Tag Archives: jocko

Discipline in Disguise: The Unseen Journey Behind Extraordinary Achievements

The year 2023 has unfolded in an extraordinary way for me. In January’s first week, my wife and I embarked on a marathon at Disney, our first since 2015. This time, our Florida vacation was exceptionally splendid. Breaking away from our norm of choosing the most economical accommodations, we indulged in staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

On this trip, I deviated from our usual practice of renting basic cars and chose a Mustang instead. Although we were fortunate to have my friend Silvio host us for a part of our stay, I generally prefer to economize. However, this occasion was an exception.

Further into the year, I participated in a Spartan race. My performance exceeded my expectations, particularly considering my age and historical challenges with many of the race’s obstacles. I was immensely proud of this achievement.

A highlight of the year was our trip to Spain, where we celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. The two weeks we spent there have etched into my memory as a treasured experience.

Professionally, the year was marked by significant achievements as well. Following a reorganization at my company, I took on the responsibility of managing a new team in the Cloud Engineering division. This team plays a critical role in our company’s product development and daily operations.

In the realm of personal development, I managed to read 66 books. While this number falls short of the 125 I read last year, it remains a commendable accomplishment.

Some might perceive my recounting of these events as boastful. Perhaps it is, to some extent. However, what I truly intend to convey is that all these remarkable experiences and accomplishments are the fruits of countless hours dedicated to mundane routines, disciplined repetition, and consistent effort.

A monotonous life.

Behind these achievements lies a life of routine, often perceived as monotonous.

As Alex Hormozi aptly puts it, ‘Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.’ My life since early 2022, and even before that in preparation for our trip to Spain, epitomizes this sentiment. It may seem unexciting to an onlooker.

The journey began in 2021 when I initiated the planning for our twentieth-anniversary trip. Crafting a budget and diligently saving money meant making sacrifices and foregoing certain luxuries. Our lifestyle became more restrained; restaurant visits became rare, travel was minimal, and cinema trips ceased altogether.

Deciding to run the marathon required even greater financial discipline, as we were saving for not one, but two significant trips. Consequently, our social engagements were further reduced, aligning seamlessly with the demands of marathon training.

Training for a marathon is a commitment few are willing to make. It involves countless hours of running, often indoors on a treadmill due to the harsh Canadian winters. But it’s more than just running; it encompasses a rigorous diet, ample rest, and a strict avoidance of unhealthy foods like sweets and alcohol, sustained over several months.

In parallel, I was focused on professional growth. Aiming to enhance my leadership and managerial skills meant investing time in reading, studying, and introspection.

My daily routine for the past two years has been a testament to discipline: waking up at 4:15 AM for a regimen of reading, studying, meditating, training, and working, followed by more reading before retiring around 7:30 PM. This routine, which includes maintaining a single meal a day, is repeated six days a week.

Had I started this post detailing these aspects of my life, it might have deterred many readers. A life of such structured routine and discipline isn’t commonly sought after. However, it’s this very foundation that underpins the desirable outcomes of enjoyable vacations, physical fitness, and career advancements.

A recent tweet resonated with me: ‘There is no easy way. Only hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline.’ This encapsulates the essence of my journey.

Start practicing today.

Don’t wait for the new year or Monday to begin. Identify an important goal for yourself and devise an action plan.

Set your goals, establish a consistent routine, and focus on the process. Accept that there will be hard days, but don’t give up. The reward will come in time.

Remember, extraordinary comes from the ordinary sustained day after day. Your future achievements will be determined by the choices you make now.


Or, more specifically, self-discipline. When you institute and follow a habit or routine as you have determined with yourself, regardless of motivation or disposition. Whether it’s hot or cold, in the mood to do it or not.

Here in my office, I have this poster right behind me, which I see every time I come to work and every time I join a video conference (for the benefit of other participants):

Discipline is freedom

At first glance, it may not seem accurate. Discipline seems almost the opposite of freedom. But let’s break it down a bit:

My alarm clock goes off at 4:15 in the morning. I don’t hit the snooze button. I don’t stay in bed enjoying another 5 minutes. When the alarm clock goes off, I immediately throw off the covers and sit on the bed—90% of the time, I don’t want to wake up. I’m not in the mood. It’s cold (I live in Canada, after all). Maybe I’m off duty and don’t have to work. But – out of sheer discipline – I get up.

That alone gives me enormous freedom. While most of the world is still sleeping, I can choose what to do with my day and get ahead of the competition.

If you have the discipline to wake up early, say 1 hour earlier than necessary, you can quickly improve your life by following the 20/20/20 principle from the book “ The 5 AM Club ”:

  1. Use the first 20 minutes for physical activities. Stretching, light jogging, or light resistance training (should not replace your primary exercise routine)
  2. Use the next 20 minutes for your education and development. Read a book, or listen to a technical podcast in your field, about self-help or another subject that will help you personally or professionally. Maybe watch a lecture or take an online course.
  3. Finally, use the last 20 minutes to meditate, reflect on the day before, write in your journal or have your daily devotional.

This isn’t particularly my routine, but it looks like a pretty decent framework.

Twenty minutes a day in a year means 121 hours. I guarantee that if you spend 121 hours a year studying, exercising and reflecting, you will be a better and more successful person, probably with more disposition and a better income.

Some perks of self-discipline I want to point out:

  1. By using discipline, you also avoid having to make decisions. And making decisions is something that generates fatigue and stress. See decision fatigue on Wikipedia.
  2. You become more productive. Less time is spent procrastinating or looking for excuses for doing or not doing something. Does your routine say that at 10 am, you answer emails? Guess what: At 10 am, you will be answering emails.
  3. Your Decisions Will Be Better: When you plan and institute a new habit or routine that you maintain via discipline, it’s usually something you’ve pondered and considered for a while. You have devised a strategy, and you have a plan. It’s not something you improvised at the last minute.

Developing discipline can seem tricky, but I think that’s because people often confuse discipline with willpower. People say I can lose weight and run marathons because I have willpower. Wrong. I have discipline.

Go back and read the first paragraph of this post again. Discipline is doing something regardless of wanting to.

I’m a fan of Jocko Willink, and on Twitter, he often answers questions as succinctly and obviously as possible.

– “How do I wake up earlier?”
– “Wake up earlier.”

– “How do I go to the gym every day?”
– “Go to the gym every day.”

One of the best ways to develop discipline is to use systems instead of setting goals.

The idea of ​​systems vs goals suggests that you should focus on developing systems and habits that lead to your desired results rather than just focusing on the results themselves. That way, you can reach your goals more sustainably and efficiently while building the discipline and skills necessary for long-term success.

If your goal is to lose 10 kg, this cannot seem easy. But adopting a system that states that you only have two meals a day and no more soda is easy to follow through discipline.

I highly recommend James Clear’s Atomic Habits book.

Finally, be persistent and have perseverance. You will succeed by creating good habits and staying disciplined even when things get tough.

In summary, self-discipline is a valuable skill that can transform a person’s life in many ways. By instituting and following established habits and routines, regardless of motivation or disposition, you can be more productive, make better decisions, and achieve goals more efficiently. When developing self-discipline, it’s essential to focus on systems rather than goals, be persistent and persevering, and look for additional resources to help with the process. Start practicing self-discipline today and experience all the benefits it can bring to your life.