September 22, 2023
Reimagining Disciplie


Soon after launching my new online course on the creative process, I began talking with the people who enrolled. I was curious to learn,from their perspective, what kind of obstacles they were facing -- the "stuff" that got in the way of manifesting their own creativity.

No matter how different the people I spoke to, how unique their background, experience, accomplishments,gender, world view, or astrological signs,they all said the same thing -- what I later came to refer to as the "D" word.


That's what they all believed was missing from their lives. The lack of discipline was their Achilles heel, they confessed to me -- their problem, their weak spot, their #1 concern.

For the first few weeks of listening to their lament, I agreed. After all, discipline was important, right? I mean, who could write a book or start a business, or launch a product without discipline? Plus, I was disciplined, and if I, the creator of the course, was disciplined, then discipline must be important, eh?

Well, sort of. In the end, it all depends on WHERE this so-called "discipline" is coming from.

The more I listened to aspiring creators talk about their lack of discipline, the more I began to see how deficient they felt... how inadequate... how not-up-to-the task of creating something new and wonderful.

There was a massive heaviness at the root of their lament... a weight... a density that did not feel empowering -- how high school kids often feel, on a Sunday, afternoon, when they realize they haven't yet done their geometry homework.

Liighbulb plant.jpg

Curious, I looked up the definition of discipline -- "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience." Oy. Then I looked up its etymology.

One source explained that the word "discipline" comes from "discipulus", the Latin word for pupil -- the same root as the word disciple.

Another source noted that the word "discipline" originates from the Latin word "disciplina", meaning "instruction and training" -- derived from the root word "discere" which means "to learn".

Very interesting, indeed.

People who become disciples are people who are deeply moved to learn something. Their actions and behaviors that follow are merely practical expressions in service to what it is they want to learn.

Their motivation is intrinsic. Their performance of specific actions emerges from their recognition that these actions will yield the results they are looking for.

In other words, their discipline is rooted in love, devotion, and choice -- driven by a deeply held inner aspiration.

"Should" is not the disciple's operational word. "Need" is. And "want." And "responding to an inner calling."

Researchers who have studied creativity have come to the same conclusion.
"Intrinsic motivation" is the driver, not carrots and sticks.

When a person is moved from the inside to create something new, their motivation is natural, not forced. They are not doing geometry homework.They are following their fascination and inner calling. And though, to outside observers, they may seem disciplined, they are merely being moved by an unstoppable force within themselves.

How much discipline does it take to eat when you're hungry? How much discipline does it take to look up when you see a rainbow? How much discipline does it take to hug someone you love?

And so, if you are telling yourself that you "need more discipline," I invite you to take a fresh look at your situation.

Do what you can to connect with your original vision to create something new and wonderful. Feel what that felt like. Tune into your childlike curiosity. Rediscover your intrinsic motivation and stay with it. Let that move you. The discipline you keep telling yourself you need will naturally emerge.

Let love, fascination wonder, intuition, and trust run the show.

The online course I am teaching

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at September 22, 2023 09:54 AM

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