In last week’s newsletter, I wrote about the meaning of discipline:
In his book Discipline is Destiny, my friend Ryan Holiday writes that courage is “the willingness to put your ass on the line.” Discipline is “the ability to keep your ass in line.”
My writing teacher, Steven Bauer, used to joke that the first rule of writing was:
APPLY ASS TO CHAIR.
In my early writing days, I used to have that tacked up on a 3×5 card above my desk.
There’s a German word, sitzfleisch:
“Literally translated, sitzfleisch means ‘sitting meat’ or ‘sitting flesh’ – in other words, a term for one’s behind or bottom. But this German word has strong connotations in the working world, where it implies a great deal more than just the physical part of the body you sit on.”
“To have sitzfleisch means the ability to sit still for the long periods of time required to be truly productive; it means the stamina to work through a difficult situation and see a project through to the end.”
Ryan points out that sitzfleisch was noted in the ancient world: “Many a great conqueror in the days of horseback were called ‘Old Iron Ass’ for their ability to stay in the saddle.”
Read more here.