[February 14, 2020] Navy Commander Joe Gallagher was the kind of man that you would want to meet in a bar and have an entertaining, fun evening. He was smart, funny, and had that kind of personality everyone wanted to be around. But, Joe couldn’t control his alcohol consumption one-night last year and he assaulted a police officer. We all knew Joe and we also knew that he didn’t have the self-discipline to stop drinking. Drinking destroyed Joe’s military career and his family.
Discipline comes from within you. If you come from a family that practices discipline regularly, surprisingly, it matters little because it’s not contagious, and it’s not inherited. Discipline doesn’t come from an external source; it must come from inside you. For example, most of us have been around others from broken homes, tragic life circumstances, and every conceivable bad-luck situation and yet they are disciplined. We might be surprised by their discipline but they are as genuine as any other person.
What this means is that no one can blame anyone else for their lack of discipline. You cannot legitimately blame your parents or friends or even your school for any lack of control. A person must own it. A person must be capable of self-motivation. No one else can do provide you with the self-regulation, emotional restraint, and control necessary to be successful. Each person must make a personal decision and know that good discipline, especially in the beginning, is very hard.
I want to also stop the false argument that being in the military makes you a disciplined person. We all know someone who has gotten out of the U.S. military and have drifted back to their old habits of being undisciplined. They get fat, stop exercising their body and mind, and generally fail to take care of themselves. As a conscious individual, only by choosing to be disciplined can we become disciplined.
My best advice is for people to do those things they know they are supposed to do. Their consciousness is telling them what to do; they just need to listen to it and have the courage to step up and do it. Everyone should act like we are someone we should be taking care of and not do those things we know to be harmful, like abusing alcohol and drugs.
How do we start? Simple; get up early, exercise, eat good food, clean your room, tell the truth, and make a list of those things you know you should do and do it. The story about Joe doesn’t end with his less-than-honorable discharge from the Navy. He told me that getting kicked out of the Navy was the “best” thing that ever happened to him. It was his wake-up call. Joe has remarried with kids, a home, has a job as a civil engineer, and goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly.