Discipline is NOT hustle culture

The dream is free but the hustle is sold separately…

Ever heard that quote? We have actually used it on an instagram post or two… and yet it oozes of the pervasive toxic hustle culture that we have become so accustomed to.

Work = Worth 

Producing = Enoughness

Busy = Best

These are the tropes that guide our lives in the United States. We are told we are only worth as hard as we can hustle… and yet, this is NOT what we are discussing this week.

If you extract nothing else from this blog post – you are not worth how much you produce, you are worth how much you invest into yourself and your community… sometimes that looks like taking disciplined REST. Sometimes that looks like disciplined self-care. Sometimes that looks like disciplined service. Sometimes that looks like disciplined prayer or meditation. Discipline is not a one size fits all, nor does it determine your worth- rather it helps you unearth it.

Discipline is not about proving self worth or producing enough to be enough. Discipline is about boundaries, and creating structure that re-enforces our ideals, values and goals. Hustle is typically taking on someone else’s values, ideals and goals and trying to run faster than them. Typically at the end of a hustle you are left exhausted, beaten down and burnt out. Discipline is like our muscles, the more you use them the stronger you get. When we practice tapas or austerity, we actually acquire endurance and through that endurance we acquire that which we are seeking.

Hustle = a sprint

Discipline = a marathon

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment

-Jim Rohn

If we think about this in the context of yoga, yoga is after the ultimate goal : to become one with the Self. Explain that to yourself as you will, but to become one with the Self requires that we are only 1 place at 1 time. If you’ve ever tried to focus on one single task for more than :30, you’ll understand how truly difficult this is- enter DISCIPLINE.

“Austerity develops endurance, which is the backbone of yoga. In yoga, you need that power of endurance. Constantly enduring whatever happens, never falling apart. You should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over… The path is strewn with many obstacles, so you can’t let one obstacle stop you. You have many obstacles to overcome, so you must gain strength as you walk the path.”
-The Yoga of Discipline by Gurumayi Chidvilasandanada

Discipline is not just what our mother’s conditioned us to do to clean our room, or when you think of a military setting. Discipline (tapas/ austerity) are the habits and rituals that color every day that consistently make us our highest and best Self. These habits and rituals are not always what we want to do in the moment, but that serve us long after the job is done. Another thing we are conditioned with in the U.S. is instant gratitfication. Often discipline looks like a consistent practice of something over a LOOOOONG period of time with very delayed gratification as a ‘gift’. It is in the delayed gratification that a lot of the gifts actually dwell.

Take the physical action of holding plank. Only the rare sadist actually likes holding plank, but if you have done a practice of holding plank consistently, you’ll know that the benefits abound for what it does to improve posture, physical postures in your yoga practice, core strength and more. It doesn’t happen after the 1st or the 5th plank, but the 10th or 100th that you start to see a change.

So this week, take a moment to consider healthy habits you’ve lost along the way, consider them not from the lens of hustle and productivity, but of deep self love and service. What are the consistent habits and rituals you can maintain or put back in place that will get you closer to your highest Self? What does it mean to ‘burn yourself down to your purest form’? What do you need to shed and what do you need to take on to get closer to your highest Self? Consider too how these habits and rituals make you better for the collective whole. Hustle often only improves us for solo interest, discipline often improves us to be better for ourselves and the world around us.

Here are 10 ways (+ a cheat sheet of hustle v. discipline) to practice discipline:


  • Everly Coleman


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