Monday, February 25, 2013

Forced Discipline and Regimen Month

Most of you know the story, but if you don't I'll give you the very brief version.

My single largest achievement in my life, still to this day is college.  Specifically I:
  • financed and paid for EVERYTHING (tuition, books, gas, housing, food, insurance, etc.)  EVERYTHING
  • I worked full time
  • I went to school slightly higher than full time (usually taking an extra class over a full credit load)
  • graduated 6 months early (and my last semester had only 2 classes)
  • with $6,000 cash in the bank
  • no debt
  • and a 3.96 GPA (lousy Marketing class and their "A-'s")
To achieve this it required a very young, 18 year old Captain to exercise an EXTREME amount of self-control and discipline.  Every minute was scheduled in my day and I was literally coming into class with 2 minutes to spare at times, eating bagels as I was walking from my apartment to work, every single second of the day was utilized and consumed.  Above all else, this was self-inflicted.


Capable of a monstrous amount of work, production, and dedication, it would take me 7 years to realize there was no employer in the US that would use me to my full potential.  Everybody wanted to go home when the clock struck 5PM, no middle aged boss would entrust a 22 year old (no matter what his CV said) with any kind of responsibility or challenge, and so, at most, I operated at about 40% my full capacity, though usually I would say averaging around 15-20%.  This caused a certainly level of dismay and depression in that no matter how much I could or wanted to work, the limiting factor in my career would be the limitations of employers.  My success was outside my control.  I would not become that corporate executive at 30 with a house paid off and a nice car.  I would jump from job to job scaring the hell out of every employer and HR director.

The situation worsened with two additional events - the housing crash and the two elections of Barack Obama.  The housing bubble showed me just how corrupt and dysfunctional the finance, and in general, corporate/employment world is.  Ass kissing, brown nosing, rent seeking, networking and lobbying is how you get ahead, not hard work and innovating thinking.  Something I just plain couldn't stomach.  However, even if you were to hold your nose and engage the art of ass kissing, it would be pointless in that it became very apparent with the elections of Obama any amount of production and work (whether of the ass-kissing or ass-kicking variety) would simply be confiscated. 

I was enraged, gave up on my dreams, accepted reality, stopped feeling sorry for myself, replaced them with new ones, and now am enjoying the decline.

However, there is one regret I have - a lack or decrease in discipline, self-control and regimen.

Over the years of operating at a fraction of my 22 year old self's potential, I've had neither the incentive or reason to "give it my all."  This has resulted in a slacking off in my personal estimation, knowing I am not achieving all that I could.  Yes, admitted, there has been no opportunity to "achieve all that I could," but where idleness exists, other things creep in.

For example, while used to being engaged the second I woke up to the second I went to bed, my brain needed something to fill the down time after college.  Working out and running only covers so much, but soon, with the demise of the finance industry, the country in general, not to mention your college buddies all get married and have children, alcohol now plays a large role in my life. When the chores are done, the book sales are tabulated and the budget confirmed, it's off to the bar because it will knock my brain out until my friends come home.

Another example is teh interwebz.  While this one is a good thing (who knew blogging, a podcast and a youtube channel was a way to make money), checking e-mail, approving comments, and spending 3-4 hours a day on the internet is just not good in the long run. 

And video games?  Love them!  But I get that sick feeling in my stomach that you normally got as a kid watching too much daytime TV when you faked being sick so you could stay at home and not go to school.  And heck, I don't even play them that much. 

What it is, is something I believe most industrious men of our generation face - a lack of purpose and a lack of challenge.  And it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Not that we have been sitting here, saying "woe is me."  Nor have we just been asking people "what do we do???" as there is no shortage of self-improvement and life-guidance on The Manosphere.  But industrious, adventuresome and capable as we are, we men (and women too) need to fully realize our potential, and COMMIT to doing so, not merely get by.  And while we may not wish to return to our 100% full-throttle selves ALL THE TIME, I believe revisiting such a regimen in life would be useful, helpful and healthy. 

