Tuesday, January 16, 2024


Having actively embraced the sport of running for many years and completed 20+ full marathons or ultra runs, the role that discipline plays in achieving success in sports became quite apparent to me. It took countless hours of practice, even on days when I didn't feel like training, to conquer each mile. After running distances I never thought I could, I believed I knew everything there was to know about discipline. My notion changed, however, when I recently came across a mind-shifting piece on the subject in Tennis legend Rafael Nadal’s book, 'Rafa: My Story.' Here is the excerpt:

“To deny yourself necessary pleasures would be counterproductive. You’d end up feeling bitter, hating training, and even hating tennis, or becoming bored by it, which I know has happened to players who’ve taken the principle of professional self-denial too far. It is possible to do everything, I believe, but always keeping a balance, never, ever losing track of what’s important. In exceptional circumstances I might even skip morning training and train in the afternoon instead. What you can’t do is make the exception the rule. You can train once in the afternoon, but not three afternoons running. Because then training becomes secondary in your mind, it ceases to be the priority, and that’s the beginning of the end. You might as well prepare for retirement.”

In essence, it's about treading the fine line between healthy and unhealthy discipline. This distinction plays out not only in sports but in our work lives too.

Here’s what Healthy Discipline may look like: A software developer follows a balanced schedule with coding, collaboration, and intentional breaks. This approach maintains productivity and creativity without burnout, fostering both professional growth and personal well-being.

Here’s what Unhealthy Discipline may look like: A student obsessed with straight A's sacrifices sleep, social interaction, and self-care. This relentless pursuit leads to physical and mental health issues, diminishing the genuine joy of education and turning growth into a struggle.

Striking the balance between healthy and unhealthy discipline is akin to crafting a well-tuned instrument. Too much rigidity, and the strings may snap; too little, and the melody is lost. In sports, work, or any aspect of life, understanding when to push ourselves and when to pause is essential.

What are your thoughts?

LinkedIn Post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/anujmagazine_striking-the-balance-healthy-discipline-activity-7098470906104053760-DIdP/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

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