Discipline vs Punishment

November 27th, in brutal cold that froze guns and men alike,  120,000 Chinese troops began an offensive to kill 30,000 men that were part of the United Nations troops in the Chosin reservoir area.  The year was 1950.  The country was Korea.

American solders who had fought in World war II had seen their fair share of brutal conditions.  Now they faced a seemingly hopeless battle as the Chinese sought to encircle and kill them to the last man.

If the Chinese didn’t kill these men than the cold surely would.  The cold turned gun grease to jell, receivers jammed, guns didn’t fire, batteries failed, vehicles stopped working, artillery froze, in short, the men would fight the elements and their equipment as much as they would fight the enemy.  In the battles that followed there were many acts of bravery but somehow against overwhelming odds these men would inflict crippling losses on the Chinese while retreating under heavy fire. A lesson here is that retreat and a temporary loss can be part of a larger strategy that turns the final outcome.

What makes some men run into danger when others would run away?  Why would a man stand up in the middle of a hail of bullets so that mortar rounds can get a proper bead on the enemy?  What makes a man run through a killing field to his wounded comrades and bring them to safety?

Military training certainly is part of this.  It transforms teenagers into soldiers.  Certainly there is the sense in trust between men that fight side by side.  But that training also instills in them something they may not have had before: discipline.

When you think of the word Discipline, don’t think of punishment.  Think of the athlete who does one more lap around the track even though their  body is begging to stop.  Think of smoker who fights every day the urge to smoke and yet does not.  Think of the soldiers who faced fear and death but still moved forward.  Discipline is what makes us get the job done, its what makes us get up the next day, it makes us complete the task we would rather not, and keeps us from procrastinating.

When you think of BDSM and you think of Discipline, don’t think of paddles or spanking.  Think of the boring things that are expected to be completed, the things you might not have done if were not for discipline. Discipline is what keeps excuses at bay, it ensures that every inspection goes smoothly, it means that there will be no lapse in the protocol, rules, or structure of the house.  It means the rule of your law is a constant, never wavering absolute that can be depended upon.

You know what punishment is. Punishment might be used to create discipline, but don’t think of the two as one. True, they are related, but they are very different things.

You may be punished for a lack of discipline. But if you HAVE discipline, you won’t need to be punished. What is confusing is that sometimes punishment for a lack of discipline is referred to as “being disciplined”.  If you are being “disciplined” it doesn’t mean you are punished, it means that this quality that keeps you on track is being instilled in you.  Punishment is just one way of creating disciplined people.

To keep it easy to remember, just remember the discipline of an athlete, or the discipline of a soldier.  The internal fortitude they show is discipline.  You WANT to acquire discipline.  Something to keep in mind is that we who would be Masters must discipline ourselves before we can hope to teach discipline to another. If you would be a good Master, try to eliminate procrastination, and build your self discipline.

Carpe Diem my friends.. Now show some discipline, get going, get out there, and be someone’s great day!

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