Discipline Over Desire?

“I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires….”
— The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Sounds like the words of a very controlled man, depending on how it’s interpreted. For those of you who have read The Great Gatsby you will know that Nick Carraway (the voice of this quote) is a very cool, calm and collected character who seems to be watching those around him fall into the traps of a dysfunctional society (that’s one thing I saw through Nicks eyes).

d desire

What I found interesting was this was one of my most re-blogged quotes on tumbler.

I read this quote and thought ‘that is so me’, I am a ‘think before you act’ type person, this usually means I don’t get up to the average person’s definition of fun (in a room full of outgoing champagne poppers). It was good to see that there is a handful of people who live by some sort of interior rules.

Interpretation of this quote:

Interior Rules=   ‘life rules’, aka standards, morals, core beliefs

Desires = temptations aka the bad stuff that look good.

To me this quote screamed ‘self-discipline’. Which to me is not a bad trait, but is it in ‘modernised’ society.


“you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility, and commitment.”

― H. Ross Perot

Overall I’ve always thought this was a society where standards and values are not a priority (I know this only applies to a handful of people). It’s all about YOLO, not caring what others think and living life to the fullest. With celebrities promoting this, it seems to be the best kind of life to have, right?

It’s common to see children shouting at their parents; night life is an excuse to get with the next best thing and anybody; getting so drunk and a shot away from alcohol poisoning is another Friday night for some and talk shows on TV make you wonder if those who chose to participate have any dignity at all (does Maury or Jeremy Kyle bring any scenes?).

Does this happen when an individual has forgotten to set themselves a few life rules?

Then again does having internal rules become a restriction? Maybe it does to those who are trying so hard to fit in.

We like to believe we are our own person and we have complete control, but often I feel that dignity and purpose gets lost when a person has not set themselves some kind of rules to live by, or even knowing their limits (not on dreams though, the sky is always the limit-lets add some optimism!).

Having rules to live by surely isn’t a bad thing. Is it?


“Self-discipline is often disguised as short-term pain, which often leads to long-term gains. The mistake many of us make is the need and want for short-term gains (immediate gratification), which often leads to long-term pain.”
― Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life

[Images taken from Google Images]

About Piarve (84 Articles)
The business brains of Fashion Plugin, with a background in events and marketing and a love for forward thinking fashion, street art and red velvet cake.

8 Comments on Discipline Over Desire?

  1. Great quote and great post! I am annoyed, though, by those who think living life to the fullest equates with living life without regard to others. To me, the real rule to live by is: live every day like it is your last, as long as what you do never causes avoidable harm to others. It’s not quite as catchy as YOLO, though. 😉 (A visit from a fellow A-to-Z Challenge-er)

    • Haha so true, I have no idea how that would be abbreviated (LEDLIIYL ALAWYDNCAHTO). Some of these ‘life messages’ are taken out of context by so many.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Stephanie Scott // April 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm // Reply

    Good thoughts here. As with most things, I think it’s a balance of both. The celebrity culture of excess, self-involvement, and self-worship is hurting us. But there are plenty of people that aren’t bothered by it because they have their own moral code and life code they live by. I think it is necessary to establish values for yourself that go beyond take take, mine mine. Humility often comes from serving others and thinking less of ourselves. Entitlement doesn’t have much room to worm its way into our lives when we are giving to others with our time and resources.

    • It’s true, its all about balance with everything. Being able to judge when you or others should come first aswell.

      A good conclusion, and thanks for your opinion.

  3. I thought I was lacking discipline. Turned out I was just angry with myself and putting so much pressure on myself to be disciplined that I couldn’t accomplish anything.

    • When I was writing this I also thought about how being too disciplined can be a burden, in the sense that you become your own angry parent towards yourself, which is just as crippling.

      Thanks for your thoughts, there is always two sides.

  4. Enjoyed the quote and the post. It definitely seems that people value giving into their whims over discipline these days, but there’s something to be said for denying yourself instant gratification.

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