Self Discipline vs Freedom
By Leo Gura - July 28, 2014 | 42 Comments
How to create true freedom in your life.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video I’m going to talk about freedom versus self-discipline and how do you go about creating more freedom in your life.
Wrap Your Mind Around This
I’m really excited about this video topic because this is something that isn’t very obvious to many people. This is something that really takes wrapping your mind around to understand before you can get true freedom that you really want out of your life. This video what I want to talk about is the importance of self-discipline in order to get freedom, how those two are connected and why what you currently think you have as freedom isn’t real freedom and that real freedom is something you can develop through discipline and personal development. So let’s talk about this.
I commonly hear, or I imagine you guys sometimes saying this to me, “Leo, you’re posting all these videos with Actualized.org about how to work really hard to get the inner psychology down in order to create an amazing life. If you want financial freedom, if you want freedom in your career or if you want artistic freedom or freedom in your relationship, then how is this a vehicle towards getting that freedom?”
You might tell me, “Leo, this self-mastery stuff that you talk about, it’s so strict, it’s so rigid. All these rules and all these principles, all this stuff that I have to do… I have to go meditate for hours, I have to go work on myself, I have to go introspect on myself, I have to journal, I have to take coaching, I have to maybe go see a therapist, I have to go have these difficult conversations with either my friends, with my family, with my spouse or my girlfriend or boyfriend.
“You talk about taking massive action, you talk about really being honest with your ego, this is all difficult work and there’s a lot of rigidity here. How does this not create a strict and boring kind of life? Leo, I don’t want to turn into a monk. You’re telling me that I’m going to be a monk and I’m going to be happy? Maybe a monk is happy, but I don’t want to be a monk.
“I want to be free. I want to live that exciting, adventurous life that I imagined for myself. That’s what I really want. I don’t want to be a monk so some of this stuff you talk about being happy like a monk, meditating like a monk and bringing principles from a monk, all these things might be good for him, but they’re not good for my kind of life.
“I’m a very down-to-earth kind of person. Very down-to-earth, not too religious, not too airy fairy, I’m not some sort of hippie, I just want a simple life where I have the freedom that I want to do things that I want. How do I get that Leo?”
I’m glad you asked because right now what you’re really looking for is you’re looking for fun, you’re looking for exciting, you’re looking for freedom, you’re looking for adventure. That’s what you’re looking for but you’re not going to get that with your current mode of operating. You’re not going to get it and in this video I’m going to talk about why.
Always Going For The Shortcut
It’s interesting I have this quote that I really like. I don’t know if I came up with it or if I read it somewhere, I think I might have come up with it, but it goes like this, ‘The easy thing is the hard thing, and the hard thing is the easy thing’. So many people get this wrong. I see this manifesting everywhere. I see this manifesting in companies, I see this manifesting with leaders, I see this manifesting in everyday lives, I see this everywhere.
It’s this idea that people are looking for a shortcut, people are looking for the fun, the excitement, the money the profit, the value right away. They want it up front. They don’t want to work for it. What they assume is that if they go directly for the good stuff, they go straight for the jackpot, that if they do that, then that’s the most direct route, that’s the easiest route.
“Why would I want to go meditate for a decade to attain peace of mind Leo? That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t want to do that, that’s too extreme, too rigid. My life would be miserable if I did that”.
Consider though that that might be easier than what you’re presently doing. What you’re presently doing is you’re looking for the easy jackpot. You keep going for the easy and you keep taking shortcuts and so what happens is that the easy actually turns hard.
What is your life right now? Are you really happy with your life right now? Are you really satisfied? Are you living a life where you’re accomplishing all your dreams, where you’re really fulfilled inside, where you have true peace of mind, where you can say that you have control over yourself and that you really have a choice about what you do in your life? Can you say that you really have a choice, or are you just a puppet controlled by your desires?
What you’re going to find is that you are a puppet. Right now you think that you are the puppet master, but you’re not the puppet master. You think you have freedom now to go eat an unhealthy meal, or skip the gym, or be lazy in a relationship, be lazy at work, watch some television, do some internet, smoke some pot… all that stuff is fun, exciting, adventurous and you think that that’s freedom for you, but what you’re going to eventually discover is that that’s not freedom.
You are actually a slave to your desires and that the one that’s controlling you is your desires. You’re not controlling your desires at all. When this is the case, then you cannot have a happy life. It will not happen for you. I wish it would.
