Disciplined like a soldier

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

#71/100

We all know that the best way to ensure fulfillment of all your goals is to be disciplined about it. If we put in work daily on our long term goals, we subconsciously build a routine out of it without expecting immediate results. Little work daily compounds to huge results in the end. I’m sure we know all of this, yet we are lazy to implement it.

I was recently going through a lot of articles on the rigorous training soldiers have to go through in the military. They are trained to face the worst challenges in life and it’s made sure that they are mentally strong enough to do it. It’s one thing to train the body and a whole different task to train the mind. But once our mind is trained to be mentally strong for the worst, our defense during tough times is stronger.

Let me list down few key traits of a military training schedule that can cause an extraordinary transformation in the quality of our life.

  • The soldiers are trained to wake up early :- The soldiers usually wake up at 5 am and they are taught to start their day at the same time everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever done this in my entire life. My wake up timings have always been inconsistent. Imbibing this quality in my life could give me a lot of extra time on hands to invest in my personality development. I’ve been trying to create a visualization/gratitude and meditation practice. This is the perfect way to start my day in the best manner possible. I’m slowly working on bringing this into practice. I hope to be habituated by the end of this month.
  • They have a fixed schedule for every activity :- Their daily schedule is pre decided and the soldiers need to show up before time for each activity. Procrastination, laziness and delays are not an option for the soldiers, No matter what they do, they have to stick by the schedule. This is one area which I’ve struggled with most of my life. I somehow underestimate my laziness and overestimate the time on hand which results into a dangerous situation of procrastination. I’ll put more effort to be punctual with all my personal and professional commitments.
  • They push their limits every day :- Giving up is not an option when you are training to save the country from enemy attacks. They are trained for the worst and prepared to be mentally strong in front of any adversities in life. In case they are unable to perform a given task in one go, they are made to do it as many times it takes till they achieve success at it. Giving up is not an option. The challenges get tougher with each passing day and so does their mind. Whenever I have a big task at hand, my initial response is mostly self doubt to the extent of giving up. I never believe I can perform a seemingly unbelievable task unless I start it. This made me realize that any difficult task seems impossible only until we start it. Once we start a task, our mind copes up with the stress and negative self talk with every minor win. That’s why we need to be consistent with any change we wish to bring to our life.
  • Their mind is trained to exercise self control :- I can achieve a lot more goals in life only if I can control my wandering mind. More than external forces, our internal forces (mind, body, heart) can make or break a person’s success in life. The mind is amazing if used as a tool used to help humans achieve their goals and be happy. Yet, most of the times, our mind plays the role of the biggest antagonist in out life. The only intention of our mind is to safeguard our survival. I couldn’t believe that I could do a lot of things in life till I started the process. Everything else fell into place and in my favor once I pushed myself to be consistent with my work. I’ll work on pushing my limits, be it running an extra round or waking up early, to make my mind, my biggest cheerleader in life.

October is surely turning out to be the month where I make small yet consistent efforts to transform my life. I’ll try my best to imbibe these personality trails and have a lot more checkboxes on my goal list in future. I’ll post my progress by the end of October.

The joy of learning

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding”

– Leonardo da Vinci

#25/100

I still remember my oldest memory as a student. I had a little cursive writing book that had enthralled me. One day, I resolved to complete few pages of the book and was so engrossed in the activity that I didn’t budge even at my mother’s constant calls for dinner. I completed the task and proudly showed my mom the finished work.

But I didn’t feel the same way throughout my student life. Somewhere down the line, my mind stopped being in tandem with my brain. Studying became a burden as getting good grades was a requirement instead of an accomplishment. The concept of studying involved mugging formulas, long answers and chemical equations. Many a times I would completely zone out while studying, failing to understand the reason why we were made to do this.

I am a person who is inquisitive by nature. I enjoy learning about new things, understanding it’s background and everything related to it. But as a student, I had no idea of what studying really meant. It was just another routine that we followed, there was no greater meaning to it. When I think about it now, it just seems a waste of precious years of a human’s life. If a person isn’t aware of the purpose behind their actions, they’ll just grow into a clueless human being. It might strike them much later in life when they try to question the true meaning of their existence.

When I study or research about any subject now, it’s just out of pure curiosity for knowledge. It took such a long time for me to understand what my mind truly needs. My instincts and actions are in sync with each other and that’s why I can find joy in them. If a kid repeatedly portrays dissatisfaction towards learning, it might not be because he is lazy. I understand it’s very difficult to relay the importance and value of education for kids at a young age but a small step can be taken towards sparking a curiosity in them. Education needs to be more practical and interactive. Students need to be taught life skills from a young age. They need to be taught to be brave and headstrong to face any situation in life. They also need to understand psychology and how their mind works at a younger age so that they are able to judge their emotions well.

When we are young we have people to seek guidance and help us out. However, we are still ill equipped to deal with life and reality when we become an adult. We do learn with experiences but a little head start can help way beyond our imagination. It could help improve the quality of our life to a great extent, make us a little more happy and fulfilled with ourselves. Well, isn’t that a good thing to seek?