Freedom is what everyone wants — to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline.
Jocko Willink, “Jocko Willink: The Relationship Between Discipline And Freedom,” Forbes Oct 17, 2017
Jocko knows something about discipline. He was a Navy SEAL for 20 years and became the commander of Task Unit Bruiser.
Six months of grueling BUD/S training does not sound like the popular perception of freedom.
We tend to think of freedom as the lack of constraint, the liberty to do whatever we want.
The US Constitution limits the power of government so citizens can exercise certain freedoms.
But there is more to a fulfilled life than freedom from government interference.
The government cannot give us the freedom to finish a marathon, to pay for a car with cash, or to pass the bar exam.
Those can only be accomplished with significant discipline.
Every choice we make for something is also a choice against many other things we could have chosen.
And those choices also expand some options in the future and restrict others.
If we want to have success in a career, we must first meet certain educational requirements.
Then we need to gain experience and develop our talent stack.
It is also important that we develop a network of peers and mentors.
If we exercise the discipline to do these things over time, we have the freedom to take advantage of opportunities that come along.
If we want financial freedom, we must exercise discipline with our money.
If we want to gain proficiency on a musical instrument, we must practice.
If we want the freedom to use our time however we want, we need to have the discipline to manage our schedule.
If we want the freedom to have our own thoughts, we are going to need a lot of discipline.
We need to be constantly learning about the world and about ourselves.
We need to be aware of how much we are influenced and manipulated by our sources of information and even by our entertainment choices.
We need to engage in dialog with others who have different ideas, values, and experiences.
We need to give ourselves permission to adjust or completely change our opinions.
That’s a lot of work.
But most things that are important require discipline and time.
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