We do well within a structure. Right now the libertarian in you will be shouting me down. I am all for live and let live but if you are in pursuit of a career, there’s no way around it. Structure tames your wild side. It tames it so that you can be productive when you need to be and let loose when it’s time to do so.
We have an official routine hammered into us right when we start kindergarten, school, university and eventually work. From the micro-level morning routine to larger societal structures set into place. I guess it explains why when we find ourselves unemployed for longer periods of time it gets frustrating – we need a set structure to give us drive. The need for it is instilled in you from a young age. When your mum made you take those pesky violin lessons you never wanted. You did it because you just saw it as another chore – just as much as school was – no way to opt out. Then suddenly you grow up and it’s all up to you and you find it hard to discipline yourself. Freedom has a way of taking you aback.
Freedom isn’t the antithesis of structure
A structure is so closely connected to maturity and adulting that it loses much of its shine. It is likely lost on high school students if you attempt to lecture them on it. Hence, we don’t explain why they have to be in the classroom by half 8, we just make sure they are. It’s only when you lose it, soon followed by the initial exhilaration of waking up whenever you damn well please for extended periods of time that you may find yourself slipping.
A ‘late’ start used to be 10am. Now it’s 12. Work provides you a structure and you’ll abide by it for the simple reason that if you don’t there are consequences. Real-life, hard-hitting consequences that surround your survival and future.
No one likes a 9am. Everyone loves the snooze button that is until you snoozed one too many times and are rushing.
Structure through work
I am a freelancer, I work intensely for a few months, put in the overtime when needed and between every role, I can afford myself a long ass chilling period. It’s a great choice for someone who is happy to work hard, doesn’t mind the ever-changing environments, projects, brands, and faces, new beginnings and sees more value with the broad range of experiences it allows you access to in a shorter amount of time. I exercise my discipline a week into my chilling session after completely hermitting out, I start getting back on it. Sports is a great way to introduce it. A run first thing in the morning means you’ll have to wake up early enough for you not to get hungry while exercising – it gives you a time. Everything else follows more smoothly.
It’s different from the entrepreneur, however. The entrepreneur will have to develop some serious self-discipline to further their goal. There’s never a real ‘chilling period’ because both dimensions of work and leisure time are fused. Freelancers, on the other hand, most commonly work to deadlines and often work on-site under a person in charge. Entrepreneurs will work at home, for themselves, by themselves and everything is technically a choice, relative and negotiable to you. If you have self-discipline, however, you won’t see it as a choice. You take your self-made man hours just as strictly as you would working for the man or even more so.
You need to overcome your initial lazy ‘sleepy, bed haired and morning breathed’ attitude when you hear your alarm ring. Yes, you can work whenever you want, but you should want to come in early or at the very least, be able to force yourself to. Entrepreneurship is just not for the simple-hearted. The willingness to work hard for years on end, with no guarantees and implementing strict discipline for God knows how long is a must.
Meanwhile, 9-5 job guarantees you pay by the end of the week. If a boss and a contract is theo only way you’ll work those regular hours, becoming a business owner will be a challenge. A structure is a thing that allows you to reach new heights and will be your guide all the way through. This is true, whether that structure is externally given to you by contract or drawn out and implemented by your very own self.
It’s not too far from the you on the 1st of January, stuffed with health-based New Year’s resolutions. Finding that ordering the salad as opposed to the fish and chips is harder than you initially thought. But what choice do you ultimately tap into? Struggling isn’t the issue, it is simply part of the process. The final decision you make day in day out is. The result is.
Discipline. What will you have – chips or salad?