As a tenured Martial Artist, people are often fascinated by how I have been studying consistently for nearly 30 years. Truth be told, this hasn’t been all that difficult for me. Neither has working out on a regular basis nor making conscious decisions around what foods I put into my body.
On a professional level, I have been working out of a home office ever since I got my first job 23 years ago. When this comes up in conversation, I invariably come across people who tell me how they “could never do that.” When I ask them why not, the answer is something like, “I would not get anything done.” Or, “I can’t discipline myself to do that.” My first thought is YIKES.
According to Raymond Holliwell, “Discipline is the high road that makes life worth living.”
Our talent comes from developing discipline. Just like the athlete, the artist, and the Executive Business leader, the more you spend on yourself with specific intention the better you get. The better you get, the easier your life becomes.
Making clear and specific choices is a conscious process. Just like my making a decision to sit down and write this blog on Sunday afternoon as the Patriots play–it’s a choice. I can choose to watch the game, or I can follow though on the commitment I made to write this blog so that I could offer value to those who are seeking it.
People often feel that the “sacrifice” is too great when it comes to discipline. An example would be a person who is seeking optimal health who, when offered an unhealthy choice at a party, takes it. Why? Because they want to experience a kind of “freedom.” But are they truly free? Aren’t they sacrificing the right kind of energy? Sacrificing their long-term health for short-term pleasure? We will sacrifice something. There is no doubt about it. The question should be about what is more important.
You see discipline is never an option. We just have the illusion that it is. Discipline is our ability to self direct ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically. We either discipline ourselves, or simply someone else eventually will.
My wife and I recently toured a Pre-School for our daughter. The Director explained how their educational model emphasized individual self-control. She also stated that the less control a child was able to demonstrate in their life, the more they would need some form of outside control. Here is evidence again–the more we cannot discipline ourselves internally, the more we need to be disciplined externally.
The first step to developing discipline is having awareness and becoming conscious of what you are thinking, feeling and doing. Once we are able to self-observe, we can truly accept responsibility for all of our actions and course correct.
Next, live in integrity with actions and commitments that are congruent with the outcomes you wish to take. If you struggle with this, get a good coach to help you. Make sure that they are someone who lives what they teach.
Without discipline in your life, you will never find excellence nor meet your potential. Simply put, your life will simply be mediocre.
You are better than that.