TECH TALK: Letter to a 2005 Baby: Advice for Life (Part 4)

Dear Abhishek,

Inculcate Personal Discipline

It has taken me the better part of my life so far to realise the value of personal discipline. I always thought of discipline in the strict sense of the word a kind of mix of rigour and regimen, which one needed to rebel against! A few months ago, a friend used the word discipline in describing my lifestyle. It was only then that I started thinking about it more.

The dictionary definition of discipline is a good place to start. This is from

1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
3. a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.
b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.
c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.
4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

For much of my life, the applicable definition was a mix of points 2, 3 and 4. It was only recently that I transitioned to thinking about point 1. Thats what I want to discuss with you.

Discipline, to me, is now about evolving a specific set of ways to do things, and following them closely. Think of it as six sigma for oneself! While there is a definite need for variety and change, there are many things that we do during a day which can benefit from discipline. For example, until your birth (which still continues since you are currently with your mummys parents till June-end!), I had the following regimen for the early mornings (except Sundays and when I am travelling):

5:00: wake-up (I set 2 alarms 5 minutes apart to make sure I wake up!)
5:30: Listen to the BBC News on Radio as I am sitting in the balcony and thinking/reading
6:30-7:45: Walk/Yoga
7:30-9:00: Update Blog, Bath (cold water), Breakfast, Read Newspapers, Leave for office, temple visit en route

Sunday mornings are spent writing the Tech Talk for the week, and evenings are spent reading blogs and creating blog posts for the week. (I take a nap for about 1.5 hours in the afternoon.) Reading blog posts at a stretch is helpful because it allows me to better capture trends. Also, by slotting tasks at specific times make me much more efficient.

(Of course, some of this discipline will go out of the window as your mother and I take care of you while you grow up in the coming months and develop your own daily discipline!)

More seriously, I have found that I can be much more productive by following a discipline for some aspects of life. In fact, this discipline helps me think better. It also helps me get more things done.

Among other things that I do: carry the notebook (or a small pocket diary) wherever I go so I can make notes, keep two pens (so that if one stops working I have a backup), write down things that I need to do so I dont have to clutter the brain trying to remember stuff, eat at fixed times (whenever possible), limit eating outside food, check weight every few days so that I dont exceed the 65-kg limit that I have set for myself, make sure one is always punctual for meetings, and so on. You get the idea. The right kind of discipline is a great platform to build life on.

Tomorrow: Advice for Life (continued)

TECH TALK Letter to a 2005 Baby+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.