Take writing in this journal as an example. Despite my greatest efforts to write every day, you can see from the spotty archives of this month that I am failing miserably. I'm not dancing as often as I should be. And although I'm keeping up with my homework, I spend zero time in the library with my textbooks, and am barely keeping up with reading my conservation RSS feed (covering about 23 blogs).
Now I've added a new task on top of these things. Learn Chinese. Again. For the fourth time.
Clay suggested that I read a new sentence every day, and learn the words in it. I've chosen the WWF China website as my sentence-source of choice. It takes me 30 minutes to look up and make flashcards for 35 words. This doesn't even include memorization time.. which hasn't happened yet. I still grinned in satisfaction when I finished the sentence.
Sources say that anybody wanting to be considered literate in Chinese must know 3,000 characters - this is just about enough to read a newspaper. I'm pretty sure that over the course of my Chinese schooling, I've learned the same 200-400 four times. Memory can be so inefficient sometimes.
Training our memories is the whole reason why discipline is so valuable. In dance, practicing the same figure again and again lets the muscles learn it, they remember the movement and can recall it without so much thought. Coming here to write regularly lets the habit form, allows my brain to relax and digest the contents of the past days, to put the memories onto the page. And now, what I hope will become a habit of language lessons, will also (I hope!) make this the final time I'll need to learn these words. Again.
The MBA can be quite schizophrenic in this sense. While some things, like Finance interviews, become repetitive and formulaic after some time, our days are varied. Never do we have consecutive days with the same class, nor even with the same people.
Is it possible to ever truly develop discipline in business, and in a place where the only thing certain is change? It doesn't seem very likely. And yet, when I look at a class like marketing, where our professor (through a variety of cases) is teaching us to develop our own system of case approach, I realize that in fact we are learning discipline. We're memorizing a process, a reliance on tools, and the efficiency of knowing exactly what to do, and when to do it.
When we're tired (like I am now), and we get distracted, or something unexpected interrupts our day, it can be almost impossible to give our minds the space to memorize and work. I don't have a solution to that. Yet :)