Clocking in Isn’t Self-Discipline: A Guide to True Self-Discipline

I received numerous telephone calls, all originating from the swimming pool, beseeching me to find the time to indulge in aquatic activities. I offered my absence as an excuse due to my preoccupations with demanding work, yet I was reprimanded for my purported lack of self-restraint. This narrative commences from the previous month. When I embarked upon my swimming education, I joined the swimming league half-heartedly. Each individual incessantly motivated one another by adhering to a daily check-in ritual. Heretofore, I unfailingly reported punctually each day, but an unforeseen incident impeded my departure today. Despite consistently clocking in for two months, I was censured for my perceived inadequacy in self-discipline due to one instance of delay.

Subsequently, I approached my teammate, who had obtained the esteemed title of “Self-Discipline Master,” inquiring about his sentiments upon completing the check-in process. My teammate retorted, “I am bereft of comprehension; compel yourself to exhibit heightened self-discipline.” Evidently, the standard of self-discipline lies in the mere mechanical and blind adherence to the check-in procedure.

In the public’s collective consciousness, the act of clocking in traditionally pertains to the commencement and conclusion of the working day at one’s place of employment, with the associated data directly influencing the system of rewards and penalties. Statistical evidence indicates that, under balanced conditions, companies with a clock-in system exhibit superior rates of employee attendance and diminished occurrences of tardiness or early departures in comparison to those companies without such a system. Swiftly, this practice was adopted by various software applications and communities, leading to the establishment of supplementary punitive measures. Initially implemented to retain a loyal customer base, these measures also served to confer titles of self-discipline. However, the individuals adhering to these practices may not genuinely grasp the essence of “self-discipline” itself.

Within the realm of social media, the most commonplace phenomena are check-ins dedicated to memorizing English vocabulary, physical fitness routines, and engagements with cinematic or literary works. These check-ins may persist for as brief a span as three to five days or endure for several months. Certain applications and commercial organizations not only mandate daily check-ins and the sharing of personal experiences but even incorporate a system of rewards and penalties. Tenacity is hailed as the epitome of self-discipline.

It is reasonable for companies to require employees to clock in and out; however, it would be an oversimplification to exclusively equate clocking in with self-discipline in one’s daily life and studies.

Coincidentally, such a narrow interpretation of self-discipline has spawned a multitude of false pretenses.

Upon hearing rumors that staying awake late into the night may result in sudden demise, I expeditiously posted on WeChat: “Commencing today, let us retire to our beds early and rise promptly”; upon acquiring a new book, I hastily shared on WeChat: “Reading endows the soul with profundity”; when my child embarked upon piano lessons, I promptly captured the moment on camera, proclaiming: “Let our progeny cherish their aptitude.”

Yet, what becomes of these declarations within the realm of social media? Those resolute in their commitment to retiring early continue to adorn facial masks and habitually peruse their mobile devices in the early hours of the morning; those who have procured new books have scarcely perused a few pages in the span of a month, their volumes accumulating dust; children dutifully engaged in piano lessons merely participate in a few perfunctory WeChat polls, without further progress. Are these not mere symbols of self-discipline that gradually fade away, leaving one’s commitment exposed?

In the past, I habitually feigned a lack of self-discipline. I would endure sleepless nights in preparation for examinations, yet vehemently deny having engaged in any form of review; despite clearly excelling in exams, I would attribute my performance to an inexplicable anomaly. Nowadays, it has become fashionable to feign self-discipline, even in the absence of any genuine exercise, one continues to share daily photographs; despite a dearth of literary consumption, an urge to pen a sentence or two persists.

Genuine self-discipline invariably remains unvoiced. It necessitates no ostentatious display of symbols and doggedly refuses to succumb to prevailing trends. Instead, it elects to commence with the most pressing matters of the present moment. Should one aspire to shed weight, the path to weight loss is embarked upon; should one harbor aspirations of a salary increase, diligent efforts are exerted; should one seek to broaden their horizons, a leisurely stroll beckons; and should one wish for aimless conversation, the written word awaits. Eschewing the fabrication of false symbols, when one gives sincerely, why should there be any concern regarding reciprocation? All falls into place according to plan, so why force oneself into the confines of self-discipline? True self-discipline liberatesindividuals, whereas counterfeit self-discipline merely ensnares them.

Konosuke Matsushita once proclaimed, “The pinnacle of accomplishment arises from self-discipline.” However, this brand of self-discipline is never contingent upon the mindless establishment of symbols.

Haruki Murakami, in his relentless pursuit of creativity, once consumed dozens of cigarettes daily, jeopardizing his well-being. Only upon embracing a career as a full-time writer did he realize that a sound physique would propel him further. Consequently, he resolved to quit smoking, committed himself to rising at four o’clock every morning, dedicated four hours to writing, and embarked on a daily run of ten kilometers. This steadfast routine persisted for a remarkable thirty-six years.

Undoubtedly, Haruki Murakami epitomizes self-discipline. He discerned his aspirations, renounced detrimental habits, engaged in physical exertion, and ultimately attained global renown as a writer.

Genuine self-discipline entails recognizing one’s own capabilities and limitations. It necessitates clarifying objectives and advancing steadily, each day surpassing the achievements of the preceding day. It requires nurturing hope and effecting practical changes in pursuit of one’s ideals and a fulfilling life.

Self-discipline is never a mere label or a means to an end; rather, it manifests as a lifestyle that naturally evolves within a state of well-being. Profound knowledge, ample income, and robust health await those who embrace this way of life, bestowing upon them precious gifts.

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