Monk Skill: Discipline Through Honor

Discipline is the exercise of will power to either commit to an action and see it through, or to abstain from an action, and remove it from our lives.  This ability facilitates control of our emotions, tempers our anger, and reigns in uncontrolled passions.  Sources of discipline are often found in honor codes, religious practices, ethics, laws, standards, customs, etiquette, and protocol.  These sources of discipline provide us with the left and right boundaries of what is right and wrong and guide us in making our choices and taking action.

Today I want to focus on honor codes and share part of my personal honor code with you.

Honor Code

My personal honor code is derived from two main influence; my time as a scout and my military service.  This is not a figurative honor code, this is something I carry with me everyday. It is hand written and personal.  I wrote it June 2012 about a year after I returned from Afghanistan.  I describe it as my first step to get right with myself after that deployment.

Because it is one the roots of what I do here at Mastery of Skill, I want to share it so you can have a deeper understanding of me and why I do what I do.



I was once told that every man should write down his own personal manifesto in order to capture, in words, the important attributes of character which define him.  When I first set out to do this I read a handful of examples and bits of advice on starting out the basics of which can be summed up as “be specific and stay out of the weeds.”  After about one week of pondering the beginning of this exercise I finally resorted to simply putting pencil to paper to see were I would end up.  Remarkably the first thing that came to mind was the Boy Scout law, oath, and motto.  Three resounding texts which have been central to my definition of character almost my whole life.  What follows in these pages is a personal modification of the law, oath, and motto meant to serve as my own manifesto and definition of how, as a man, I should think, act and live.

15 June 2012

I will be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

I will be trustworthy: Trust but verify.  TO be trusted my actions will prove my intent and show that I can counted on.  My actions will validate the trust placed in me.  I will earn trust through action.  You can believe what people tell you and at the same time not trust them in other regards.

I will be loyal: I will always go back for the rest of the team.  My loyalty will be earned not blindly given.  Loyalty to my family must be absolute.

I will be helpful: Positive actions on my part will yield positive outcomes for myself and those I care about.  I will not hesitate to help others in need.  Even if I am done with my job someone else can always use a hand with theirs.

I will be friendly: Smile, it takes the edge off.  I can be friendly without being someones friend.  My best friend is Anna, and I will treat her that way.  I will be friends with my children.

I will be courteous: Chivalry is not dead and is my responsibility.  I will teach my children the rules of chivalry.  Little courtesies lead to big results.  Say thank you, yes ma’am, yes sir, you’re welcome and please. Do not use slang. Do not routinely course.

I will be kind: Kind words and kind acts.  Kind acts are the engine which moves the world forward.  The kids will always need more kindness from me.

I will be obedient: I have integrity and I will use it.  Laws come in many forms; man made, societal, natural, ethical.  DO not follow blindly.  Just because something has always been done a certain way dose not make it right.  Speak truth to power.

I will be cheerful: I will smile.  I will be an optimist.  I will acknowledge when I am in a bad mood and take actions to fix it.  Staying in a good mood helps fend off the bad moods.  I will share my joy to energize others.

I will be thrifty: wear it out, use it up, or do without.  Having money is not a license to spend.  Thrift applies to more then money what about time, resources, or emotions.  I wont spend my love or hate on unworthy objects.  I can fix it and I don’t need a new one. Up-cycle, trade, sell, recycle.  Down size your life.

I will be brave: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.  You can be scared and still act brave.  My actions will validate my courage.  The only way to prepare to be brave is to think about, and commit to hard decisions before they happen… the rest is forged in the moment.  Be physically courageous.

I will be clean: I will eat healthy.  I will not smoke.  I will be physically active.  I will put “it” away (it is anything in the house).  I will care for my property.  I will run.  I will do push ups and pull ups.

I will be reverent: I do not hold to any single religious dogma; however, faith deserves my respect.  A calm body leads to a calm mind, and a calm mind leads to a calm body.  I am meant to be happy and at peace.

My honor is based on doing my best to fulfill my duty to my family, my country, and my god.  I will hold to my beliefs, keep myself mentally awake, physically fit, and morally straight.

Family: My family is the root of joy.  Fulfilling my duties to them will ensure my own happiness. Love Anna as much as I can.  Raise my children properly.  Be gentle and listen.

Country: My country has secured my freedom.  I have a debt to pay for this, and I will serve with honor.  I will hold to the tenants which have made our freedom a reality.

God: Everything is owed to god, the only thing asked in return is to show respect by caring for the part that has been entrusted to me.  Honoring god means caring for my part of the world.

Mentally Awake: Read for Fun.  Read to Learn. Practice focusing.  Find your creative joy. Gain knowledge and wisdom through education, training, and experiences.

Physically fit: I will run, I will not eat dirty foods.  Time spent training is like buying extra days of life.  The healthier I am the better father I will be.  Encourage my family to physically active.  Sacrifice yourself today for yourself tomorrow.

Morally Straight: Be some form of good.  Ethics are grey, don’t get too light or too dark.

I will do good deeds everyday.

Just do it, and get the family involved.  When in doubt Anna always needs you to do something nice for her.

What is your personal honor code?  If you don’t have one I challenge you to spend some time building one.

If you want some help, come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your insights and connect with others like you who are seeking to build their skills.  Or you can email me directly at  You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.

Live Skillfully!





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