The drill for discipline


The Philippines face poverty, corruption, lack of employment, poor education standards and other problems for which we, citizens, sooner or later will face the consequences. And as an individual who cannot do much, it’s better to begin with ourselves. To better the society, we must start the culture of change in us.

Among those that we do not recognize as a problem but of great significance is physical fitness. No matter how we face them, dealing with fitness often takes a great mass of discipline.

Filipinos are among the least physically fit people in Asia. According to Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index, the company which conducted the survey, this can be attributed to three main reasons: lack of time, lack of personal motivation and existence of “distractions” in modern life. However, there is no excuse for being physically incompetent.

Lack of time implies two things. One involves doing things that are so important that one cannot allot spare time for something like exercise. This is reasonable to a certain extent. The other one, however, is that we prioritize useless things more than our own well-being.

Of course, people can argue that the first case applies to them more than the second does. It cannot be denied that modern times require people to dedicate a huge amount of their time at work. Then again, these sacrifices in time should bear productive results.

True enough, according to the World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects, the Philippines is the 10th fastest growing economy in the world. It is expected to grow between 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2017. On the other hand, Transparency International and the Global Competitiveness reports that the Philippines is less competitive and more corrupt. This shows that good economy does not equate to being more productive.

Most countries, such as China and Japan, have more physically fit citizens and yet are busier and more productive than we are. Productivity is the key in this argument. Ignorance and lack of action can never justify lack of time.

Secondly, the existence of online timewasters is far worse an excuse. This involves unnecessary checking of Facebook accounts, playing long hours of online games, etc., which implies lack of focus on the tasks at hand and differences in prioritization of goals among Filipinos.

On the average, Filipinos spend 8 hours and 59 minutes every day on their electronic gadgets. That is according to social media consultancy We Are Social and the social media management platform Hootsuite in their report “Digital in 2017 Global Overview”. This puts us as the people who spend the most time online in the world.

Inability to prioritize or keep schedules is one of the symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder. This lessens the time which can be allotted to physical exercise, especially for busy students and workers who have to spend countless hours beating deadlines in school and in the field.

These “distractions” cannot be justified as well. As a form of rest, sleep is the best form after or between daily tasks. As a recreation, physical activities nowadays are down to sitting in the couch all day playing Mobile Legends or Candy Crush. Spending time in these online timewasters can be replaced by other more beneficial habits such as outdoor activities and exercise.

Finally, there is the lack of motivation. While there are many theories about what causes it, this implies either lack of dedication to one’s goals or lack of objective overall.

It all boils down to individual persistence to do what has to be done. As cliché as it may sound, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Our long struggle for change must begin with sweating it out to make a difference. You may not feel up to it, but as long as you continue to do it, you will get the results in the end. Discipline spells the difference between a goal and its actualization.

Discipline, as an aspect of Filipino lifestyle, affects not only individual interests such as physical fitness, but the accomplishment of societal goals as well.

We do not need to begin by solving the most complicated problems our country currently faces. We should start with something simple: discipline in physical fitness, discipline in ourselves.

Having somewhere to begin with is simple. We have the Internet, which, instead of being an obstacle, can be a valuable source of information about daily exercises we can do at home, at school, and at work. Once we know what we should do, it’s just a matter of doing it on a regular basis, something that requires discipline.

Filipinos can make up excuses for not being able to improve their physical fitness, but it mirrors the fact that we are not disciplined enough to do what we have to do.

Discipline in physical fitness should not be thought of as a consequence of having more time, lack of tempting entertainment, and more personal motivation. Instead, it should be perceived as a starting point for solving problems which require the same solution.