Discipline is a horrific word to many people. Quite aside from the... unsavory... connotations, "discipline" sounds like hard work, and for most of us, something we're not good enough at. "I should be more disciplined" is a phrase on countless lips. Yet "more disciplined" remains forever out of reach, along with the diet, exercise, novel, or whatever else is the product or practice of that discipline that we don't have yet.

The Kensho Method takes a radically different approach to discipline from what most people are used to. We do not believe in the concept of "resistance" and neither do we believe that discipline is the product of willpower. Far more useful is your imagination. In any battle between willpower and imagination, imagination is going to win. When your willpower to put down the cookie meets your imagining how good a fudge-covered Oreo tastes, the willpower is unlikely to emerge victorious. What you need in that situation is imagination working on your side, and the Kensho Method teaches you how.

I'll address discipline with a personal example here. Every morning, I perform 10 minutes of yoga followed by deep breathing and meditation, and 11 different exercises of 50 repetitions each, starting with push-ups and including bicycle crunches and jumping jacks. Now, five years ago, that would have sounded nauseatingly overzealous to me; I would have pegged anyone who said they did such a thing as being far more disciplined than I could ever be. I had wanted to do this kind of a daily workout for many years, and was doing the yoga part of it on many mornings, but the meditation and exercise eluded me. Some times I did some exercise, but it was very infrequent and haphazard.

But now I am doing those things every day, and yet I do not consider myself disciplined. What happened?

The answer is that I put the power of force of habit to work for me. Consider: Do you brush your teeth every day? Does that require discipline? Unlikely. It's just something that you do. It doesn't require discipline or willpower, because it's a habit; it would require effort not to do it.

How do you build a habit?

The important part is establishing the frequent repetition. What you do with it is of secondary importance. I started my change by doing one push-up a day, and only one. And I kept that up until I was certain of doing that push-up every day. Everyone has time for one push-up, right? Then--in a positive application of the "boiled frog syndrome"--I added another push-up. And I kept at that for a while. I added one more push-up periodically until I was at fifty push-ups every day. Then I added another exercise: crunches. And I did the two exercises, fifty repetitions each, until they were as familiar and boring as brushing my teeth. And then I added another exercise. And that's how I got to my current state.

So discipline is a necessary function of high achievement, but how you get it done is not necessarily how you may think of it. We have more to say about the concept of resistance in the section of this site on Motivation.