Therefore I am declaring this "Forced Discipline and Regimen Month."  I am going to go back to my 22 year old self-capacity and operate at that level.  Even though there is no day time job, I am going to:

work out everyday (running one day, weights the other)
abide STRICTLY by the no carb diet no matter how hard it is to find food without carbs
not consume alcohol
work on every project that needs to be done, putting off and procrastinating nothing
work from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed
schedule work/projects to ensure there is no shortage of work and time is efficiently used

To bring the element of "Forced" discipline I am also posting this picture here, not out of arrogance or ego, but for all to judge and ensure I abide.  If there is no improvement in a month you will mock, ridicule, and deride me...just like you schmoes do anyway.


















Everybody else is welcome to participate in "Forced Discipline and Regimen Month."  By the end of late March I believe people will be not only physically improved, but mentally improved as well.  If you are so bold and wish to "force" yourself to do it, the ole Captain will post your pre-FDRM pic here.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

perhaps i will join you in this month of discipline and regimentation.

good luck
paul

Matt said...

Do some home improvement projects. Maybe spackle and paint that wall behind you for starters! Seriously, I was basically a straight-a student in college, in a STEM field, did the same thing like you and got out debt free (never operated at full capacity until my Physics 2 class, and even then it was the first and only time i studied at the library), and I've found that fixing things around the house engage my mind and talents more than anything else. Re-wire something. Take apart that appliance that isn't working and figure out what's wrong. All kinds of helpful hints on the Internet. Just got done fixing a wiring problem in my fridge this morning. Money in the bank.

Or you could adopt a kid. Then tend to require full attention and capacity if you're doing it right.

I'll commit to drinking a little scotch before bedtime. For my dental health, of course.

Cogitans Iuvenis said...

"Do some home improvement projects. Maybe spackle and paint that wall behind you for starters!"

That's a good idea. Have you ever considered learning a hands on trade like wood working, smithing, or something like that?

As for home improvements. My dad grew up in rural Idaho and what amazes me is that his favorite activity during the weekend is to do manual labor. One month he and I tore out all the lawn, tilled the land, and then resodded it ourselves.

It's kind of funny considering he left his rural town for the big city with the aims of becoming wealthy, which he did do, but he still opts to do a lot of the home improvement work his self. I once asked him why he didn't hire someone out, and he said he liked to do manual work himself because it was one of the few activities were he could turn his brain off.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Capt'n!

I am doing the same myself this month (Just did my first crossfit class this morning).

Bon chance.

BC Monkey said...

For the no-carb, consider that anything you can do with a pizza, you can do with an omlette, just replacing the bread/crust with eggs.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yidmzuJcov8

Guys over 50 look better than you, pal. Get pumping. You're also at a point where a little steroid assistance isn't going to turn you into a young crazy roid monkey, but actually help you out. Enjoy the decline. :P

Green Steelhead said...

Ha ha! Matt knows his stuff too. He was just working on a little home improvement project. Can't keep food on the table if the fridge isn't working.

Ah, Matt, you realize he is not going to be adopting or having kids any time soon, right?

I started out the year on fire with working out and whatnot, and I lost 12 pounds. Helps when some chick compares you to the "white Celo Green" in your bday pics on FB. Nothing gets me more pissed off than being compared to HIM. I had two tough weeks after being sick and working a ton of hours last week, so I am back on the wagon and working out. Got to shed some pounds this year.

Drink a little scotch or a little wine. Yep, I agree, Matt. Good for the soul.

Anonymous said...

Go start another business that is labor intensive that creates value. Your day will be full. I am counting on you to pay for SS and Medicare in my Babyboomer retirement.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea. My professional experience mirrors yours WRT lack of opportunity, although I'm still working (at 51), and getting less and less willing to put up with BS at work. It's time to get off the merry-go-round.

Plus, it's Lent, always a good time for some self discipline...

Sebastos Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastos Robert said...

Personally, I like this whole idea of a Spartan existence, but I never really understood what people mean with "discipline" and "self-control" with regards to way of life. Moreover I fear that they omit to look into that, with the risk of ending up with words dictating their actions.

Self-control is a pretty flexible concept, but I think we mostly see it as morality ruling our lives instead of pleasure or urges. With that in mind, self-control is more of an effect, a state of victory which you stride for, than it is a choice.

Discipline is creating a strict and stubborn code of conduct, and punishing yourself to keep from ""misbehaving"". With discipline you just end up delaying pleasure. It's quite an animalistic approach. I tried to impose that on myself before. Didn't feel like a human being (neither do our violated children by the way). If you really like self-discipline, I suggest you acknowledge what it really means.

