Discipline is Freedom!

Discipline is Freedom!

Renato Russo, lead singer of the Brazilian band Legião Urbana, wrote, in the last verse of the lyrics of the song “Há Tempos”, the following words: “Discipline is freedom, Compassion is strength, Being kind is having courage” – a free translation from the original in Portuguese: Disciplina é liberdade, Compaixão é fortaleza, Ter bondade é ter coragem.

I confess that I don’t know the exact meaning he wanted to give to this, because I never heard him talk about that song, but I interpret, very clearly, that there is a positive association of the word “discipline” with the word “freedom”. And why does “discipline” relate to “freedom”? Because, in my view, discipline, among other things, facilitates time management, and favors organization, skills that lead you to be your own man and, therefore, to have more freedom.

Where There Is Wisdom, There Is Discipline, Where There Is Discipline, There Is Result.

I was having a glass of water at the gym where I train, between one exercise and another, when, in the next room (used for martial arts and aerobics practices), a poster with the title “Rules of Behavior on the Mat” caught my attention. Among its various sayings, I reproduce some below:

  • Greet the mat before entering.
  • Greet the mat before leaving.
  • Maintain a respectful attitude on the mat.
  • During the class, while the instructor is demonstrating a technique, students must sit, or kneel.
  • If you are late, wait for the instructor’s permission to enter the mat.
  • If you need to get off the mat before class ends, please ask the instructor for permission.
  • Conversations should be kept quiet and restricted to the subject being discussed in class.

Then, I thought to myself: Right! Well, would there be another way to conduct a class without establishing proper discipline? Of course not. Curious, I went to research similar rules from other martial arts, and found several, with the same objective, that is, to discipline the student’s behavior, aiming at the success of the practice.

Unfortunately, you don’t see much discipline in classrooms in schools and colleges in general. A while ago, I went to give a lecture in a class of students of Business Administration, at a college (very well regarded, by the way), but, unfortunatelly, I saw little of discipline. When we entered the classroom, the teacher and I, the class was making such a racket, which continued, despite the presence of the teacher, and decreasing a little, just due to the natural strangeness of seeing a different person (me). When the teacher started talking, several students could still be seen talking. However, when I started my lecture, right away I said that I knew that everyone should be tired (it was a night class), but that the subject that I would talk about was interesting for them, and that it was necessary that everyone collaborated, paying attention. I gave a talk with a lot of energy, and when a student start talking to someone, I immediately approached him, speaking more directly, or even asking him a question. Result: the discipline I used provided a good lecture!

Companies Need Discipline!

In my book 52 Bons Hábitos de Gestão, Liderança e Relações Humanas (52 Good Management Habits, Leadership and Human Relations), in the chapter “Create a positive outlook for the future”, I mention the virtuous circle of the winning team, which starts with “a positive outlook” but has “discipline” as one of its fundamental points. Also, in the topic Effective Leadership (Liderança Eficaz), in the management portal GestaoIndustrial.com, I again mention the importance of the virtuous circle of the winning team, and, to remember that, I put the figure below:

If it takes discipline for a student to learn, it takes discipline to do a job well, it takes discipline to maintain a healthy relationship, it takes discipline to get good results, it takes discipline to be successful. Therefore, an Organization must establish discipline, even if there are criticisms from some, saying that this “limits freedom” or “oppresses”, which is not true, as we have already seen that “discipline is freedom”, and the objective is to establish standards for high performance, and achieving results. Just as a football team must have discipline, if it wants to be champion, a winning organization must also establish discipline. It turns out that, mistakenly, some people confuse freedom with mess or disorder.

So, I like the following definitions of “discipline”: A set of principles and methods established for the proper functioning of any Organization or activity. And: discipline is obedience to the appropriate rules for the smooth running of the work.

There are those who prefer to live in disorder; however, these do not serve to work in an efficient and winning Organization. Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur and author, said that discipline is the bridge between goals and achievements! It’s true, I can’t imagine any job well done, without discipline. And you?