Of discipline and dedication

I am a martial artist, and so two traits that come naturally to me are discipline and dedication. Almost like second nature. I guess thirty plus years of training help as well.

However, there are times when I too take it easy. When I say times, I really mean days, sometimes months. I too subscribe to the “will start from tomorrow” syndrome. That is human nature and has been part of us from centuries – thirty years is a little too less to wipe it off altogether.

But today I met a person who has been both disciplined and dedicated, and has great results to show for it.

She is the mother of a family friend of ours, and is living with them from the past few months. The last time she visited our place, it was on an occasion and we had ordered from outside. To my surprise, she had brought her lunch with her, and apologized but didn’t touch a morsel of the scrumptious spread that we had laid out for our guests.

Today, we met for tea at a mutual friend’s place, where again she refused to have anything except light sugarless coffee. I got talking with her and discovered that she had reduced over eighteen kilograms in the past five months – through a dedicated regimen of food and exercise. Her daughter said that she has not missed a single day of exercise, nor had a single cheat day when it came to food.

Amazing, what people can do when they put their mind to it and just decide to make a difference.

This is not easy. What is easy is to make a resolution, start on a “good day” and go through the first week with complete commitment. Then comes the “I deserve a reward” day and that’s the first time the chain of discipline is broken. Unfortunately for us, it isn’t a chain, but a vase, that once broken, cannot be put back together in the same way, with the same effect.

Dedication is one uphill task, where you cannot take a step backwards.

In an earlier post, I had spoken about the benefits of amāni-bhava, or no mind – taking it easy sometimes. The above does not contradict it. Taking it easy does not mean not being dedicated or disciplined.

When you take an uphill task, you decide the incline. Many of our resolutions fail because our goals are too aggressive and based on impossibilities.

The six pack or bikini body that you saw on Instagram is not of a standard working class man or woman that you are. It is of a person whose job it is to remain that way, and it takes a lot of dedication to achieve that as well. But it’s their job. Aspire to be as dedicated as them – but maybe you can settle for four packs lesser for now.

And so, decide the incline, the way of going about it, and then just stick to it. It’s that simple.

Try it sometime. If you need tips, I know a senior citizen who is better than me in explaining how:)

See you tomorrow!