And you don't have to look miserable as you do in that photo, and I say you will remain miserable if you go with discipline and self-control and sacrifice your free will. If you impose an Authoritatian regime on your soul, you will kill it. That kind of manosphere/CONSERVATIVE mindset makes people arid in my humble opinion.

kurt9 said...

Captain,

You ought to write another book. This book being about the rise and fall of the bubbles (the tech/equities bubble of late 90's and housing bubble of early to mid oughts) and the corrupt dealings that drove them.

The early 90's was the last corrective recession (in Austrian terms) and I honestly thought we would move to a decentralized economy based mostly on small to medium sized companies. At that time, like today, many of the Fortune 500 were in financial trouble and it seemed as many of them would go away. The internet emerged in the mid 90's and I expected this would further fuel the economic renaissance based on small to medium sized companies.

Unfortunately, this rosy expected scenario did not happen. Clinton was the force that got the Democrats to merge the interests of big government with big business (along with the shenanigans of Greenspan) that lead to the corrupt bubble economies we have experienced.

Greenspan got the BLM to redefine inflation 3 times during the 90's so as to understate it and, thus, allow for the huge credit bubble that saved corporate America from its well-deserved extinction it was facing during the early 90's.

Today's situation feels very similar to that of the early 90's with the following two exceptions. One, the leadership of both the federal government and large corporations are totally corrupt. Two, the Federal Reserve is no longer able to pursuit an expansionary monetary policy any longer.

The correction we were supposed to have in the early to mid 90's is what we are experiencing today, despite the best efforts of the administration, liberal-left, and corporate America to prevent it from happening. This means the necessary correction will be far longer and more painful that it otherwise would be.

There is considerable research needed to write this kind of book, mostly in the financial statistics starting around 1991.

Redneck Joe said...

You will probably like the effects of being alcohol free after a few weeks. I was forced to quit 2 years ago at age 41 after an attack of pancreatitis. It was long overdue and one of the best things that happened to me in the long run.

max said...

I'm with you Captain. It's a matter of survival :)

James said...

That's the kind of disciplined I wish I was. I waste so much time. So many hours each week are wasted and it makes me feel like I'm not even at 25% of my potential.

How did you do that as an 18 year old?

Leap of a Beta said...

Man, this post encapsulates why I get tempted by the thoughts of going back to grad school besides the pros/cons I've weighed out. Returning to a system that would use all my potential for 3 years is damn appealing.

I may join you on this. I've already cut down on my video games and drinking, could use a reason to cut down more.

Shmoe said...

Bravo!
Your article is one of the most honest things I have read in a great while. Inspiring and convicting -

Forza!

Anonymous said...

I am in!
But I am a lady, so I will not show my before photo. Because I can't take honest criticism and will whine like a baby...and anything I would post online would definitely be photoshopped anyway. ;-)

The Conservative Sociologist said...

I find myself in this state you've described- as far as desperately wanting to be productive and successful, but the culturally-accepted means are not readily available or properly maximizing my ability/energy. And you are right- it can make you feel unmotivated in the long run.

I'll join you via my own little forced discipline project.

Anonymous said...

Spot on and well-said about corporate-worldly dysfunction like ass kissing over hard work, etc.

I think it's a trap to blame others for one's own slacking. A person's reaction to the injustices of the world is his own choice and responsibility.

Others' foibles are train wrecks outside of one's control. Better to choose not to give them metaphysical power over oneself. Instead, treat them as rocks on the path, obstacles to avoid or better yet judo-esque slingshot around toward achieving one's own goals.

Rather than get so outraged at the grossness that a person shuts down his most productive self, better to acknowledge these disincentives and irrationalities and refocus on internal incentives to productivity and achievement. Internal motives are what should fundamentally move a man anyway, regardless of environment.

Purpose and industry are personal values to hold dear and practice for one's own sake in almost any setting no matter how toxic. Better yet, worldly success can put a person in a position to fight the toxicity and make a difference toward meaningful change in the world. Now there's a motivating objective.

taterearl said...

It's a noble thing to adhere to discipline...but I can't make fun of your picture. You live in America, even looking like that you are probably in better shape than 60-70% of most Americans. That's more of how much we all need discipline.

But I am expecting the after picture to be a tanned, roided up verson of Cappy like all the other ones I see in health magazines.

