The Man’s Guide:
How to Be More Disciplined
Discipline equals freedom.
Many have a distorted view of freedom. They think it’s the freedom to be a useless shit bag, to kneel at a national anthem, to burn a flag, to sit in front of the TV for hours on end because it’s your ‘right’, to not look for work and collect checks paid for by others tax dollars because work is something you just don’t feel like doing.
That’s not freedom.
Freedom is earned, and it’s often not earned by you.
I think I first heard that phrase, discipline equals freedom, from Jocko Willink. The guy has a wonderful podcast that you can check out here.
Many think that freedom is doing whatever you want. That it’s spending your money on whatever you want, eating whatever you want, then complaining because you don’t have enough money or you’re too fat to get off the couch.
Freedom requires discipline. If you want to live a successful life financially, if you want to take trips and travel the world, you need disciplined spending habits to save, and/or disciplined work habits to earn. You also need disciplined training habits to be able to push your body farther than you could yesterday so you can get more out of life today.
The freedom to be a lazy shitbag isn’t freedom because you’re limiting what you can do in life, you’re a victim to ease, to sloth, to the horrible heart condition you’ve developed thanks to your Big Mac addiction.
You can’t have freedom while also being a victim or a dependent. Thus, the strength and skill and grit that self-reliance requires must be developed. If you’re looking to others to save you, to come to your rescue, then you’re not going to have much freedom.
What follows isn’t a ‘why freedom’. Those who prefer laziness wouldn’t have ever clicked on this article in the first place. You’re here because you want freedom and you’re willing to get it through discipline, so here are ways to develop and maintain an effectively disciplined life.
Your why. Your fuel.
I just spent a scheduled 10 minutes looking at custom timber homes in the southern Alberta area online. It seems like a waste of time, something silly to schedule into a routine, after-all, it’s a thing I’m looking at, a possession, and possessions aren’t things you own, they always end up owning you.
I don’t look at cars or watches and I especially don’t search the interwebz looking at clothes, that’s weird. I do reserve a little bit of disciplined dreaming for two things:
- A big plot of land with a big timber home on it.
- Adventures and trips I’d like to go on.
The first isn’t a flash-in-the-pan desire. I’ve had this goal to own a big timber home, a ranch on a big piece of land for a decade or more. It’s a goal, a part of my dream, where I want to live and raise a family if that’s the path my life takes. If it isn’t, a pack of dogo’s and a few horses and some cattle and I’ll be satisfied.
I look at said homes every day. It gives me a kick in the ass every damn day. It’s an odd ‘why’, but it’s definitely fuel.
The second I’ve done and am still doing. A couple years ago I spent the majority of the year on two dream trips, one was Italy and Scotland, the other was Argentina and Uruguay, and in two weeks I’m going game hunting in Africa (game, not trophy for those whose panties tend to knot easily).
These act as fuel, they help me stick to my routines that we’ll get into later, they help me stay disciplined. I highly recommend you find one or two things that fuel you to stick to the plan you lay out.
They’re not, however, my why.
Your ‘why’ is deeper, it has to do with your view of the world, and my worldview dictates that what I have and where I am is not my doing, but the result of sacrifices made by people I know – like my parents – and others I don’t, like the brave men that fight for our freedom every day and have been doing so for generations. These sacrifices cannot be wasted by spending frivolously.
“Spending” applies to both money and time. I can’t waste money in good conscience because it’s not mine to waste. It’s mine to use, to invest in the business, in aiding others, in adventures, in saving, but to waste it goes against my worldview. The greatest waste, however, isn’t money, but time.
Without discipline the vast majority of our time is wasted, which is a big slap in the face of anyone who’s sacrificed anything to give us any semblance of an opportunity in life. And ‘opportunity’ is subjective. I think being born rich is less of an opportunity than being born with less, with a chip on your shoulder, needing to hustle rather than seeing it as something that’s ‘optional’. (Read This: How to Use Your Time Like a Winner)
Figuring out your why is important. Do you want to create something that others truly benefit from? I do. Do you want to create something that lasts after you’re dead? I certainly do. These are the things that will get you up early and hustling when the idea of a nice house won’t cut it, especially if you’re in that nice house.
We’re not designed to multi-task. Actually, multi-tasking is a myth. It doesn’t happen. You either focus on a single thing or spread that focus over multiple things. But the more you spread that focus the less effective you become.
- You should only focus on a single thing at a time. That means as I’m writing this article it’s the only thing I can focus on. My internet’s shut off. My books are closed. There’s nothing that I’ll allow to distract me.
- To do this use work blocks. That is, determine what should be your focus (the thing most important to your success, and you define success), then block off 60-90 minutes to focus only on that thing.
In this 60-90 minute block, nothing else gets your attention. When the timer rings, get up, move around, then move on to the next work block.
At the end of every day determine what your work blocks should consist of. Don’t leave them to the day of.
The perfect routine
Creating a routine is defining your discipline. It’s determining what you need to do every day to perform at your best in your work, physically, and in your life.
Discipline actually gives you more time to fuck off and enjoy your day, and being disciplined and working your ass off allows you fuck off and do so with the pride that accompanies work well done.
The best I can do is to show you my ‘perfect routine’. Keep in mind that my best work hours are in the morning when no one else is away and before Teddy wakes up and needs attention. Also keep in mind that I write for a living. There’s a limit to how long and effectively I can write in a day before my brain gets fried and I lose the creativity required to write well.
So, my best time is given to writing, the rest is given to mindless things like answering emails.
Read: to 0500
Work block 1: 0500-0700 (writing)
Walk/run Teddy + eat: 0700-0800
Work block 2: 0800-1000 (writing)
Lift + eat: 1000-1200
Work block 3: 1200-1330 (writing)
Get outside/shoot the bow: 1330-1430
Read/research/emails: 1430-1730 (firm shut down at 1730 to get out and enjoy rest of the day)
Note: I often get back on the computer after dinner with a glass of scotch or wine and get some more writing done.
When I stick to that routine a few things happen:
- I get more work done.
- More work at a higher level leads to more income which allows me to put money down on the mortgage (being debt free is freedom), plan trips and getaways (freedom).
- I have far less stress, less weight on the shoulders. I’m happier, and I get to have more fun because I have more free time than I do when I lack discipline and a get less done.
That’s my routine, though, create yours, stick to it, and tinker with it until it’s perfect.
Making it habitual
Depend on habits, not emotions.
Depending on moments of inspiration is useless. You’re a victim to your emotions. Create motivation by doing the same shit every damn day at the same time, programming your brain to ‘get ready’ for the activity on its own without having to find inspiration or trick yourself into being inspired.
That routine you’re going to create will help you accomplish a few things:
- Health and energy.
Add diet into your routine. Don’t get caught off guard and forced to eat crap because you didn’t plan ahead. Also, train every day. I lift 5 days a week, but those two off days I’ll do something active.
- Get more done in less time.
That’s huge. You are your work. Without using your skills and talents and passion in life, you’re useless. Even if you’re not currently working, work on something. Write a book, make finding a job your job, start an online business (it’s almost free to do so).
When you die you want to die knowing that you gave it your all, and that you lived. ‘Living’ is experience the thrill – both highs and lows – of life. It’s facing your fears, embarking on adventures, and creating something while you’re here. You need discipline to accomplish each.
Have at it.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at –