Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do… in pursuit of what you want.
I’m not sure discipline can be defined any better. If things were easy to do and you were excited about doing them, you wouldn’t need to be disciplined. Here’s an interestingly fact: Success, happiness, and achievement are easy ! How difficult is it to save $10 a week for your better financial future? How difficult is it to munch on an apple a day, eat healthy, and walk around the block for your better health? How difficult is it to return home at the end of every day with a smile on your face; no matter what happened during your day? How difficult is it to pick up the phone and call (not text or email) someone you love, but have lost touch with? And how easy is it to remember your spouse’s birthday or your anniversary and plan a masterpiece of an event; rather than to buy a trinket at the last moment? You see, all these activities and what it takes to be happy, successful, influential, and fulfilled are easy. It just requires discipline.
What’s easy to do is easy NOT to do
It’s easy to spend an evening planning an effective job campaign if you lost your job, or plan ways to increase business if business is slow. But you see, it’s easy not to. It’s easier to spend an evening planning what you’ll watch on TV. And when you choose NOT to do what’s easy to do, it’s rather easy to predict how this lack of discipline will affect your future… underachievement, unhappiness, and settling for less.
The bridge between where you are today, and where you want to be tomorrow
Years ago, a wise teacher told me that discipline is the bridge between where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow. He said that without discipline, nothing is possible. He taught me that discipline means doing those things others are not willing to do. Discipline means hanging in there long after everyone else has let go and given up. Discipline means doing what’s uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable.
- He taught me the discipline to turn off the TV and to pick up and read the “right” books.
- He taught me to surround myself with the right people and to disassociate or spend less time with negative influences.
- He taught me to place myself in the right environments, like the library, rather than the local pub.
- He taught me to park my car farthest away from my destination and to walk up stairs for better cardiovascular health.
- He taught me to value differences, and to understand and respect other peoples’ points of view, rather than fight and argue over them and regret my actions later.
- And he taught me to be happy with all that I have in pursuit of all that I want.
These, I believe, are valuable thoughts for you as well, don’t you think?
A challenge from me to you
Allow me to challenge you to embrace discipline and treat it as your ally; not your enemy. When you have discipline as your ally, there is no battle you can’t win; or dream you can’t achieve. But when you treat discipline as an enemy, I’m not sure you can ever win a significant battle with life.
The opposite of discipline is neglect
Discipline leads to achievement while neglect leads to regret. And it seems that one discipline always leads to another, which leads to another, and then to all sorts of great achievements. But the same holds true for neglect. One neglect leads to another, which leads to others; and soon you have the health you don’t want, the relationships you don’t want, the career you don’t want, the friends, you don’t want, and a life you don’t want. Neglect starts out as an infection, and soon it becomes a full blown disease that has you in its grip and won’t let go… until discipline comes to cure this disease.
The great Vince Lombardi said, “Discipline and mental toughness are many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial, and most importantly, it’s combined with a perfectly disciplined WILL that refuses to give in.”
Take Home Message: Don’t give in to neglect; and let discipline be your ally for life.
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com