'Reality' Doug said...

Hmm. Laudable, but forcing yourself suggests beating yourself up, an incongruence. The elite oligarchy controls the societal boundary conditions to crush rivals in a sea of idiots churning to outperform aggregate averages. Point is, elites don't want your mental or political contributions and there is no political outlet otherwise than to displace those who impose the boundary conditions.

I have been thinking that the idea of 'your potential' or mine is an illusion of hope and fear. That even our very lives are not our own, whether they are claimed by replicating molecules or the oligarchy that always rides Western civilization into the ground.

I have been thinking in terms of guerrilla social tactics. To be light, mobile, live in the moment Machiavellian style, farm for new relations of immediate advantage using and internalizing game. Diets don't work because they are not lifestyle changes. I like to lean into a better me and give my biochemistry time to alter. If this forced utilization is more of a spiritual test and exploration like fasting, then I think you can get something out of it. Perhaps doubts are creeping in because vindication of your opinion on the canvas of reality might not be any time soon, or even your lifetime. Beyond your control, I think from the moment you were born. Still, you know what you know. You are inside the machine with useful idiots. I say use them and climb the mash pile as high as possible. Let the machine grind to a halt on others before you. Work out the dark triad muscles on anyone except those you would actually want to be fellow citizens with.

That's the though I've had lately. If I can find a job and have socializing money, I will mine for further opportunities. I am working on my body too. It's all good. Thinking all waking hours. I can never shut it off at night, and the problem is ultimately unsolvable if you want to really reach your not actually yours potential. Guerrilla cannibalize now and hopefully systemize a productive environment later. If this is me rambling thoughtlessly, my apologies. I can't seem to think like everyone or even anyone else for very long.

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Steffen said...

Kudos on the decision to kick your own ass through self discipline.

For added mental rigor, you can decide which Great Books you should tackle next. I look forward to hearing about your results.

Dwight House said...

I decided to do this for my whole year. I made up a list of resolutions, posted them publicly, and immediately started working hard on them.

This year I plan to learn Parkour, Japanese, to draw characters and scenes, go paperless, and a few other things. Making good progress on all of them.

Next year I'm thinking about learning Quantum Mechanics "just because."

Anonymous said...

SQUATZ and OATZ
www.startingstrength.com

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be too hard to start looking buff considering your small stature as indicated by your large head. Sort of like chick magnets Stallone and Van Dam.

Anonymous said...

A couple of commments: the first is that I was and to a degree still am a driven person; but find cooking to be a satisfactory distraction. There is something about preparing a meal which makes you happy and even pleases another person. For me it wasn't much of a problem to learn to cook - I had a degree in chemistry, and chemistry laboratories have much in common with skilled cooking.

The other is that you should bloody well have paid more attention to your father and what he was preaching. You arrogantly and rather stupidly decided that he knew nothing that was of the slightest interest or use to you. Well, one thing he knew, was a fair slice of ancient history, centered of course on the Middle East but also including some of Rome and Greece. If you had paid attention, you wouldn't be surprised that the US is falling apart right now. I am not saying that "God wills it" (though that is my personal belief) but that countries, empires etc. do fall apart sooner or later.

It is certainly our misfortune that it is happening in our lifetimes; but fall apart it will.

coolstud said...

Getting back into fighting shape for mma fighting

Joe Bar said...

You are way behind, Grasshopper. I am 55. Last month I stood on the the scale and said "Enough!"

No on thinks I am fat, but I know I needed to drop weight. I am down 20 lbs with 15 more to go.

The low carb diet is not bad, and I will stay with it. You know you can, too.

Good luck.

Doug said...

DIY is a natural ideological ally of capitalism. Heinlein was right, people should be able to do anything. Remember, self-sufficiency is the prerequisite of overproduction, which enables business and trade. The person who cannot do anything but his specialization can be suckered into paying $400 for what only costs $50 and a few youtube videos worth of learning plumbing. The DIY movement is a definite ally to this ideology, having just bought a house, I can see it so clearly. Who needs plumbers, electricians, drywallers, painters, etc? You can do it all yourself and save $25-100/hr or more. Getting paid for educating yourself with permanent, useful life skills. When you know how things are put together, when you know how to fix things... nothing intimidates you, no disaster is catastrophic, for you have in your mind and body the means of restoring all back to new, or even better.

