Discipline. Discipline. Discipline.

What do you think of when you hear the word “discipline”?

I have to be honest, I haven’t heard that term in quite a long time. After hearing someone say it when talking about their clarinet training at 12 years old, I had, secretly, tuned out of the conversation. I instead focused on the meaning of the word.

The first thing that popped in my head was, “Wow, I never really hear anyone use that unless it’s relating to raising a child”. I then asked my boyfriend what instantly appeared in his thoughts and he said karate (come on, we’ve all seen “The Karate Kid”).

So why is it we relate to only subjects that occur when growing up?

Discipline becomes a lost idea after a certain age for most of us, as if we’re now beyond such a method. But we’re not.

Some people may hear this word and have negative thoughts, such as punishment or being under strict guidance.

The original definition of discipline is- “Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.” I will admit, I lost that somewhere in between graduating high school and college. Some of us lose that even sooner. But it’s a training that we should all keep reinforcing ourselves to practice.

A week ago, a mentor of mine asked me if I was putting in 40 hours a week to keep pushing and pursuing my career goal. I’ve always thought I was a hard-worker, but it ended there. I knew I worked hard, but I settled with the load I became accustomed with, having it fall all too comfortably on my lap. At some point along the way, I stopped raising the stakes and challenging myself further, because I thought, well I’ve done that and proved I can. Well, that’s not good enough.

How can I complain about not having what I want as a professional if I’m not doing my all to make it happen?

Now, I don’t want it to sound like I’m being hard on myself. This revelation has actually made me feel awake again! I feel alive and driven again, it is the spoonful of sugar I needed. My attitude is that much brighter, not only in my career ambitions, but in my life in general.

Now, I have a full time job, that pays my bills but isn’t what I came to LA to pursue. So how do I find 40 hours to also work on that dream of mine? It’s simple- I’m making time for it, I’m disciplining myself for the first time in years. It’s not a choice. It’s what must be done to accomplish anything.

I’m doing things I never thought of as useful tools to help focus on my career goals. I’m finding that they’re my latest obsessions too. At work instead of listening to music, I’m now putting my headphones on and listening to amazing podcasts about the entertainment industry. I also joined the Twitter world a few days ago, which I knew nothing about and had just found as a silly social network site beforehand. But, man, you can follow so many different people who Tweet the most useful facts and news updates for your own field of work. These are just a couple of examples of small easy ways that make your game that much bigger.

The idea of discipline is often met with conflicting opinions. Disciplining yourself is not settling. Keep training yourself to “produce moral and mental improvement”. Believe me when I say, the challenge is one to keep accepting because it’s what motivates you and makes your life that much more fulfilling.

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About the author

Jade Mason