Discipline and the Importance of Others Around Us

By | January 7, 2023

[January 7, 2023]  You need a routine.  All animals need routines.  If you have a dog, you already know that it likes to walk several times a day and eat a couple of times, all about the same time each day.  If they don’t get this, they will actually get sick.  And this is no trivial matter because we all need the discipline to establish and maintain a routine.

And, we need structure.  And we need predictability.  We need a routine that is predictable.  And we need more of it than you might think, just to keep us sane.  Plus, we need to stick to it.  You will be healthier, happier, and saner if you do that.

I think most psychologists have got this sanity issue mostly wrong.  They believe we are who we are and are mostly sane because we are autonomous, fully-functional humans with a well-organized conscious.  I believe we are sane because other people around us tolerate us for long periods and will immediately let us know whenever we do something stupid that will cause them to dislike us permanently if we continue.

What people are doing to each other all the time is broadcasting sanity signals back and forth.  You smile at people if they are behaving correctly and in such a way that you would like to see them continue to behave.  You frown at them if they’re not, you shun them, you ignore them, you roll your eyes at them, you make a face, you don’t listen to them, you interrupt them, you won’t cooperate with them, and you won’t compete with them.

You are blasting signals at other people about how to regulate their behavior so frequently that it makes up all of your social interaction.  That’s why we face each other, have emotional displays on our faces, and look at each other in the eyes.

Part of what we are doing as part of our disciplined routines is establishing ourselves as credible, reliable, trustworthy, and engaging human being who isn’t going to do anything too erratic at any moment.  In addition, everyone else around you pushes you into shape and ensures that’s exactly what you are.  That is the function of discipline, to keep you sane.

If people don’t have a routine and are socially isolated, they mentally drift because the world is too complex to organize all by oneself.  You cannot do it by yourself.  So, it is through the discipline that others bring to us that solves the problem of sanity.  And it’s essential that we “outsource” the sanity problem because that is the only way to have a vast number of brains figuring out the world, all simultaneously working on any given problem, all the time.

Discipline and the importance of others around us are crucial to our ability to survive.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Discipline and the Importance of Others Around Us

  1. Randy Goodman

    It cannot ever be overstated how true it is to have discipline in our lives. Self discipline is the most difficult. I know from personal experience. It is the driver of success and a good life.

    1. Mr. Savage

      Randy, you got that right. And also why I read this leadership blog. If you want to do more with self-discipline, there are hundreds of books and articles to read and gain insights into it. But I believe, IMHO, that Gen. Satterfield’s book, “55 Rules for a Good Life” is the best one to gain the most insight into making your life better.

  2. Armywife

    And part of my routine is reading the General’s blog each day. I also read all the comments. Great way to start my day. I also bought both of the General’s books. I love the way he writes. Simple, direct and so meaningful and relevant.

      1. Ron C.

        Me too folks, and I hope to add to this leader forum. I’m a big fan of all who write here and help to understand some of these concepts.

    1. Liz at Home

      Same here. Doc, thanks. You beat me to this comment. I’d like to also say that not only do I enjoy this leadership website, but I like the forums here too. It can give me a chance to safely run an idea by this group and get immediate, valuable feedback. That is, I think, what Gen. Satterfield is also doing. Much of what he wrote in “55 Rules for a Good Life” was already in this blog and noted the comments. That says something about him. Being humble.

      1. ZB Two Two

        Great observations Liz. Now, my issue is how to integrate all this info into my being. Time will tell if I’m getting better.

  3. Jeff Blackwater

    You need routines. You need discipline to create and maintain routines. That is the way of all animals and esp. humans. There are, of course, exceptions. But this allows us to keep one foot in a stable place in our lives, allowing us to put the other foot into the unexplored.

  4. Silly Man

    “….essential that we “outsource” the sanity problem because that is the only way to have a vast number of brains figuring out the world, all simultaneously working on any given problem, all the time.” Very perceptive comment.

      1. Jo Ponte

        Yep, got that right, Silly Man and Otto. Interesting way of viewing it but accurate. Thanks guys.

  5. Janna Faulkner

    Don’t ya just love this website. I’ve been a regular reader now for at least a year and I come back just about every day. This article on discipline is the kind I’d like to see more of. Please give us more on “discipline.” Thanks

  6. Purse

    We all have different ideas on how we maintain our sanity and Gen. Satterfield gives us a view that has merit. All the better we discuss it and contrast these views. Not enough space here but the debate continues and Gen. S. is taking a new approach that is gaining more and more people to its side.

  7. Adolf Menschner

    “Psychologist got it wrong.” Wow, stepping out there a little bit aren’t we Gen. S.?

      1. Desert Cactus

        Having an alternative view is extremely valuable even if it is wrong. That is why the scientific approach gives us such a leg up on other methods of inquiry. The problem, IMO, is that the scientific approach is subject to corruption by those with social or personal agendas they hide from us.

  8. Max Foster

    I noticed that this leadership blog, written almost exclusively by Gen. Doug Satterfield has evolved into a very practical place to go and get great info and advice on how to better ourselves and improve our leadership skills. Now that Gen. Satterfield has two books out, “Our Longest Year in Iraq” and “55 Rules for a Good Life” we are all better off now. His books also gives us a chance to support him. So, get a copy of one or both his books and leave a review on Amazon. You will be doing him and others a huge favor.

    1. rjsmithers

      Nothing like a little humility here to be able to put ego aside and read something that might just challenge our understanding of how we operate.


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