#1690 The Three Disciplines (vStutz)

Structural, Reactive, & Expansive

In our last couple +1s (here and here), we’ve been exploring some wisdom from Phil Stutz’s new book Lessons for Living.

Let’s continue our quick look at some of THE most powerful ideas that he and I have explored countless times in our 1-on-1 work that he hadn’t shared in his previous books The Tools and Coming Alive.

Today we’re going to chat about The Three Disciplines.

Let’s get straight to work.

Phil tells us: “Victory over evil comes only through changing our reaction to it. This is a spiritual issue. Once you look evil in the face it’s impossible to go forward with life without some connection to higher forces. If evil inspires us to find these inner resources, then it becomes our spiritual teacher. This changes evil from a force that makes your goals feel meaningless to one that pushes you to achieve them. It makes you undefeatable as a person and, if we all can understand this, undefeatable as a nation. But if we don’t develop a positive reaction to evil, we become paralyzed.”

He continues by saying: “How do we connect to these higher forces and become undefeatable? Prayer and worship are key. But there’s something just as crucial—discipline. Discipline forms an invisible structure in your life, a structure that attracts and holds the higher forces. If spiritual forces are like fruit in an orchard, invisible structure is a box we use to carry the fruit home.”

That’s from a chapter called “Staying on Track.”

This is where Phil introduces us to the THREE disciplines we need to master.

He tells us: “The first is called structural discipline. It consists of things you do routinely—eat, sleep, exercise, etc. The goal is to live in a constant rhythm. This connects us to higher forces because the universe functions in rhythm. Living each day with an organized structure teaches the ego to submit to something bigger than itself—time. To get out of a lethargic state, the first thing to do is put structure back into daily living.”

That, my dear friend, is worth a reread.

We’re going to come back to this in a moment as we talk about what Phil calls “emotional stamina” that I’ve adapted into what I call “antifragile confidence.”

Phil continues with the second type of discipline that he calls reactive discipline. It’s the ability to control your reactions to the events that bombard you all day.”

Basic idea here?

Victor Frankl captured the essence of reactive discipline brilliantly in Man’s Search for Meaning where he tells us: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Then we have the third discipline that Phil calls “expansive discipline. This refers to action steps you must force yourself to take to expand your life. ... The universe is constantly expanding. To stay connected to its higher forces, we need to keep up with it.”

Expansive discipline is, essentially, the operationalization of the virtue of courage. We MUST be willing to act in the presence of fear. We MUST approach our challenges rather than avoid them.

This is a discipline.

The best tool to employ with this?

Every single time you feel even a niggle of pain (in the form of anxiety, overwhelm, whatever), say to yourself: “BRING IT ON!

(Note: When I say “every single time” I mean EVERY.SINGLE.TIME you feel even a niggle of pain (in the form of anxiety, overwhelm, whatever), say to yourself: “BRING IT ON!”)

Quick recap...

The three disciplines are structural discipline, reactive discipline, and expansive discipline.

Quick inventory...

What’s working for you? Keep dominating that.

What needs work? Get on that.


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