Courage and Discipline

If you are a parent with a child in their early 20s, you most certainly had to watch, as I did, Disney´s Mulan several times over, ad nauseam. Strangely enough, it is one of my favourites and never tire of it. There is always something new to discover, or happily rediscover, as the case was last night. Not only was it a joy to listen to the songs all over again, but one particular scene haunted me for the rest of the night, and early morning.

I´ll Make a Man Out of You ©Disney

I could watch this over and over, and never complain. First of all, what a dream body of a man! Second, Mulan´s fighting skills in the end! Most importantly, the lesson: to attain whatever goal you seek in life, you need courage and discipline. Many of us lack both, and as a result never get anywhere other than stuck in the same hole, digging over and over again as if we were terrified of actually getting out.

Then there are those who have the discipline but not the courage. I saw this in so many friends, colleagues, and acquaintances along the way and wished I could have given them a nudge in the right direction. Before you know it, your career is over, you slip into the dullness of retirement, and there is nothing really to look back on with pride. Don’t let that happen to you. I much prefer to be the one to look back and smile at all the chances I took, even if I may not have succeeded, but at least I tried.

Another group is that with endless courage but faulty discipline. This is me. Like Mulan, I am unafraid and willing to go to whatever lengths to make the change, but I lack discipline. I was always an above-average student in my younger years, placed in advanced courses, accelerated levels, or honours courses, which made my parents proud but to be honest, I hated it. Why? Because it required a lot of self-discipline to study on your own, create a structure and timetable, and stick to it. This has haunted me for years, and now in my 50s, it is no better. I tried home office for half a year and failed miserably at it, kept getting distracted with one thing or another.

It has nothing to do with energy or physical fitness / strength. Instead, it is all about being consistent and progressive. I keep falling into gaps or getting sidetracked (often times by necessity) or as was the case in earlier years, putting the needs of others before me. I made a new covenant with myself this year, to be more disciplined in the areas of my life that require it, but without becoming a heartless bitch with the inability to be spontaneous and indulgent. My therapist keeps telling me I am too hard on myself, but I am simply trying to get back on my own two feet.

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