Photo by Alex on Unsplash

For much of my life, discipline was paramount. I strived to get good grades, be in good shape, be more moral. And then as I kept pressuring myself to be better, I’d burn out. 

Then, I’d strive toward self-care and leniency. I’d let myself not study so hard. I’d have that extra scoop of ice cream. But then too much leniency led to habits that weren’t helpful for me over the long term. I realized the joy that can come from the less immediately gratifying things in life. And so I’d veer back toward discipline.


I know now that my growth isn’t about being more disciplined or practicing more self-care, or about becoming more of any one thing at all. My growth is in acknowledging that every value I hold dear has an equally important opposite. I grow when I learn to love and feed them both – in balance and at the same time.

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Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA with his partner Sara, child Owen, and cat Winnie.

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