Few themes occurred to me recently:
1) sense of order or feeling one has about discipline,
2) degree of discipline that fits,
3) little by little, discipline in building discipline,
4) little by little in discipline, why?,
5) quality of discipline.
1) Sense of order or feeling one has about discipline.
The feeling part is about that sense of orderliness one has when stuff is nicely organized and easy to navigate. Basic thing. For example, when the room is cleaned up or some stuff in the shelf is nicely sorted or the schedule is clear and easy to adjust and make sense of. It's that nice kind of a feeling when one walks into a place and it's well-organized, has this kind of a clear, nice feeling about it.
That's basic but actually more important than it seems.
Why wouldn't one not want the emotional association one has with discipline, be itself disciplined? Thinking about discipline or making things orderly as this chore-like thing, this "making yourself do it" kind of stuff, is actually having a disorderly or undisciplined association about discipline, one of emotional turbulence. If the very starting point of making things more orderly, is itself disorderly, why would it be effective?
Instead, discipline can be thought of as just this nice feeling of being on track. Of just keeping one's activities and things relatively orderly and clear. Not as this kind of a 12 hour grind all day every day, near-perfect adherence to schedule, or having every tiniest thing in order, or absolutely 0.000% mess anywhere in anything. No, it's just doing things that make sense in a way that makes sense and keeping a general sense of order. It's literally just this nice feeling that comes with keeping things fairly orderly and clear. This is a pretty basic but surprisingly big difference maker, in terms of actually doing the discipline.
2) Degree of discipline that fits.
This is the recognition that it's about finding a degree of discipline that fits oneself. It's about the optimal degree. It's like a recipe, too much of even an excellent ingredient can worsen or screw everything up. It's not about maxing out on discipline. More discipline doesn't equal better. More disciplined doesn't equate better. It's important to recognize that it really varies from person to person and too much discipline is as destructive as too little of it. Not too little, not too much. Just about fine, as fits one's unique predispositions, preference and needs.
3) Little by little, discipline in building discipline.
Going from 0 to 100 in almost one go. 10 to 40. 20 to 70. That doesn't work, in general. Instead, set the goal or discipline on what's slightly outside of how disciplined one was the day before. Not too slightly - it should be a bit of a stretch. But not too far out, either. Something that is kinda challenging but not too hard. It's not cruising, but it's not this really huge deal or destroyer of worlds maximum insanity level either. It's this nice stretch.
Repeat that until it becomes comfortable. Then set a new goal that is the new stretch, slightly outside of what one can do now.
Keep stretching and repeating to comfort, again and again and again. Each time one stretches and then repeats it enough for it to become the new comfort, one's becoming genuinely more disciplined. It becomes default and automatic. And that's the entire point.
4) Little by little in building discipline, why?
Overextending, e.g. 0 to 100, 30 to 80 overnight and the like, this tends to offer a short-lived period of rather shaky, tense, and very forced discipline. It's often followed by an even greater and more magnified period which lacks it. Makes sense? Not necessarily, at least not unless someone has experienced it enough.
Being absurdly driven, I was repeatedly convincing myself that "this is bullshit for pussies" and, with a clear goal in mind, going all out at it. I'm not saying this can't work, on some occasions it probably can - but in general that kind of a discipline doesn't really become default and automatic, and the quality of that discipline suffers.
It's easy to understand why one doesn't go from some small weights to strongman level weights in the gym. It's harder to comprehend why would discipline - something that seems just mental, psychological, emotional - be similar in this regard.
The reason has to do with translation, distribution, and alignment between parts. It's not so much that one wants to be more disciplined, it's many parts of oneself that do. There are emotional parts, mental parts, physical parts. There are sub-parts in each of these parts. In a sense, there are trillions of parts because there are trillions of cells, though of course, they organize into larger parts. All of these parts are influenced by, and participate in, daily cycles or rhytm of activity. If one changes this rhytm - some parts can both understand and adapt very easily and quickly. And some parts cannot or don't, for whatever reason, they require time. If that time's not given, it creates a ton of problems.
That's the basic gist of it. If one gives themselves time, they're really giving time to all the internal parts to understand and adapt to what's going on and that's really the key. That's why being more patient and gradual about it, tends to produce much more solid and lasting results, instead of confusion and repeated lack of progress.
There is also the quality of discipline involved in it. It's very important that the quality fits oneself. Rushing it tends to dilute and distort the quality, while taking a more gradual and patient approach supports achieving a quality that fits oneself.
5) On the quality of discipline.
There are many kinds of discipline. The discipline I'm taking about is not one of beating oneself into a constricted automaton. Discipline shouldn't be associated with a lot of tension, feeling very forced, something very pushy and imposing, that's not what it is about. Discipline is something that's used to achieve a nice sense of order. It's returning and staying on track. Mostly, there shouldn't be a sense of overwhelm, or mounting tension, or overload, associated with discipline. It's not tension and stifling sense of restriction. It's a sense of order and stretch of one's abilities in a direction that makes sense.
This quality of discipline has many facets and it's not important to consider them consciously. I don't think it is, at least. There are far too many of them. What's important is that it feels aligned and that it's stable and resilient. A discipline that's easily shaken or broken, that's not the goal. It's discipline that really fits oneself, and then, becomes default and automatic. Intrinsic to one's most normal, day-to-day, unconscious attitude. Something that one finds naturally gravitating towards because it's just a fine place to be at.