The smallest of disciplines practiced every day, start an incredible process that can change our lives forever. – Jim Rohn
A Poem on Self-Discipline
What has to be done must be done
Lazing around just will not pay
Grab hold of yourself and move on
Do what you have to do today
Despite the mood you may be in
Know time and tide wait for no one
Get busy, start the ball rolling
If not, you will be overrun
Hold on and sustain the effort
Though you may not feel to do so
Stand firmly for no matter what
Be assured success will follow
by John Beharry
Without discipline, the two ingredients to become better, desire and decisions, are rendered unfruitful. Discipline, as motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn once said, “is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” The poem above practically illustrates what it takes to be disciplined. First, there must be a bias for action in place. Discipline calls for action. Consistent and persistent action. You may not be in the mood to exercise or not feel like eating healthy because of life circumstances, but discipline, when given due attention, is always driving us toward becoming better. Discipline is the continuous impetus to take positive action in the direction of growth. When our current mood or feeling sits at the throne of our lives, we slowly but surely run our lives aground in stagnancy and regret.
If discipline is important, why is it so difficult? I believe that beginning the path of discipline is exciting because our emotions are strong towards the action that expresses the respective discipline. But soon, our emotions start to fade, and the excitement wanes. This is where the action(s) we began out of discipline perishes. Sustaining any effort we begin is the battle we all must fight to see the results of self-discipline.
The Battle We Must Win
The common denominator for a better life is discipline. The numerators vary according to our specific goals, dreams, or vision, but to realize them, discipline is the hammer that we must apply on the anvil of our daily experiences.
The battle of daily discipline begins the moment we wake up with the “I don’t feel like _________.” The temptation to snooze is greater than the tenacity to wake up and begin the day. It is a relentless fight because human nature tends towards convenience and ease. What are the proponents of a disciplined life?
Proponents of Discipline
Focus is a concentrated precision of thought, emotion, and action in a specific direction. This combination makes focus potent and turns stagnation into progress. It brings into view the possibility that you can accomplish your goals. Focus sustains our momentum and sets in place the second proponent to a disciplined life.
Over time, a slow leak causes a flat tire. The methodical release of pressure results in a recognizable outcome. Likewise, a steady, consistent effort in the direction of your goals produces a measurable outcome. Consistency makes a routine out of what was once foreign and uncomfortable. Consistency follows the same rule of compound interest in finances. Through consistency, you exponentially multiply your efforts, no matter how small your initial investment.
If focus turns stagnation into progress, consistency turns forward progress from an event to a lifestyle. With consistency, the realization of becoming a better person is yours. Nestled between focus and consistency is the indisputable piece that completes the discipline puzzle.
What is the difference between consistency and persistence? While consistency is external propulsion through action, persistence is internal posture born through conviction. In truth, consistency should only precede persistence in the dictionary for continuous and positive external action is propelled by a strong internal conviction. Both consistency and persistence must be in place to see the fruit of discipline; growth.
With discipline, we develop high-quality habits that equate to a well-designed life. Without it, we become slaves to our environment. Our lives mirror a roller coaster, and we relinquish our ability to decide and design a better future.
Winning the battle to stay disciplined with focus, consistency, and persistence closes the slow dripping tap of excuses and neglect; the two opponents to a disciplined life. They are the subject matter for next month’s blog series, Overcoming Momentum Killers.
These words by Dr. John C. Maxwell keep me on the road of discipline when excuses and neglect scream for accommodation in my life:
“If you commit to a set of daily disciplines, eventually you’ll reach a point in life at which you’re absolutely astounded by all the good you have been able to accomplish. At that moment, it will be crystal clear that you didn’t do it in a day but that you did it every day. By doing the right things daily, year after year, one day you will receive reward and recognition for them.”
Final Thought: There is always a reason not to live a disciplined life. When tolerated long enough, excuses and neglect, invite the cold wind of regret into our lives. A disciplined life is born out of focus, consistency, and persistence, and the results are never disappointing. Stay the course.
Keep on keeping on!