Is Distraction Killing Discipline?
I read an intriguing article recently about the means of obtaining success and happiness. It pitted self-esteem against self-control. The article felt problematic in that it makes black-and-white leaps from one to the other — self-esteem is too touchy-feely to get real things done and self-control is The Way, period. Later, fasting is offered as the way to practice self-control. The writing is blunt, which I don’t mind, but it felt laced with a little too much judgement — though I see how the author is using a hard-ass approach as a way to inspire real change in our lives.
Semantics and opinionated writing style aside, the underlying message intrigues me. The practice of discipline, in general, holds appeal for me. My Marine Corps sergeant grandfather was a task master for discipline and though I didn’t love his hard-ass approach all the time either, I did appreciate how he always had his “affairs in order.” He got up early every day and took care of shit, personally and career-related.
I love the idea of people being 100% dedicated to something: a monk in a monastery, an athlete getting after a goal — ANYONE GETTING AFTER ANYTHING. I deeply admire resolve. It holds a spiritual context for me, and on a personal level, I like to think that I’ve tried to emulate a good amount of discipline.
But what of the the article’s notion: “The opposite of willpower is addiction — the complete loss of self-control.” The article suggests that culturally, our most glaring addiction is distraction. We keep ourselves so busy, and we’re so wrapped up on the internet that we’re not getting anything really done — we’re not serving our true passions or serving humanity enough. We use any and all distractions to avoid difficult and challenging things even though that would serve these passions — and humanity.
“Yes, you can actually enjoy difficulty and risk. You can embrace it because you know it’s taking you somewhere higher and better. And being in control of the direction of your life is a satisfaction immeasurably different than indulgence.”
I know so many of us here at CFLA willingly face difficult physical challenges (look how many show up for Franklin Hill), which I feel is absolutely transferable to one’s life outside the gym. But do we? This article made me wonder how much potential I leave on the table because I give in to my own distractions or justifications instead of adhering to the practice of discipline I supposedly admire so much. Maybe the hard-assness of this article is not so judgy and not a personal poke, but simple a nudge to reexamine — and then refocus. And if I’m being honest, I can’t look inside and not be a little embarrassed about my own willingness to be distracted. But, I am down to self examine. I’m willing to put more discipline in motion for the things I say I really want.
What passion is on your back shelf, dusty from distraction?
B) QAMRAP 15
75 Double unders
5 Squat cleans (55-60%)
For Total Reps:
Perform 2 Rounds of the Following:
10 OH Plate Lunge (45/25)
10 Box Jumps (24/20)
Rest 2 Minutes
15 AKBS (24/16)
Rest 2 Minutes
B) Rowing spree
Focus on arms and body over
C) 5 RFQ (30:30)