#SMALLTALK ep2 – Living a life of freedom through discipline (CC for subtitiles)


Ezekiel is one of the senior leaders in
Mindvalley so I’ve had a lot of experience working with Ezekiel, but on a
personal side um he is a good friend and the reason why I wanted us to talk to
him today in this episode is because he is a person who really embodies discipline
and I know that the word discipline is thrown around a lot right because he’s got this
whole entire different concept about what discipline really is and and I
really want him to break it down for us in this episode. Thank you for joining us today I’m so
happy that we finally got you onto the show and the reason why I wanted you
here is because I mean for my years of knowing you, you are a person who embodies discipline in every area of your life and I would really like you to help us
understand that a little bit better, how does discipline permeate every aspect
of your life. Discipline is something that is rigid, highly restrictive and kinda has a negative connotation.. I mean honestly when I think of discipline it has like a restrictive sense…
yeah & I think for me, the reason why …looking in hindsight, looking at it, I
see discipline as like a tool.. if you if you if you look at the meaning of the
word discipline you’re basically talking about doing the right thing at the right
time. That’s true…and doing the right thing at the right time can sometimes be
as simple as like are you eating at the right time, are you eating when you’re
hungry, are you sleeping when you need to sleep,
are you spending time with people that you care about enough because it matters to
you, so when you think about it that way you would say that, I would I would argue
to say that discipline is a tool that I use, so that I can get freedom, and
freedom defined as living the life that I want. A lot of people tell me how I can
have more discipline in my life so that I can do more things so, like they want
that next hobby, they want the next promotion, they want to make time to like
pursue this new hobby or they wanna make time for xx certain people, a second job,
whatever Discipline is not what you want, like we should first look into the idea of like
instead of doing more, how can we do less so that it’s easier for you to do. I mean I’m a very strong proponent of the idea that willpower is limited in the day-to-day, your energy is limited on a day-to-day basis so you can only expend
so much of it on on things. The question really is not about doing more and being disciplined…. it’s the question of, what are the things that you really want to be doing &
which ones can go It still is discipline but like discipline doing
the right things for you. Okay the question is what is for you in the
first place and that is something that most people don’t want to talk about. So discipline is a
tool…yeah discipline is just a tool for me, I mean when you look at
discipline really, you’re looking at okay …I’m exercising
discipline so that I can live within the realms of what feeds who I am as a
person. Certain things that I want for my health, for my relationships or some
goals that really matter to me and I create a certain set of like I don’t say
rules but more like this are the habits
that I have everyday that contribute to that ideal future that I want for myself,
so that I don’t end up in the worst case future that I don’t want to have. So
when it comes to a situation like that, the only thing that needs to happen is
like do you have like….some sort of parameter or box of framework of
what list of habits that you have that can get you there and that’s where the
realm of discipline kind of falls into the picture because if your reasons are
strong enough and you have also the strong reasons why you don’t want to
fail in those habits in the first place because you know the consequences, then
suddenly being discipline is not a very difficult thing.
That’s so interesting because there’s a lot of people who always revert to a lack of
discipline to them not achieving a certain lifestyle or certain goal yeah
but then now you’re saying that discipline is just a tool
yeah and in the first place you need to know what you really want, based on who you are and then….. use discipline as a tool to get you there; but discipline is
not the aspiration yeah yeah it’s not which is why like I think we think
discipline is a tool to be truly free and live a truly free life and because
free for me like the definition of that is you are living the way you want to, in
the way that is most aligned to who you are and deep down inside you feel inner
peace with that. Sure some of the choices that you make
in life or things that you undergo ….I don’t know I I choose to
engage in extremely strenuous strenuous, stressful, highly physical activities
like jiu-jitsu and martial arts and it sucks honestly most of the time. Yea you know he would come in to work, with like bruises on his eyes, bandages on his arms…well yea it is hardcore right BJJ but the thing is, when you
look at it…like it’s an easy decision to keep going because it’s aligned to what
you want. So in some way you can say that you you choose the crap that you choose
to eat every single day but at least you chose that. yeah..
