fist to come out. Now the monkey has a choice, either to let go off the nuts and be free forever or hang on to the nuts and get caught. Guess what it picks every time? It hangs on to the nuts and gets caught. The monkey thinks that it is free and have right to get what it wants and now the thing of desire is in its hand. It seems happy but its happiness dries out as it get caught and put into cage for life long as a showpiece for entertainment of others. Epictetus said “Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired but controlling the desire.” Discipline is needed for not getting trapped in the web of unending lust and remain free. Discipline is yajna in which momentary happiness is sacrificed to get everlasting happiness.

Discipline is sense of love and responsibility. Shiva Khera said “Discipline is loving firmness. Sometimes you have to be unkind to be kind: Not all medicine is sweet, not all surgery is painless, but we have to take it.” Giraffe gives birth to a baby giraffe while standing; the baby hits the hard ground directly out of the comfort of mother's womb, and sits on the ground. The first thing mother does is to get behind the baby and give him a hard kick. The baby gets up, but his legs are weak and wobbly and the baby falls down. Mother goes behind again and gives him one more kick. The baby gets up but sits down again. Mother keeps kicking till the baby gets on its feet and starts moving. It is hard for a mother to do such thing but it is necessary because  she knows that the only chance of survival for the baby in the forest is to get on its feet otherwise it will be eaten up by other wild animals. 

Discipline is hardship too. Butterflies feel very pain and trouble while coming out of cocoons.The pain is unbearable; almost nearly to die but it is necessary for their wings and survival. Without this process, they would die. Similarly, in one's life, there are many situations when one has to take hard decisions because they are necessary to sustain life. Discipline is the ability to willingly make sacrifice in the present to secure the success in the future. In other words, discipline is bringing the future into the present so that something could be done about it in now.

Discipline is self-mastery which involves determination, hardwork and persistence.  Michaelangelo put it, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all.” Calvin Coolidge said “Nothing will take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography confessed about a time when he felt double shame because of his carnal lust. His father was suffering from fistula and he was one of the principal attendants with the duties of a nurse which mainly consisted dressing the wound, giving the medicines and massaging his leg untill his father fell asleep. This was also the time when his wife was expecting a baby. He mentioned that while every night his hands were busy massaging his father's legs, his mind was hovering about the bedroom and that too at a time when religion, medical science, and commonsense alike forbade sexual intercourse and when relieved from duty, went straight to the bedroom. His father's condition had been deteorating day by day and then the dreadful night came. As usual he was giving the massage, this time his uncle offered to relieve him and he gladly accepted and went straight to the bedroom,  woke his sleeping wife up but within five or six minutes, the news came that his father was no more. He realized that if animal passion had not blinded him, he should have been spared the torture of separation from his father during his last moments. He took it as a blot that he would have never been able to efface or forget. But he overcame that desire and duing his later stages of life he slept naked with naked ladies beside him on a single bed without any thought on the subject in his mind. He wrote “It took me long to get free from the shackles of lust, and I had to pass through many ordeals before I could overcome it..... All these efforts did not seem to bear much fruits, but when I look back upon the past I feel that the final resolution was the cumulative effect of those unsuccessful strivings.”

Do not surrender to initial failures because to give up when get tired is a easy way to live but winners always go on. Winners are committed and put on pressure not for winning but for hardwork and preparation. Steve Jobs said “It is impossible to connect   the dots forward but it is very very clear looking backwards ten years later.” When a wall falls due to hitting hundred times, it is not because of the hundredth hit but it is due to the cumulative effects of all hits. And so is the case with every endeavor as Mahatma Gandhi admitted.

In the movie 'Invictus' Nelson Mandela is shown to get inspiration from a poem which, according to him, helped him to stand when all he wanted to do was to lie down.

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the Pit from pole to pole
l thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
ln the fell clutch of circumstance
l have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of fate
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
lt matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
l am the master of my fate:
l am the captain of my soul.

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