But what about complex goals? If my goal is to become a strong man worthy of respect and admiration, what routine will make this happen? I can lift five days a week, but I won’t understand why strength is necessary. I can meet a woman, marry, and have children, but I won’t be able to explain why marriage and children are important. I can go the range every Saturday and fire a hundred rounds, but I can’t see how carrying on a daily basis is essential. Without discipline, I cannot connect the What (action) with the Why (importance).
We all have a routine at the gym, but we must also have discipline. If your routine is to lift chest on Mondays, but this Monday you get home from work late and are tired, then you don’t go. Hey, sometimes we get thrown out of our routine. Whaddaya gonna do? But if you have discipline, you say, “That I’m tired is irrelevant. I need to become strong because I am a man, and it is my duty to be strong. The people who matter to me depend on my strength.” That’s it. It’s not easy, and we sometimes fail ourselves and those depending on us, but we learn from our failures and keep working.
It’s not hard to see who has a routine and who has discipline. The guys who are at the gym for two hours bullshitting and dicking around have a routine, not discipline. The gym is where they go to LARP as men. The men who let their children behave like savages and take orders from their shrew of a wife have a routine, not discipline. These men have instilled nothing of value into their children. The guys at the range who practice shooting every week as a hobby – yet never carry – have a routine, not discipline. They have no intention of defending themselves or others.
There are some men who can’t have discipline in the above areas. Maybe they don’t have a family yet, or maybe they live in an anti-gun nanny state like the UK, Australia, or – god forbid – New Jersey. If so, such men must still be able to consciously grasp the importance of family and firearms. (Outside of having polio, there is no legitimate reason not to lift. Unless you’re FDR, get to the gym.)
Discipline must be more than mere consistency. In order to say you’re disciplined, you must have a strong, visceral understanding of the Why, not just the What.
If you find yourself going through the motions, stop and ask: “Why am I doing this?” If you can’t give a clear and forceful answer, then you have a routine, not discipline.
For our purposes, if your response is something other than: “To make me a strong, respectable, and dependable man,” then you need to rethink the What and Why.