But there’s a discipline involved…you can’t touch your face with your hands as often, which is good, because you won’t get sick as often. It’s like wearing high heels: there’s a ladylike discipline involved with wearing high heels or a corset…or pencil skirts. Suddenly you have to change the way you are in the world, and I think makeup and hair are a little like that.
-Dita Von Teese
I read this interview with Miss Dita the other day and though the point of the article was a discussion on Dita’s make-up and skin care, I found myself pondering her quotes on discipline. For a while now I have been thinking about how being organized, having a routine, being disciplined, and being lazy connect with one another.
You see, I consider myself a lazy and fairly scatterbrained person.
I don’t like to do difficult things, I don’t like to fight or be annoyed, or get lost or waist time. The goal of my entire day is to get through it as painlessly as possible.
Therefore I have found coping mechanisms to achieve this goal of not being flustered.
One way I stay on track is having a routine.
Monday through Friday my days all flow in a similar fashion. This way I know what to do next. Is it 11:30? Time for lunch. Is it 2? Time for tea. I start dinner at 4. Kids get home around 5. Homework is at 6. I retire to my bedroom around 8. Without this routine I find myself lost and I waste time surfing the internet and looking at too many cute cat pictures.
Another way I try to control my scatterbrain is to make lists.
I almost always have a notebook on me and I am constantly writing down my random thoughts. When I am driving I dictate things to Siri at red lights. I make a to-do list almost every single day, in order of action.
For example I will write everything I need to do and then rewrite the list in order of how I am going to drive to each one so I don’t back track too often. I usually start with the errand furthest away and then I work my way home. I find this to be an efficient way to use my time and therefore I am able to get my stuff done with very few problems.
Having a routine and following a schedule takes self-discipline.
I have a friend who is the least organized person I know. She literally wakes up every morning and has no idea what she is going to do that day. I swear her kids barely get to school on time and then she spends two hours drinking coffee at Starbucks and then doesn’t understand why she can’t get all of her errands completed. I tried helping her Super Nanny style by going over her schedule, putting up a written routine, organizing her calender, and getting her a coffee maker. She lasted about two days and then went back to her original habits.
Obviously there is something about not being organized that works for her.
Maybe she likes feeling helpless so others will help her. Maybe she likes spending time at the coffee shop. Maybe having a routine is boring and she likes feeling free when she wakes up every day.
Whatever the case may be, she wasn’t ready to choose the discipline it takes to keep a routine and be organized.
Ironically by choosing to wing it every day she ends up being less free to do the things she really wants to do because she loses time by not being organized. For my friend making the choice to be disorganized is easy. Methinks she found the discipline of choosing routine too difficult.
That isn’t to say she has zero self-discipline. She has a very high position in her job and that must take discipline. But in this case there is a disconnect between her work discipline and her home discipline.
I speak about my friend not to tear her down, but to explain that while having a routine and schedule is boring and somewhat confining, it ultimately gives me more time to pursue my blog and be creative- which is my ultimate passion. But this takes discipline to achieve. I have to choose to follow my own routine and choose to keep track of my day. I am not judging her choices- they work for her. I am just using her example as a way to compare and contrast my own choices.
Making these choices brings me back to the quote I posted at the top of the post.
Dita finds putting on her face and doing her hair a form of discipline. Same goes for dressing well each day.
It is easy to choose to not wear make up.
It is easy to throw on a pair of sweatpants and a old sweatshirt.
But the question you need to ask yourself is how do you feel when you choose to not present yourself in your best light. Do you feel good about yourself? If not, why do you continue to choose the sweats? It must give you some sort of comfort or pleasure. What is that pleasure for you?
Personally, I think having discipline is one of the most important traits you can teach a child.
I know self esteem has been in the forefront of education for years, but I think it is time to teach kids how to discipline themselves and how their choices make them who they are.
If you have something about yourself you don’t like but you continue to choose to do whatever it is that makes you feel bad you need to make the choice to change and then have the discipline to make that change every single day for the rest of your life.
I make a choice and use discipline every time I make a list and get through my day with few problems. Dita makes a choice and uses her discipline every time she puts on red lipstick and heels. Both choices make us feel better about ourselves. Instilling and cultivating self-discipline take time and effort, and if we teach this to our children they will be much better off.
So my question to you is, is there something that you want to change about yourself, and if so, what is holding you back from making that choice and doing it every day? Is it discipline? Is that issue really something you want to change or something others think you should change? Is the original behavior a coping mechanism, and if so is it helping or hurting you? Once you can answer these questions you are one step closer to recognizing true change and creating the discipline to achieve that goal.