Even in a healthy state, the ego’s baseline is identity; typically an identity attached to a role, title, system or group (or all four). When identity is unattached from, the ego shifts into its intended role and more natural state — protection. This produces a varying but chronic sense of unease. The ego seeks to keep us in a state of unease to encourage us to attach to a new identity or re-attach to an old identity. Unconscious religious practices, busy-ness, obsessions are often adhered to in order to alleviate this unease. For starker cases, addiction, violence and nihilism will be turned to. That’s how powerful this unease is at driving behavior.

But it’s not real. It is a product of the mind. In Jesus’ parables, this is the building on the sand, the building of bigger barns, the seeking of higher seats. In Buddha’s teachings, it is simply called attachment.

So what is real? How do you take ownership over this feeling of unease? How do I find peace?

Discipline.

Former Navy SEAL, podcaster, author Jocko Willink says it well: “discipline equals freedom.”

I know I need Systems of Discipline (what I call SoDs). But they need to be of my choosing and execution. I can’t truly find peace by following someone else’s system. Learn, absolutely. Adhere to, no. Further, I need to keep an eye on not worshipping or attaching to these SoDs.

For me, I need SoDs in specific areas of life …

  • Self-care
  • Productivity
  • Creativity
  • Mind mastery
  • Value creation
  • Time/energy management

These SoDs create freedom and flow for relationships, experiences, creative output, ideation, innovation — and joy. They create a soul-based operating model that is aligned with self-actualization rather than survival or acceptance.

For me, the SoDs are activated by awareness, physical discomfort and inciting incidents. I theorize that you will have the same activators but different SoDs.Without these activators, we will drift — back to old models and attachments. And forward to projections of future outcomes and feelings and reactions.

It’s being present, to be in the now, thwarts that unease. As such, discipline not only creates freedom. It encourages presence. It produces meaning. It reveals truth. With freedom, presence, meaning and truth, unease will be an occasional visitor, not your landlord.

2 Comments

  • I love this. One of my first bosses used to say to m… “The discipline will set you free.” I live by this statement today. Its discipline NOT will power that helps us be comfortable in our skin, reach our goals and be the person we really want to be.

  • Avatar Jalene Case says:

    I’m with you Justin! A couple of scenarios come to mind. First, I can tend to resist making choices because it limits my freedom. (I’m an Enneagram 7 for those who are familiar with it.) I’ve learned that making the choice actually brings me freedom and is crucial in accomplishing what matters most to me. Second, I like the term “cognitive load.” When I have systems and processes in place, it reduces my cognitive load so I can spend my precious energy where I choose to spend it.

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