• Cecilia Macaulay

Chilly 'Discipline' Verses lovely 'Second Nature'. We win.

Updated: Jan 20, 2019


Discipline is about forcing somebody to do something they don't want to do. Like pushing water uphill, this takes energy. Running a business or a life where your team members are determined to go in opposing directions is costly, wasteful, and no fun. Especially if its the innner struggle of 'Me V Me'.


'Discipline' is the usual translation of 'shitsuke', the 5th of the '5S' philosophy made famous by Toyota. But Toyota is not wasteful. So why is this Chinese kanji translated as cold, hard 'Discipline'?


In an effort to undestand this character, I showed it to my Asian friends, asking when they would use it. All Japanese said its used by parents children and dogs, to train them in good behavoir. Their faces didn't look happy when they saw it. My Taiwanese housemate however had the opposite reaction. 'We don't have this charater in Chinese. How lovely it is!'

Its a character made up of '身', a meaning body, and 美 meaning 'beautiful'.

So literally, its about embodying a beautiful way of being. Who would resist that?


The things that will change and beautify our future often take effort and novelty, which us conservative humans are programmed to resist. Wether its planting flower seeds, flossing our teeth, or studying a new language, we can get the energy two ways: joyful anticipation of the beauty to come, or fear of consequences of not doing it.

Go for love. Go for the first route, and make a pathway to get your team there too. We do this by making

I've re-translated shitsuke is to make an action 'Second Nature'. Something that was once resisted, but now feels natural to do.

Once people would start diaries for a few weeks in January, then give up. They 'tried' to be diciplined, and write more often to their family. With the power of 'likes' and much more, Facebook has made it 'second nature' for a few billion people to have records of their daily lives, no New Years Resolutions needed.

We can be leaders who to make sure valuable actions are packaged as fun, interesting, straightforward, or what ever it takes for ourselves and our supporters to





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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved