“We’re free!” we all shouted. Graduation was over, and we were free!
We thought—now that we’re finally out of high school and free—that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, without interference from any authority.
Well… that was a long time ago, and it’s taken a lifetime of lessons (many painful and often uncomfortable) to realize that true freedom isn’t the ability to do whatever you want. Instead, freedom is the strength of character to do what’s good, true, noble, and right. Freedom is the ability to choose and celebrate the best version of you—in every moment.
Along with those lessons came the realization that the key to freedom is discipline. Freedom without discipline is impossible.
I know, discipline is such a “boring” word. It sounds stuffy and over-demanding. But I’ll share with you a very simple, but powerful truth that takes some time on the planet to figure out: Discipline is the price life demands for happiness. You can’t be happy for any sustained period of time without discipline.
Developing discipline starts in a very simple way. In fact, if you get this one thing right—if you get good at doing this one thing—most all of life will be easier. Get this wrong, and life will be more difficult.
It’s as simple and as difficult as this: train yourself to be accountable to a calendar.
For most all of the rest of your life, success will depend on you showing up at the right time in the right place—and you can train yourself to do that! You can learn time management. You’ve got an entire summer ahead to learn how to master a calendar.
What do you put on your calendar? Start with scheduling your repeating activities: write down the times you need to be at work, your times for practice, exercising, or rehearsals. Write down deadlines for applications. Move these things out of your head and onto your calendar.
If you’re heading straight to school, write down each class and lab times. Write down mealtimes and special activities you want to do on a regular basis (laundry, calling mom, etc.).
If you and your phone are already inseparable, may I suggest a calendar on your phone?
Yes, congratulations graduates! You DO have much to be proud of. You can choose success and freedom and happiness by choosing to develop discipline. Here’s where you start. Now go out there and make a difference!