Discipline = Freedom What goes on behind the scenes Pt.1

Brian Huy Mac
6 min readDec 15, 2021

“Discipline equals freedom” — Jocko Willink (Former Navy Seal)

Original Date: January 23, 2018

1/3 Part Series
Discipline = Freedom What goes on behind the scenes Pt 2: HWL Goal Framework

Discipline = Freedom Pt 3 — Habits and Tools

— —

So I came across this quote a year ago through reading some Tim Ferris stuff and it really stuck with me. To me it’s this concept of we are what we repeated do, that our habits build the foundation for freedom to pursue opportunities/push beyond.

A great example for me is surfing. Most of my friends know that I have this huge passion for surfing and in all honesty though I am not that good :( I feel more like a professional paddler and ocean punching bag. Yet, it is probably the most humbling, yet enthralling activity in my life. It is frustrating watching people shred these waves and get up so easily always being in the right spot, while I struggle like a fish on land. However, I am better then I was 3 years ago, and definitely a year ago when I made a bigger commitment to discipline, ie. moving to Santa Cruz so I can get in the water more regularly, I am slowly seeing the progress.

“That’s it, things take time, and it starts with the basics.”

Of course if I only surf for 1 week a year at a surf camp I am not going to be as good as the 12 year old kid flying by me who is surfing everyday since they were 8. Of course if I surf 2x in a month then travel for 4 weeks for work before I get in again my progress is going to be slower and that 60 year old beats me for a wave. Really giving myself to the process (discipline) of getting in 2x+ a week as much as work allows, focusing on the basics (paddling, positioning, reading the waves), and lastly ENJOYING (sunset on the ocean, salt on the skin, meeting new people vs comparing myself) I foresee getting “barrelled eventually in my lifetime.

It is that “Discipline” that extends itself into everything we do, so getting ready this year to tackle some new challenges I’ve made it a goal to do at least 1 post a quarter to help get ideas into writing and try a bit to find my voice. Bear with me as I jump my jumbled mind all over the place on the things I want to share. What I am hoping with this post is to shed some light behind the scenes on the ongoing process of setting goals for growth.

Pt. 1: Setting a theme — What is this damn #2017GiveBack?

So every year now since 2015 I have some sort of theme that guides the decisions, how I invest my time, and sort of a “Mantra”. It’s not anything goal specific but an attitude.

Coachella 2015 — No where to sleep no PROBLEM!

It started with Summer of Yolo in 2015 (kind of just say YES to as much as I could, lead to last minute adventure Coachella, Yosemite Hike, random new people, etc.) , and evolved into Work on Love 2015. Work on Love was all about relationships with old and new friends, living abroad it’s easy to get caught up day to day so made an extra effort to call, stay in touch, reflect gratitude for those that have come into my life.

2016 was inspired by a Derek Sivers quote:

Either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”

Trolltunga, Norway #NAKING

To me was about cutting things out and saying no to things, so that you leave room and time for when the things that get you FIRED up come around you can do them. I found I was just running around from one thing to another, and a lot of times wasn’t excited just felt obligated to go. Even with relationships, if I wasn’t excited HELL YEAH, then moved on. The big change was with work, end of 2015 I was in a funk as I felt trapped in my job (visa) and didn’t have opportunities for growth. Then when I decided to move back to Europe and find a new opportunity I ended up at Qt via headhunter, it was a management role, growing tech company, based in Cali, and international work experience = HELL YEAH!

After a whirlwind 2016 finished the year thinking back to the things that got me motivated in my younger years. One of the things I missed the most was “Contributing”. From doing leadership conferences (OSSSA) in highschool, student council, to AIESEC, O-Week, etc. at University, I was just working and taking care of myself mostly. So 2017 = GIVE BACK!

FamJam 2017 — Sailing St.Maarten

2017 was filled with giving, I was lucky enough to take my family to St. Maarten for a vacation, donated at least 2% of net salary every month to charity, and got involved with Laurier Alumni Silicon Valley Advisory Council. I really wanted to get more hands on volunteering at Big Brothers, or Digital Nest in SCZ, yet with the work travel it was hard to sign up to a regular schedule. That’s it with having a theme, it doesn’t have to be big but just regular small actions, helping friends find new jobs, helping people move, promote friend’s endeavors, it’s just keeping these things in mind.

Save the Waves reusable cup

What’s in store for 2018 is “LIVE SIMPLY”. Attending a Save the Waves event in Santa Cruz it really hit home how much impact we have on our environment. The amount of single use plastic is astonishing, and I am super guilty :( Starbucks, Chipotle, Amazon orders yikes! That and as much as I try to be as minimalist as possible (next post?) I was accumulating so much stuff = bored/unhappy = Hello AMAZON gratification! So this year trying to have LESS STUFF. Trying not to buy anything, do I need 4 surfboards?? If I can instead Rent, Borrow, or Repair stuff. Also, bringing my own reusable container, spork, straw, cup out, buying fresh meat/veggies, and saying no to Trader Joe’s (DAMN it I love that premade kung pow chicken).

OK, so getting here I still wanted to cover some other things yet being a internet generation kid I am pretty sure people’s attention span is limited so I am breaking this post into 3 parts.

Let me know what’s your “THEME” for 2018??

- BMac

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

Coming Up Next:

Pt 2: Breaking down Goal Framework (HWL)

  • Health, Wealth, Love framework for goals + milestones

Pt 3: What I use — Tools and Resources

  • 5 Minute Journal
  • Trello — Personal + Personal Milestones Boards
  • Experience with getting a Coach — Values assessment, DISC analysis, accountability and more.
  • Reading List + Videos
  • Keeping it simple when I travel 1 bag, multi-purpose and don’t have to wash gear (Shirts / Underwear / Shoes).