…that’s freedom So I see you right, you have a very clear vision of what you want to be in like 30-40 years, i don’t know or however long you would live …but i think a lot of us may not
have that long sighted vision right I think for me..i’m quite a short
term planner and I kinda live in the present which you know there’s pros and
cons to it right. How do you, how do you get there? That 30/40 years projection. Do you even have like a super clear vision?…..For me it’s like wow, it’s so much clarity right… ….well truth is I don’t know…I don’t have a 40/50 years vision okay. What I have is a picture of how I
want to be living every single day, so it’s how you want to be living every
single day. So I’m more focused on, my ideal state is my ideal
present. How do I want my day today to be? I want every day to be focused on
improving my mind, body and spirit all together; hence you’ll see me in martial
arts, practice spirituality I wanna be intellectually stimulated
because I enjoy that, which is why like I’m talking to you guys right now about this
stuff *Intellectual stimulation*….. I like it because I’m a highly abstract persona, I like
talking about ideas and and I enjoy eating good food and I like the fact
that I have the privilege to be able to eat good food each day I’m doing that
right now and maybe that I’ll improve in quality as years go by but it doesn’t
really change So you’re saying don’t start from there,
but start from doing small things everyday.. yeah exactly because what you’re doing
is – the goal is what is my ideal present everyday and how I can I be
doing and being more of that every single day, & it starts with something
small yeah… & this all boils down to the habits yes that you have every single
day right and you have obviously cultivated the habits
that are aligned to what you want, aligning to your goals…right….that
requires a lot of disciplne. yeah I mean you wouldn’t just go out for Friday night
drinks would you? Not really. I’m very likely to go for Friday breakfast rather than
Friday drinks.. first place because I know I need to wake up early the next
day because I’m training the next date so in talking about that box idea
is that yeah like when we refer to the box that’s that’s a list of values,
belief systems and also the habits that reinforce those in the first place so in
the same way everything in in my life is basically like okay does it fit the box
or does it not fit the box and then when you think about because I know that if I
violate the box it brings me closer to my worst case future which I which I’m
very clear about as well so that’s ……… I don’t necessarily exercise a lot of willpower on a day-to-day basis to keep
my box afloat because if I have enough reasons to not break it
but then that begs the question like ……isn’t that super rigid. Yea, because i’m just thinking right now….having that box right meaning you you have like a very clear
parameter yeah of where you want to play in this sand box, but that’s super
idealistic as well right….you’re assuming that other external factors
wouldn’t change yeah and also you’re assuming that everybody who’s listening
to this would know who they are a 100%. ….of course not, I mean that’s that’s
because people change, people change people grow. like we we learn new things
and then and crisis happens situations….for example like I
was…. in starting point ground zero of self-identity like I knew okay
this is…I’ve profiled myself 4-5 years ago and now I’ve built my habits
based on that but also there are certain parts of who I was that I wanted to
overcome and change because now I can first you need to know something and then you accept who you are and then you can change who you are. So the box is
suppose to change, as you change, as you evolve as a person and then the
problem is is to make sure that you are constantly re-evaluating that box…and that’s that’s the key right because I think a lot of times as
well is that some people might have this box and then they just leave it as that
yeah and then they go like, this is what I want yeah it’s just me and I’m never gonna compromise
and so when crisis happens that’s when they break down because they don’t know
how to change the box but the boss is meant to be updated all the time, & i think that’s the difference between having like for somebody who is versatile that way
and somebody who needs constant control right (control & rigidness). …and then once the box is dented or
something….I think it boils down to the choices that you make and you gotta be
okay with the choice that you make if you make choices that are aligned with
the box even though….say an opportunity comes and it’s great……. a new business opportunity or maybe a new job or
whatever new potential partner, date yeah but as you reevaluate it it looks
good but it doesn’t necessarily fit so well in your box right then it’s just a
choice that you have to make so it’s not so much controlled because you can’t
control where the things that come into your lives….you can get
metaphysical about that & say like I I attract things in my life but you
still have to make a choice at the end of the day and the box just helps you
make choices that are more aligned to who you are. From a layman point of view, from the outside, it can seem that your life is very rigid,
I may be wrong…do you have fun I mean like….what do you do for fun? …you know because you’re so disciplined….
