The Art of Discipline

The word discipline gets a bad rap. It shouldn't. Discipline is not the same thing as punishment (which is what most people seem to think).

The kind of discipline I'm talking about is an “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.” That's from the dictionary, so it must be true.

Writing this blog is a form of discipline for me. I do it every day. Not as punishment and not as obsessive adherence to arbitrary routine but as a purposed and consistent activity that is aimed at something.

I think the world could use more discipline of that kind.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Russ

    I love your emails, Ray. Short and to the point!

    An old Buddhist sage one said “life is pain”, and when I heard that, I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty pessimistic for a Buddhist.”

    Some time later I read another quote that said “the pain of discipline weighs ounces, while the pain of regret weighs tons.”

    Then the Life is Pain quote made a lot more sense.

    Life is painful to the degree that we mostly don’t get to do exactly what we want to at every moment. If we did, complete anarchy would reign.

    So, discipline IS required for any sort of forward progress. And it certainly isn’t a negative word – quite the opposite.

    The question is, will it be self-discipline or imposed discipline?…


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  • Anonymous

    As Joe Clark said (at least in the movie Lean on Me),

    Good post, Ray.