If I look back on my life and analyze it in terms of discipline, it’s been quite the battle. I still frown when remembering how they had to drag me out of bed to take me to kindergarten in the early morning. And that continued for years.
Once I was there, the teachers wanted me to play at a certain time, eat at a certain time and sleep for a certain period of time – most often when I didn’t want to.
I remember that at some point they had to move my bed out of the children’s bedroom and take it to a separate place where at least I would leave others rest and hopefully be bored enough to fall asleep myself.
Then came school. In a nutshell, it’s doing what you don’t want to do when you really don’t feel like doing it. A lot of energy and focus got wasted there.
In between, it was the summer holidays and the weekends. Where parents want kids to be at home when things get interesting on the playground, and want them out when they get creative at home. Again, no balance. Just unpleasant memories.
It was the same in high school, but fortunately we’re mature enough to care less at that time. And last but not least, university. Where you’re actually learning something meaningful that might be put into practice, but again you’re told when, what and how. And you don’t like it.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a great childhood. But discipline wasn’t an option and I felt so miserable when someone was making me do something that I just didn’t want to. Even when I gathered all my powers and will and did it, my performance was awful, so was the end result. So no one was happy in the end.
And in order to make my point, I’ll let you know how things currently are in my life:
I can easily wake up around 6 a.m. and jump out of bed without the need for a second alarm. I have a light smile on my face, and can’t wait to get to the computer to start working.
Then, I do it for 4 hours straight – something I’ve found to work best for me. I’m ruthless with these 4 hours, nothing else gets in the way at that time. I’m focused on and thinking only about the work in front of me.
Then I can do stuff. Whatever I want. But I add more hours of work later in the day or after a short break for lunch. It’s not a problem to make it up to 10 per day.
In my free time, I’m all about learning stuff. I can read and research for hours, and work on side projects that may or may not make me successful or bring in money in the future. But it’s not about that.
Before I wasn’t a fan of homework, not to mention side projects. I also couldn’t concentrate easily, was impatient, and definitely not productive.
Now, however, I’m proud of the work I get done in these 4 sacred hours. And everything else I do after that.
As for food, in the very first part of my life I wasn’t really fond of it and they had to make me eat my meals. Then, at some point in high school I was often overeating and in love with some foods. That’s when society couldn’t let me enjoy a single bite – although that didn’t stop me – as I was eating a bit more than what’s expected.
Now, on the other hand, I’m not eating in the first part of the day. And can go without thinking about food till the evening. Then, I have the freedom to eat whatever I want. And because of the fact that I do, I don’t overeat, but can still enjoy any food I desire.
I used to be a night owl. Still creative, but thought my energy could only be found from noon on.
A wrong assumption, obviously, considering how super productive I am now in the early hours of the day. Which makes me think that people can’t really be divided into 2 groups – morning people and night owls – and that anyone can fall in love with the time before dawn if he finds the right reason.
I had a hard time with time management too, as most people do. But now my priority is my work time, and once I structure everything else around it, things seem to fall into place.
So what’s the dirty little secret about discipline that no one wants you to know?
That you can only be disciplined if you decide so. And when others make you do stuff, it will never end well.
The Killer Combination of Passion and Freedom
What changed things for me was doing what I love and having the freedom to do it whenever I want to. That gives me a reason to wake up early, to be focused, to prioritize, to make compromises, work hard for hours without feeling exhausted, be full of ideas, and happy in general.
If there’s a formula for contentment and great results, I’d say it’s passion + freedom.
These two are so powerful, especially when combined, that if you do find the former and do whatever it takes to get the latter (by turning what you love into your career), you’ll be a happy person and can only exceed in life from there on.
And I wish that could happen to you too. Unfortunately, because you can’t really feel the benefits before experiencing this killer combination, you’ll have to trust me and all the other people out there (compared to which my achievements in life are still nothing).
So I wish you, from the bottom of my heart, to take the countless opportunities of today’s world (especially of the Internet) and find something that gives you joy. Not just something you like, or enjoy. But an activity you love.
Then, see what others have done to start practicing it online, to make money from it, or to turn it into a whole business. And do it. Work day in and day out, as hard work is the biggest part of it. But it won’t really feel like work, as it’s something you would be doing for free anyways – that’s how much you should love your passion.
Then, you’ll be working for yourself. Like I am. And can decide when and for how long to do it, can take up more projects whenever you feel like, will be making yourself rich not anyone else, won’t have to go to an office, and so on.
And that’s just the beginning. Freelancing just helps you make a living and gives you the ultimate freedom – you can become location independent at some point and live a mobile lifestyle. But that’s another topic for discussion.
After that, you can create a business and become an entrepreneur. You can get others to do work for you, and even build a team of other passionate individuals you can trust. Then you’ll create valuable products that people will love and which will make their lives easier and better in some way. That will be your contribution to the world, you’ll have a chance to make big money, and connect with some influential people.
But if you don’t feel like it, there’s no need to get into all that.
No matter what you decide to do with your life, remember that all the moments of misery and mediocrity are a matter of choice. Because your ideal lifestyle is out there. It’s waiting for you to unleash your potential, find something you’re passionate about and reclaim your time and freedom.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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