You Have To Be Smarter And More Strategic
If it could be that easy then I would be the first one doing it. I would be doing it, but I learned long ago simply through the school of hard knocks, by hitting my face into the brick wall, I learned that it doesn’t work that way. You have to be a little bit smarter. You have to be a little more strategic about creating an amazing life. You have to be a lot more strategic if you want happiness. You have to be a lot more strategic if you want fulfillment. You have to be a lot more strategic if you want peace of mind.
I want to read an important quote here. Here’s the quote, ‘Don’t think that you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is ego mania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energies towards the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness’. Lao Tzu said that.
You have to really start thinking about this. This you chasing after freedom, and this you thinking that self-discipline is something evil, the word ‘discipline’ is bad, these rituals that you’re supposed to have, you thinking that they are constricting you, you thinking that they are taking away your freedom, that’s nonsense. They are your only vehicle towards developing true freedom. It’s very naive to assume otherwise because you’re not really free. Your desires have you by the balls and they are extorting you every single day. Extortion, outright extortion, is happening.
You know how this game plays. You decided to go to the gym, get a little more fit because you’re not happy about how you look in the mirror, too much fat on you. You don’t like that. You want to look a little bit sexier. You want to attract a better mate.
You start hitting the gym, but then what happens? You hit the gym but it’s hard, requires discipline, requires practice, requires consistency, requires expenditure of labor, emotional labor goes into that. Then you start to scratch your head and wonder, “Why does it have to be this hard? It’s too hard. I don’t want to be consistent. I’m just going to do it as it comes to me.”
You get lax, you get lazy. You stop going to the gym entirely after a while and then you get even fatter. You get even fatter, even lazier. You start having some health problems. You start having some back problems. You go to the doctor you have high cholesterol.
Your doctor also tells you that you have some sort of weird cyst or lump developing somewhere in your body from an x-ray. All of a sudden your get scared, you go back to the gym. Now you’re in the gym and you’re afraid. You’re afraid of your health and what the doctor will tell you when you go back on your next visit. You’re also afraid of the pain of going to the gym.
Going Back And Forth
Now you’ve got pain from both sides. You’re afraid of not going to the gym, because of the health problems and also your worsening looks, but you’re afraid to go to the gym too because of the pain of going to the gym, the required discipline that goes into that. What do you do? Your life becomes this waffling. It’s this waffling that’s going back and forth, running, always running, from the thing that pains you most.
In this situation do you really have freedom here? I want to submit to you that you don’t. What you’re doing is you really are that puppet. You’re being controlled by your desires and this is preventing you from going out there and being a creator. You can’t create the kind of life that you want when you’re always running away from pain.
Also, you can’t actually realize your dreams. Whatever your dream is: a relationship, a business, a certain amount of money, health… you can’t realize those, not if they are meaningful dreams, without a lot of work. You’re not going to do it.
To do that you need to start to cultivate an attitude of self-discipline. Not in a harsh self-critical sort of way. I’m not telling you need to be flagellating yourself all the time, although sometimes you should be harsh on yourself, but generally you need an easy sort of discipline but still discipline nonetheless.
What you’re going to find is that the more disciplined you are, the more habits you instill in your life, the more you get on that narrow, straight path to your goals, the more you’re going to start to feel free. You’re going to get fulfillment. You’re going to get this sense of relief that you have. A huge weight will lift off your shoulders when you stop worrying about all the stuff that you’re constantly worrying about.
That’s what’s beautiful about being a creator. As you’re creating the stuff that you want, you’re building capital in yourself. You’re basically investing value in yourself and you are slowly growing over the months and years. You’re growing and you’re appreciating pretty much like stock. If you do that for a good amount of time, five, ten years down the road you can feel very, very rewarding because it’s like having stock that’s tripled, quadrupled, ten times multiplied its value.
That makes you feel awesome, but the really awesome thing is when you have these disciplines and rituals installed in your life you feel like finally you have some choice. You can really choose what you want. Can you choose right now whether you want to work at your job or not? Is that a choice that you have? If you don’t why is that?
It’s because you need the money and you’re trapped there so you say that you have freedom at your job, but do you really have freedom at your job? Did you really do the work that’s necessary, the discipline that needs to be put into your career or into your own business so you do have the freedom to choose whether you want to work or not anymore and the freedom to choose the kind of work that you want to do?
