Between reflexes and self-discipline

Simon Sinek is one of my favourite authors and speakers.

When you are a parent of teenagers, hearing him sharing your ideas about how to raise them, support them and empower them feels comforting.

Introducing the notion of self-discipline to a teenager who is searching to have it the easy way out is tough.

Hanging definitions on the living room’s door does not seem to trigger reflection. Or maybe it does, but is so profound that no effect comes on the outside. So I tried to talk. There is listening, and dialogue but then I realise there is a filter at the entrance of my teenager’s mind that defines what goes in, and what doesn’t.

Is it coming from a parent? Yes/No. “Yes” – goes to the parent bin. “No” – goes to “let’s give it a chance” bin.

How then to get through the barrier in a way that makes sense for a young spirit, that reading a whole novel the night before the test on its content will give you neither the detachment of formulating your own opinion on the style or narrative nor the rested minds to provide the concentration you need on a test day?

Then the other day, the genius of Simon gives me the simple, common sense metaphor: teeth brushing.

Of course!  You cannot brush your teeth in a boot camp session to recuperate what you didn’t do for years, this will not do! You have to do it every day, twice a day if you want healthy teeth. If you miss a day, it is probably not the end of the world and probably there won’t be major consequences (have to consider the minor ones, though).

But it is that regularity of the two minutes, twice a day that brings the final, constant well being that sometimes one may not appreciate enough, until the first excruciating toothache kicks in.

Elbert Hubbard defines self-discipline as the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. Whether you feel like it or not, he says.

Life is not supposed to be strainful, success is not necessarily painful. But consider investing time if you want to build something to last.

Should you change anything?

It’s so totally up to you!

And so is success, so is the quality of the life you live. Up to you. Some find this terrifying and the first thing they do is point a finger in the direction of others. Some just give you that George Clooney-look: Of course! “What else?” I tend to vote with the latter bunch.

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