T and A man said...

Well i thought it would be obvious. Your field still isn't STEM.

Khan Academy + MIT lectures, 4 hours a day. Become an electrical engineer.

The only thing at the end is not having a peer viewed/accepted piece of parchment, and you don't need that as you're well aware. The knowledge will suffice.

Then invent shit.

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

You should go somewhere that has a TechShop (techshop.ws) and see what sorts of things you can stir up there.

I'm absolutely serious.

Nikoloz said...

Best of luck, Cap'n! I humbly suggest installing a pull-up bar in your home and knocking out a few reps each time you pass it :)

RM Odom said...

Bro, I don't know what the pic counts for if this is a month long engagement.

Forced discipline is that virtue I have partaken as well and even though I'm a kid, I can recognize that I have been too much of a prick to jump the gun and expect to have any habits stick.

I tell you what, I'm going to keep building my habits, but I'll get a picture of my skinny ass frame and when my shits balanced and I've got a blog, I'll link you and you're progress.

You've only got one life, why waste it living in weakness filled with bread and circuses.

Rumbear said...

That's Mister Schmoe to youse.

Get to it!

Anonymous said...

While you are repairing your body you might want to invest in some physiotherapy or something as well to figure out why that one shoulder is so much lower than the other. Could be a spine or hip problem. No use getting buff and still being twisted. Yoga is good to get back some core strength and flexibility plus the scenery is a great side benefit


UberrRich said...

I'm curious how well you succeed at eating no carbs. I've been on the paleo-diet and it's HARRRRD! in Theory it's possible in know, but you should share with us your frustrations and failures or successes. And your weight lifting regiment.

Senior Beta said...

Not that bad of a "before" pic, Cap'n. And you have more self discipline than 99% of the planet. Agree on the workouts; tried them myself. But ixnay on the no alcohol. Need a beer or 3 at the end of a day's grind.

Anonymous said...

"the limiting factor in my career would be the limitations of employers. "

Isn't capitalism and the private ownership of the means of production wonderful ?

Reluctant Paladin said...

"Manly March"?

I'm with you. The Reluctant Paladin ofcourse has a hard time self-actualizing (even though I know its the right course). My own regimen will not eschew alcohol however as I need to work on my rapport with my fellow man (and woman).

While I've had enormous luck focusing on my career the rest of my life has waned. When I'm not working I seem to have no purpose. A man who has lost his purpose is a sad sight to behold. Such wasted potential.

Self discipline is the anvil on which virtue is shaped.

Anonymous said...

Bro you'll be ripped in no time.

You've got enough natural muscle that it'll show once you drop some fat, and that'll happen soon enough.

Do some forearm exercises to get the veins popping there first. They'll work their way up in terms of visibility as time goes on.


Anonymous said...

I'm in...tipping point was last weekend's three day beer binge. I'm up 8-12 pounds since start of 2013 after having cut 35 in 2nd half of 2012. Weighed 193.8 w/ 22.2% body fat last night...must be back to upper 170's to low 180's and under 18% BF by the end of Manly March.

Anonymous said...

So far, so good...weight down to 187.4 w/ 20.5% body fat.

Eating well, only carbs are natual vegatables -broccoli, peppers, a big ol' salad. 2.5 & 2.3 miles on treadmill over last two days w/ sprints sprinkled into today's session.

No beer tonight, gonna get busy with the lady of the house & shoot for 7-8 hours sleep.

Anonymous 7:55 AM

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Anonymous said...

Hey Cappy,

You're not the only one out there that feels woefully underutilized due to the short sight of employers. I feel a lot of this is that "Don't trust anyone over 30" became inverted once the Boomers got past that milestone themselves. They are also so focused on themselves that they truly lack the insight to realize that they need to nurture their young to take over, that they can't be center stage all the time. Instead, with the massive deficit spending over the decades, it seems like our elders are intent on hobbling the future and sucking everything out of us before they die to ensure their lifestyle.

I don't really have a good answer on how to deal with that hollow feeling that comes from being de-incentivized and not functioning at 100% potential. Can't do the drinking thing though because that makes me feel too ill. I work now to travel, and to enjoy great food, to accumulate a great collection of books. A portfolio of fantastic memories and tending your internal intellectual garden are things the liberals can't take away from you. :-)

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