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Discipline

Post #1034 • August 15, 2007, 11:13 AM • 8 Comments

Jeff Atwood quoting Steve McConnell on the subject of discipline:

In a 15-year retrospective on work at NASA's Software Engineering Laboratory, McGarry and Pajerski reported that the methods and tools that emphasize human discipline have been especially effective (1990). Many highly creative people have been extremely disciplined. "Form is liberating," as the saying goes. Great architects work within the constraints of physical materials, time, and cost. Great artists do, too. Anyone who has examined Leonardo's drawings has to admire his disciplined attention to detail. When Michelangelo designed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he divided it into symmetric collections of geometric forms, such as triangles, circles, and squares. He designed it in three zones corresponding to the three Platonic stages. Without this self-imposed structure and discipline, the 300 human figures would have been merely chaotic rather than the coherent elements of an artistic masterpiece.

Discuss.

Update: Scroll down to the comments on the Atwood post, where someone asks an important question: "I always thought laziness is a virtue for programmers. Maybe the two aren't mutually exclusive... Can one be lazy and disciplined?" Someone replies, "Being disciplined would actually help you be lazy."

Comment

1.

jordan

August 16, 2007, 1:31 AM

Good analogy, especially when thinking of Bacon's studio...

2.

opie

August 16, 2007, 10:55 AM

It was not too many years ago that it would have seemed pointless to make a statement supporting the concept of discipline. It is no longer pointless, unfortunately.

The word can be misleading. It brings to mind standing at attention in the army, or some such, forcing yourself or being forced to proceed with some kind of unpleasant task toward some "greater good". I find that whenever my interest is intense and my aims are clear "discipline" just comes along naturally; when I am painting or writing I do things much more thoroughly and meticulously and thoughtfully than when I am doing other things, not because I must but because I want to, because I enjoy it. But it amounts to discipline, in effect.

Exercising or going on a diet or paying bills - those are different. Then you need "discipline".

3.

jordan

August 16, 2007, 10:46 PM

That was insightful Opie, and thanks for the good post F. It seems that discipline is somewhat intrinsic with financial stability and ones mind has become a culmination of ones responsibilities as a citizen who exists in this current world as it is which, demands your mindfulness of money. A few years ago, for myself, the greater good was the only purpose. Although I enjoy freedom more than anything else, money impinges upon discipline.

4.

kafka

August 17, 2007, 2:31 PM

#3 I disagree !

5.

kafka again

August 17, 2007, 6:17 PM

being that my english is poor i think i misundersttod you mr. Jordan, I indeed agree with you.

6.

the hunger artist

August 17, 2007, 6:46 PM

read it again !

7.

kafka

August 17, 2007, 8:03 PM

exactly!
you say 2 things mr jordan.
money ruins everything.

8.

jacob two-two

August 20, 2007, 1:43 AM

I always say two things in order to provide oportunities for gray interpretations.
Salut

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