In May, when I was still in school, one of my professors required us students to take something called a CliftonStrengths assessment. It basically determines your top five strengths and can be used to find out what you can do better than other people and what your talents are and yadda yadda yadda.
After taking the test online, the website spit back my top five strengths, in order of their relevance to me. In other words, the first strength listed is my “top” or most prominent strength. My top strength is discipline. At the time, this strength totally surprised me.
I’m not disciplined. I mean, I’m not disciplined… right? I’ve always been one of the laziest people that I know. I usually struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I can binge eat a whole bag of potato chips. I can waste hours doing absolutely nothing on my phone. I take unnecessarily long showers. I’ve spent a good majority of my free time in the past few weeks to rewatching the Malcolm in the Middle series, when I could be doing things that are much more productive, such as reading a book or perfecting this website code.
So I didn’t understand why this test told me that my most prominent strength was discipline. When I think of a disciplined person, I think of someone in the army, or someone completely jacked with tons of muscle and little body fat, someone who works three jobs and does them well and then still has time to sleep and read and eat.
But I’ve been thinking that maybe discipline is more than just a solider or a bodybuilder or an overworked employee. Maybe I don’t display discipline in every aspect of my life, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not disciplined at all, does it? I spent the last four years of my life in school. Even though college gave me enough anxiety to make my hair fall out, my acne flare up, and my body to basically become allergic to my own stress (that’s a blog for another day), I graduated college with a 4.0 GPA. I wanted to finish school, and finish it well, and I showed enough discipline to do so. And today, I’m no longer in school, but I’m still showing discipline in other ways. I’ve never called in sick to work or showed up late to my shifts and I claim to do a pretty good job at my job. And since July, I’ve been devoted to weightlifting in the gym and eating a lot of protein and nutritious food and sure, there’s days when I am more devoted and disciplined to my routine than others, but I’ve been consistent and determined and I’ve been giving it my all.
Maybe I don’t display discipline in every single part of my life, but I’m disciplined in the things that matter, the things that I care about. And that means a lot. That means that whenever I want to do something – if I want to get a degree or get fit or get a successful career – I’ll show enough discipline to do it well.