here’s the thing like when we talk about the definition of discipline right,
you’re talking about, doing the right thing at the right time and when you mean by the
right thing at the right time means things that feed your soul that includes
fun and I think the the common misconception when it comes to like
highly disciplined…one of the things that could really frustrate me is when I
see specifically young people who come up to me and say like oh let me tell you
about my four or five-hour morning routine and how I do that five six seven
days a week and in my mind I’m like oh my god I would never do that because
it’s so soul-crushing for me I I schedule my time, I schedule my fun time because every Sunday is like no go like don’t I don’t plan anything I
wake up on a Sunday and I act like a cat what do I feel like doing today because
I need that every now and then I need that spontaneity to just explore, do whatever and recharge, recharge as well and
enjoying that day that’s it’s planned that that day is completely unstructured it’s funny right it’s planned that this is
the day when I’m super unstructured… and the reason why I do
that is because I know that if I don’t schedule that in it won’t happen yes I
do need spontaneity and I want like in my nature as a person I need some space
to have that feeling of I just can do whatever I want
because that makes me feel good about myself and I need time to do that and if
I don’t make time to do that I know that everything else that I have is going to
eat into that time. But this spontaneity is still within your box yeah….there is a space here for like extreme randomness and that for you is fun and it can come in variety of
forms like specifically for me for being concrete number one is Sundays it’s like
explore food day for me like I’m in Malaysia come on explore food and then
the other thing that I enjoy doing as well on my own is literally going into
my own space listening to music that makes me feel full range of emotions from
like sadness, excitement you listen to like a Lord of the Rings – charge music
and we just do that for like an hour or two just because I like doing. Its just
like changing emotional states but technically you’re not doing anything
yeah and people would say like yeah you’re just sitting there and you’re
listening to music and you’re feeling full range of emotions and isn’t that
useless and unproductive maybe to you it’s unproductive but for me it’s very
important to my well-being based on who I am as a person. because you have to make space for
simple things like play, yeah you have to make time to rest and there are
times when you really and I think a lot of people forget that, that they need to
rest because if you don’t rest then you have no energy and that’s the other
thing…… sometimes it means slowing down because your box is there
and sometimes it requires time to like really look at yourself and you say hey
does this still even make sense for me in the first place what have I learned
in the past like three four months and does this box need updating and whenever
you update things and you change things in your life there’s that awkward
transition transition period where you’re like I’m not sure if it fits
there and things will slow down but that’s ok… you’re slowing down so that you can
speed up in the long run…. so ya that’s my take on it. So there needs to be discipline in resting, in doing nothing & that’s okay, that’s
absolutely okay whoever said that you have to go a 120-30
kilometers per hour all the time yeah maybe for you it’s 80 kilometers per
hour and you’re comfortable with that and then I know people who driving the
highway and they have to go 200, I’m not one of them. Different strokes for
different folks and the challenge is really to stop looking at other people
and do what makes sense for you. I like your example of the highway.
Yeah I think that’s so interesting in everything that you’ve unpackaged for us
in terms of discipline and how identity formation is a big part of where discipline… people have to remember that discipline is a
tool like many other things, you use it for something if you use it for the
wrong reasons or for no reason because a lot of people aspire to have more
discipline like that is the end goal yeah but for what and for people who don’t know what they
are yet or they’re in the process of doing it start with something start with
start with a habit that you genuinely enjoy doing irregardless of what other people think and you protect that habit and see over
time you will keep adding on to it and… Kiel, thanks for joining us today
at #SMALLTALK, I think Michelle and I have gotten so much out of this…. discipline is not just a word for me anymore there’s so much more, so much deeper meaning into it and it is not just discipline as the end goal yeah
at the same time you don’t see it as such a heavy word anymore, it’s a tool
yeah and I love how you have unpackage what this
thing really is to you, so thank you for joining us today….thank you guys for having me. [email protected]

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