Posted by: Judy | January 10, 2019

Motivation and Discipline

I grew up with the perspective that discipline meant punishment. Motivation was fleeting. I had the latter right but the former all wrong.

It wasn’t until I became acquainted with SEALs through interviews and books that I discovered discipline meant something else entirely.

Motivating Daily shared a great graphic:

I didn’t learn good discipline until I worked for the airlines. I didn’t learn it graciously or understand what it was. I only knew that the work had to be done. Dawdling didn’t make it better. Putting it off didn’t make it go away. You worked until you were finished and often finished simply meant the end of your shift. Calls were still waiting, but my time for the day was done. I really wasn’t a gracious learner. I was crabby and cranky and hated the monotony. I didn’t like myself very well either so it wasn’t personal.

However, what I learned working for the airlines I was able to apply to my last semester of full-time college, which would earn me my AAS in my 30s. I learned what was required and went to work right away rather than stalling and putting things off to the last minute. I was working around my need to sleep so I had to use my time wisely.

The most important thing I learned was self-discipline. I didn’t even know what to call it because discipline was still punishment in my head.

I messed up my back and was treated in 2004-5. I had specific physical therapy I was required to do. My definition of self-discipline was beginning to change, but I had a long way to go. I had a habit of thinking I could do more than I could. I re-injured myself several times.

My counselor helped me recognize the need to change my thinking. The SEALs showed me how. I discovered I’d been extremely self-disciplined throughout my life, but a lot of it wasn’t healthy. The SEALs helped me reframe my perspective after my counselor taught me what was healthy.

Now, the little guy in the graphic isn’t very happy, but that was me before I learned the joy in recognizing the power of self-discipline. I still struggle, but I have improved so much. Cheering for doing better and cheering for continuing to fight to be healthier.


  1. Running directly toward and through whatever we’re avoiding is a good feeling in the end, I think. To put it behind you, and as quickly as possible, rather than to ponder it and make it even worse in our minds.

  2. Self discipline is the hardest discipline, and the best!

    • Yes, it is.

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