One day when I was serving in the Army in Korea I was on guard duty. On a rock. This was no ordinary rock. This was a two-hundred pound rock painted with our unit crest and proudly displayed on top of a hill in front of our barracks. This was a rock that a few rowdy drunk soldiers decided to roll down the hill the night before. To prevent future rock rolling, a guard roster was drafted. It was my shift.
My platoon sergeant approached my post and stopped to chat. He asked me, “Magary, why do you think the soldiers pushed our rock down the hill last night?” I responded, “because the Army does not teach discipline, Sergeant.”
The sergeant had been in the Army for nearly twenty years and was visibly upset by my answer. “What do you mean the Army doesn’t teach discipline?! Our soldiers are up at 0530 every day for physical training! Their uniforms are pressed, their boots are shined and they are never late. If that’s not discipline, then tell me what is, specialist!”
“Sergeant, how many of your soldiers are up at 0530 on their day off? They only get up that early out of fear of what will happen if they disobey an order. Soldiers are not disciplined, they are obedient.”
My response told me to go to the push-up position. I obediently complied.
Discipline is voluntarily enduring temporary discomfort for greater gain in the future. Discipline involves making a choice. Discipline is doing the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing, even when it is the difficult thing. Obedience is often a tool used to train the will. Will is an essential ingredient to the early stages of discipline. The later stages of discipline are effortless. The later stages of discipline are called habit.
Soldiers are not trained to think. Soldiers are trained to forego creativity and do nothing unless they are told to do it. Soldiers are obedient.
Warriors are curious. Warriors constantly challenge themselves and convention because they cultivate a healthy dissatisfaction by believing they can always be better. Warriors maintain practices that have helped them achieve their goals and discard practices that have proved ineffective. Warriors are disciplined.
Soldiers march. Warriors dance. Be a Warrior.