A lot of people don’t have this and they’re not free in that area. Are you free in your relationships? Are you free to leave the person that you’re with right now? Are you free to choose and attract the kind of mate that you want, whether for a short-term fling or a long-term relationship, whatever you want, or a marriage? Are you capable of doing that? Have you gone through the discipline and practice that’s required to build yourself up so that you do have those options?
Building those options requires emotional investment, emotional labor, work, discipline. People who have not put in that work, I know what their life is like. They have very, very limited options. They feel very, very stuck. Why is that? Because the options are not there by default usually.
Usually if you just go work at a nine-to-five job you’re not given a lot of options about where to work and the kind of work you want to do and the kind of money you make, but if you start your own business you have a lot of options. If you haven’t really worked on yourself then you probably don’t have a lot of options with the opposite sex. You can’t attract that partner that you want so you end up settling for the one that you don’t really want. That creates a lot of problems, a lot of frustrations for you.
Even if you say you have the kind of relationship that you want, is that really true? Are you really free in that relationship? I bet you that if you actually had some real options, you might exercise those options. True freedom is about creating options for yourself. This is not an easy thing. This requires work.
You’re Not Free Right Now
People don’t usually give you many options. You have to go out there and fight for it. You have to start to admit to yourself right now that you are a slave. You’re not free. You’re a slave.
What are you a slave to? You’re not a slave to society, you’re not a slave to your boss, or to your wife, or to your husband, or anything like that. You’re a slave to yourself, to your own desires. You’re a slave to your own emotions, you’re a slave to your own moods, you’re a slave to your own neurotic thoughts, you’re a slave to your horrible habits- I know the kind of habit you have you have horrible habits- and you’re definitely a slave to your external circumstances.
You’re thinking that you are. Because you give away your control you think that you’re a slave to your job, or to your health, or to your relationship, but really that’s ultimately you being a slave to yourself. Whenever you’re a slave to a circumstance it all comes back to you if you look deeply and honestly enough. The solution is to start to work on yourself.
That’s what all these videos are for. It’s kind of like a change in philosophy about life. A lot of people will again take that philosophy of easy over hard, but it comes out the other way for them. They think that sitting at home, playing video games and smoking pot, that’s the easy life.
“How nice. Why would I want to go out and work? What would I want to go work on my career really hard?”
That might be easy for now, but how long is it going to be the easy life? How long is it going to stay easy? How fulfilling is it even now? Probably not very fulfilling now, but let’s say that it is a little fulfilling for you, that’s not going to last. That’s going to be a little bit of easiness and comfort, relative to a huge amount of pain and cost that’s going to come later.
Discipline Creates Options
You’re doing that as a short-term gratification thing. You’re not thinking too far ahead. The point that I want to make in this video is that freedom is discipline. Discipline is what’s necessary to create options. Discipline is used to create options which then create freedom.
They are all very closely interconnected so don’t think that by shunning discipline you’re somehow creating more discipline for yourself. That is a big trap. I want to end this video with a powerful quote which goes really to the heart of this issue. It really inspired this video when I read it and wrote it down in my journal. Here it is. It’s kind of long, stay with me.
“The gift of self-discipline is that it has the power to take you beyond the reasoning of temporary emotion to freedom. Think of how empowered you felt on occasions when you haven’t gone into the “I don’t feel like it” syndrome and you honored your commitments to yourself. What is not feeling like it really have to do with anything? The combination of love for something with the willingness to do it, to do what it takes to practice it, discipline, that results in freedom.’
That is a quote from Michael Beckwith. Food for thought. Think about it, think about what this means for the way that you live your life. I think you’ll find something powerful here and you can have a shift in philosophy, a shift in approach which might be subtle at first, but which will eventually pay big dividends for you.
All right, this is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments down below, I’d love to hear from you. Click the like button for me right me tight now so it shoots up. Also, share it with a friend. The more these videos are shared, the more free videos I can to release to you guys if the channel is popular.
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Developing discipline is something that you have to baby step. It’s something that takes a while to do and what I find is that you need some sort of guide to help you do it. It’s hard to do it all on your own. It’s hard to do it and be consistent about it. Sometimes I found myself, when I was doing it, falling off track a lot, losing a lot of time, spinning my wheels a lot.
I think it’s very valuable to be studying and learning this stuff every single week. New ideas, new mindsets, new strategies for how you can master yourself even more so that you can create that freedom that you really want. I’m excited to be delivering a lot more content for you guys every single week, new content, amazing stuff. My best stuff is still yet to come, so sign up and you’ll be all set.