In reading Ryan Holliday’s newest book “Discipline Is Destiny” I encountered a really interesting misconception. When you normally think of temperance, you think of abstaining from something that is a vice or an outlet. Historically the idea of temperance is closely associated with prohibition when alcohol was outlawed in the United States through the 1920s.
Holliday takes an even older approach to temperance and uses the original definition practiced by the stoics. Temperance has nothing to do with eliminating something from your life and everything to do with striking the right, best-fit balance with it.
So what does this mean? Temperance isn’t about never drinking alcohol, but it is about only drinking for the right occasions and under the right conditions. It’s not to say that scrolling social media or playing video games is a bad thing, but rather that those things should be done in moderation to meet genuine needs and desires.
Benjamin Franklin agrees with this and says “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation”. Temperance is the first of his 13 virtues because he understands the effects practicing temperance has on your life. It emphasizes intentionality in every choice you make, ensuring that it’s being done for the right reasons, and builds the habit of self-discipline to follow through on other virtues.
Temperance is about setting yourself up for success by acknowledging the honest balance you hope to achieve. Every piece of your life is meant to be in harmony with every other part, allowing you to create a fully-harmonious existence. This will allow you to immerse yourself in the things you enjoy doing without guilt, come to terms with how much you exercise or meditate without judgment, and optimize every part of your life so you can show up as your best self to others.
Is that a balance you want to strike in 2023? Where you're at your best for yourself, the people you care about, and the mission that you serve? If so you need to install a self improvement operating system. It’s not enough to keep learning about how to make the most out of your life is a start, or have good intentions but no follow through, you need to apply it, and that’s exactly what a self improvement operating system gives you.
If you want to make 2023 the year you look back on where everything changed for the better, I got you! I’ll share the exact operating system I’ve created with you so that you can be more productive, energized, and fulfilled!