If there are two characteristics that would be near the top of any list describing the Old Money culture, the would be structure and discipline.
When Old Money works, it works. When it plays, it plays. Old Money does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether it’s a pleasant task or not.
Some of this stoic determination can certainly be put down to formative years spent under the withering gaze of a private school headmaster or a Catholic school nun. Much of it was probably learned at home, by parental example, and blunt exhortation: “You’ve had every advantage in life. Why wouldn’t you excel?” There just isn’t much room for excuses or mediocre performance in Old Money families.
Structure, too, is pervasive. There’s a time for dinner. There’s a time for reading. There’s a time to socialize. There’s a time to exercise. (A time for gin and tonics, too, we have to admit.) Many times, there’s a specific place where each of these is done.
There are clothes you wear to church, to a piano recital, to the office, and to a garden party. Luckily for Old Money Guys, the same blue blazer, oxford button down, khaki pants, and brown shoes work equally well for all these occasions. The only judgment call we have to make is neck tie or no neck tie.
Old Money Gals are habitually decked out in simple, elegant dresses made of natural fabrics and cut in a timeless style, no-to-low heels, and inherited pearls.
To the uninitiated, this structure and discipline can border on the tedious and reek of mindless conformity. But fear not, there is plenty of room for the spontaneous, plenty of room for fun, plenty of room to be an individual.
What needs to be remembered is that, without structure, there is no spontaneity. Without formality, without getting dressed, or dressed up, there is no real casual. Without manners and a certain distance from strangers, colleagues, and friends, how would we recognize and cherish the unique intimacy we share with our soul mate?
Experience is largely by contrast. Embrace structure and discipline. Your best self will rise to every occasion.
9 thoughts on “Structure and Discipline”
Hi Byron. Being a product of a strict catholic school, I can tell you there was no goofing around when you were supposed to be learning. Uniforms were the clothes of the day, and if you value your life, you did not cross a nun. Lessons not soon forgotten. Enough internet now…time for work! 🙂 Have a good day, Byron.
Thank you, Bev! – BGT
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustave Flaubert
That is a great one, Amy. Thank you. – BGT
This is great! As a person who grew up in a blue collar home, your books and blog are a tremendous help with my goal of “changing my family tree”. Would you be willing to answer my questions with a reply or other blog posts?
What would be some examples of a daily routine that a person would go through? What would a person do before they leave the house everyday?
What would the bedtime routine look like?
What are some OMG traditions during holidays?
Thank you, I really appreciate you & your service.
Thank you for the comment, Alisa. I’m going to say that some exercise in the morning, getting dressed for the day, a quick review of goals, and perhaps a moment of prayer or meditation are a standard routine for many OMG’s I know. The bedtime routine would probably include reading for pleasure or self improvement, and having a good half hour without the TV or internet before falling asleep.
Holiday traditions vary from family to family, but I would say the common characteristic is that they focus on getting together, keeping things upbeat, and generating a lot of love and support for everybody. Gifts are modest and appropriate. Many times children are encouraged to create new traditions for the family and carry those forward.
Thank you again. – BGT
Hi Alisa! I agree with Byron’s assessment. I would add that, in my experience, OMGs stick to a regular bedtime. You need to be up early and well rested to be at the top of your game. Staying up past the usual bedtime is very rare and staying up late to watch TV is virtually unheard of. Also, certain holidays are always observed. The celebration may be grand and formal or small and intimate, but something is done to mark the occasion. It’s about mastering time and harnessing the power of the clock and the calendar to your advantage. You don’t want time, or money, to become your master.
The athletes at the Olympics did not get there on talent alone! The opportunity to relax and have fun must have been so sweet after displaying the fruit of years of disciplined and structured practice. What a wonderful example of this philosophy!
Thank you for the comment, Mary. Much appreciated. – BGT