Socrates is credited as saying “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
True words, yet I’d like to expand on that and say “The undisciplined life is one barely lived.”
It is very important that we examine ourselves and come to understand who we are. It is crucial that we understand our lives and our character, our flaws and our virtues, our behaviors and motivations. If we are honest in our self-assessment, we will realize which of these things are good for us, and which of those things are bad for us. We will know what things we need to continue in, what things we need to improve upon, and what things we need to cut out completely. The need to examine oneself and arrive at this kind of self-understanding is urgent upon every person. It can be a daunting task, but it is one of the most worthwhile things that we can do for ourselves. A person is mature and wise who understands who they are and why they do the things that they do.
Self-realization is only the starting point.
However, self-realization is only the starting point. It is one thing for me to realize that my habit of eating entire bags of Doritos is very bad for my health. It is one thing to realize that I have been justifying it by telling myself “I regularly jog. I probably just burn those extra calories off anyways.” (Both of these things are true, but I must admit that I have been slack in my jogging lately, but as steady as ever with the Doritos). What must happen now is that I must discipline myself and start getting into actually doing something about it. Self-examination will only take you so far. What’s needed afterwards is the steady step of discipline.
No builder supposes the work to be done when only the plans and blueprint have been laid out. I realize that my Doritos habit is incredibly unhealthy, and I realize they need to be either dramatically cut back or cut out entirely. I understand that I must start telling myself when enough is enough and stop taking that ever-so alluring second helping (Or better yet, to refrain from eating Doritos entirely). The same applies with jogging. I know that I have gotten a bit out of shape, and that my running times have been 1-2 minutes off their usual mark. If I want to get back to the pace where I was before I started getting lazy, I simply must get out and start running again. It may be a while before my times get back to where they were, and it may be even longer until I get strong and fast enough to surpass my personal bests, but in order to do so, I must get out and run step-by-sweaty-step.
Discipline doesn’t procrastinate
Thus self-examination is merely the place where we begin. The real value begins when we take that first step. Discipline does not put things off for “tomorrow”. Once we’ve understood what it is we must do, the time to begin doing it is now. Want to get more exercise? Start now. Want to read more regularly? Start now. We want to be less self-centered? Resolve to do more for others and by all means start now. For me to get back into running and stop eating junk, I must start now. The walk will be hard, and the way will be difficult, but if we are to truly make the most of our lives, there is not a moment to waste.
Malcolm Roulette (Malcolm Munroe) is an aspiring Actor and Hip-Hop musician. He currently resides in Steinbach, Manitoba. Originally from Split Lake, Manitoba, he is a recent graduate of Steinbach Bible College, and is currently Co-Chair of the Board for Mid-way Christian Leadership based in Thompson, Manitoba. You can check out his music at “HipHopGeronimo” on Soundcloud, or search up “Geronimo (Rapper)” on Facebook.