Today marks the 89th day of my self-imposed 90 day discipline.
Before 2010 came my homies and I made goals for health. Not so much resolutions, but goals we were aiming for. Mine was to go 90days with no alcohol or smoking, go from 155 to145lbs, have a 6-pack, and be able to do 10pull ups.
At this point I can do about 6 pulls ups, the six pack is pretty much there, and I’m actually at about the same weight (gotta do less weightlifting).
I didn’t quite make what I wanted, but I’m happy because I got through the hardest part for me: no alcohol.
People asked, did I learn anything from not drinking? I would say (partially joking), “I learned I can save a lot of money, and I learned that I really like to drink.”
But I also learned another serious lesson. The importance of discipline.
A few years ago I did something similar to this. I stopped drinking for a month or two to get in better shape for the capoeira class I was taking. By the end of it I felt my energy increase tremendously. I didn’t drink alcohol often at that point, just socially on weekends, but I cut all that out. Later on I found myself drinking whenever alcohol was around. If I went to a friend’s and some drank was there, I’d have some. If I was stressed I’d say “I need a drink.” and usually get one. If I was at a party, first thing I do is hit the bar.
This time around I didn’t have that option. It was hard the first 2 weeks to break into it but then I was fine. I didn’t have much to run to if I was stressed out. I either had to hit the gym or deal with it. I had never been to so many parties with open bars. There was like 3 of them in 2 weeks! That never happened before. About 2 weeks ago I was mad at a situation and I was real close to giving in. It would have been real easy to make an excuse for myself at that moment, but I knew I could do better.
When I told people I wasn’t drinking for 90days I got looked at in a funny way sometimes. A good amount of people asked if I was lenting. It seemed odd that a person would purposely not drink just because, I guess. There was a good amount of people who commended me, and plenty who said, “Wow, I sure couldn’t do that.”
I read a book a few years ago called The Way of the Superior Man : A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida. I recommend it, even for women. In one particular chapter he says that men often look for refuge in things that bring them comfort and don’t know how to deal with discomfort very well. The things men usually seek refuge in are: drugs, alcohol, and women. As he basically puts it, what does it say about you if you’re always running toward a crutch?
But being that this is a blog mainly about art stuff, I better bring it into a perspective here.
A week ago I was at a bar with friends, and I struck up a conversation with a guy named James Peterson. Turns out he and his wife are artists. We were talking about applying for grants for money to get artwork done , and he said something that really struck me:
It’s real interesting how you’re doing that 90 day thing. A lot of artists, when they see all the work they have to do, the requirements for filling out the grants, the paperwork and stuff, they don’t even start it. They see how much work it is and don’t even try. But you have to really go ahead and do it. The 90 day thing you’re doing, you made a promise to yourself and you’re keeping that promise. That’s really important.
Just about every art takes a lot of work and discipline. Practice and work needs to be put in, not only to be good, but to make your business moves.
Another quote I’ll never forget is a girl in college who was an exchange student from Vietnam. I asked her how she liked the U.S. so far. She said “I like it because there’s a lot of freedom.” Then she paused and said, “But you know, sometimes I think American’s almost have too much freedom. Like, so much they don’t know what to do with it, you know?”
I completely understood.
Discipline is humbling. It makes you realize some of your limitations. It’s easy to say “I’m free to do what I want.” But it’s also a testament of will to tell yourself “No, I’m not going to.” and follow through, or say “Yes, I will do this.”
Artists: Get to work!
P.S. Is Guru out the hospital yet?!