Does discipline equal freedom?

Does discipline equal freedom?

does discipline equal freedom

You may be familiar with this common tagline or quote made popular by Jocko Willink and his outstanding book Extreme Ownership: How Navy Seals Lead and Win. Jocko says, “Discipline Equals Freedom.” (Aristotle said “through discipline comes freedom.) 

What does that mean?

To better understand one’s worldview and values a good coach will circle back and clarify their belief.

Words have meaning. In all conversations, it is helpful to clarify the meanings and the story we tell ourselves as it relates to a given context. This is not post-modern, deconstruct words, and create your own meaning dance. This is a simple approach to help clarify communication. 

For example, if I have was having a coaching conversation I would ask you:

What is discipline?

What is freedom? 

What makes this important to you right now?

If you are reading this you probably have a goal or desire that you want to pursue. Does that goal offer you a result towards freedom? Will that goal require discipline? Yes and yes.

It seems most everyone is pursuing freedom. In general, many of the freedoms that are being pursued are tied to external accomplishments; time, and financial freedom. 

Lasting freedom will only happen from the inside out. Freedom in your mind, body, and soul. 

And freedom from the inside out will require discipline as well. Consider what the author of Hebrews says; 

“Now all discipline seems to be painful at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.”

This is the number one reason people are not reaching their goals. 


People are not willing to endure any level of sacrifice or pain for a greater reward. 

What is it that you want right now? The next three years?

If you consider the GOATs, championship teams, and those that seem to consistently reach their goals they continue to make sacrifices and discipline their mind, body, and soul in pursuit of what’s next. 

The key to winning your current goal is going to be in the process of consistently showing up over a period of time. 

How to get on a path to discipline yourself toward freedom and your next goal?

  • Get uber clear on the vision of what you want. Weight loss, vacation, paying off debt, marathon race, daily reading, etc.
  • Remind yourself daily about who you are becoming in the process. 
  • Create time management or habit tracking to build daily small and consistent progress. 
  • Create a band of brothers, a circle of friends who will hold you up to higher standards of accountability. 

A quick reminder living life to the fullest now is worth every pursuit and vision downloaded upon your life. Becoming wholehearted in that pursuit from the inside out will help counteract the disappointment that happens when you reach your goal. 

There is a period of small depression and disappointment after people reach their goals. This is the difference between attaching the goal to your external identity versus your internal and eternal identity. 

The paradox is that discipline equals freedom. 

And your identity and wholeheartedness will be shaped into the person you are becoming. 

Discipline will bring about a character of transformation. 

How bad do you want the transformation?

What are you willing to sacrifice in that pursuit?

The transformation is worth the pursuit.