Head in the clouds.
Feet on the ground.
That is a combination that has always been present in my life. For a long time I couldn't quite understand how to connect these two (almost) opposite elements. To be very creative, in whatever situation or moment. And, at the same time to take things seriously (sometimes too much). To be organized and responsible. How can I be an artist, if I am so disciplined? How can I express myself in a true way, if I have a certain intelligence over my emotions? I asked myself these questions for a long time. And still do sometimes. But also with time, I found that the connection between the sky that inspires me and the ground that helps me take steps forward, is actually a tool. And that I could study it, develop it and understand how that actually helped me to live my art.
That word that we are many times afraid of when we are children. To be right or wrong. Behaviour and expectations. Respect and obligation. At home, school, university, when working at a firm, when sitting on an airplane. We are surrounded by rules. Punishment and reward. And this is what we know as discipline. It’s something that molds us into something we not necessarily feeling to be. However, during my studies on the matter, I found that it goes far beyond that. That again is just the superficial layer that is passed to us by society - or our own environments and beliefs.
When discipline is applied as a tool to our self, it becomes something else. We start creating habits of thought, action and speech with the only aim of self improvement to reach our determined goals. Self-discipline is important so that we can do whatever we want - whenever we want - without feeling lazy or procrastinating. To be productive and creative whenever we want - or have to.
quick note: self-discipline is not the same as self-control. For some time I thought one was part of the other, but I don’t believe it is. No one is disciplined the whole time (nope, not even me), we have moments that we just need a break, especially when our bodies and minds are fatigued. It’s ok, not to wake up at 5AM one day to exercise, because your body needs to rest. We have to learn to listen to our own structures - mind, body and spirit - not to control them, but rather to use them in our favour - and that is when discipline steps in, and helps us get into the flow of things.
Without discipline it we are lead by our own volatile states of emotion and mind, and that is the same as letting your life being carried by someone else. Discipline is not the the feeling of “ I will wait until I feel like it, and then I will do it ” but rather “ I will do it, and then I will begin to feel like it ”. By understanding what moves you and how you move, you create your own momentum - instead of waiting for it to arrive. Can you see the difference?
Discipline can bring you tools, triggers, momentum and - by the end of every day - a sense of accomplishment. What else do we need? However, to get there, after understanding what it can do for us, it is something that is developed and trained. Nope, it is not a gift for few - so don’t worry, you can learn how to be more disciplined at any time. Let’s put it this way. Imagine discipline being like a muscle. Yes, there are humans that have the potential to gain muscles faster than others. But there are also those who are determined to train it every day and those who just leave for later. Like I said, it’s either about waiting until you feel it, or do it until you feel it. It’s the same with discipline. It’s a choice.
And I can say, from my own experience, when I embraced discipline as part of me I made it my guideline between the art and business. Between my artist side and my business side.
head in the clouds
and my feet on the ground.
And like a river with meanders, this line in between may tend more to one or the other side in a few days, but it always keeps me focused and with an eye on my goals. It connects the land I’m standing on, to the ocean I want to reach. It’s what brings me back to the center when I test my own limits. To understand how far I can go. As an artist or as an entrepreneur. It is what gives me the daily flow to do things and then feel like doing it more and more. It’s a growing and permanent moving flow - and cycle.
Is this line the same for everyone? Is discipline the same for every human?
Sorry to say that no, it is not. So I may share my own experiences and learnings for you to find some inspiration, but it is in your power to draw your own line, and to learn how to navigate your own river. From the land you are standing on to the ocean of possibilities you can create for yourself.
Our environment encourages conformity and control - two concepts I perceive as prisons. We become afraid of letting ourselves loose. The fear that kills our freedom of expression and creativity, once we start telling ourselves “I can’t” “I don’t dare” “what will people think of me?” I am breaking free of this.
We are all creative humans, as it is a collective capacity that can be developed. So, first of all I'd say - take a step back and ask yourself: how do you see your life - in all its details: in black and white, or in color?
I feel that more and more of us have been disconnecting from these more sensitive senses by connecting - or absorbing - too much of our surrounding. And especially by letting the noises of the surrounding affect our inner voice. We listen and get very involved with other people’s thoughts and opinions. The networks. Virtual or not. We are erasing our internal voices. And who is paying the highest price is our own intuition.