Sunday, July 15, 2007

Discipline

If we are all looking for balance in our business and personal lives, which we can achieve through control, the question now is how do we obtain control ? Unfortunately, as far as I am aware the only way that one can gain control is through hard work and dedication, otherwise known as discipline.

Another unfortunate fact of life is that people are born with different levels of discipline. Again, unfortunately, the environment in which we grow up also has a significant bearing on how disciplined we are. I once heard a wise person say that hard work compensates for any natural ability. Translated, this means that you can achieve whatever you want if you are prepared to work at it. What's the hidden secret of all these self help guru's ? Basically, you need more discipline. Pay me buckets of money and I'll show you how to get it easy. Well I'm sorry to tell you that discipline is all about hard work and sacrifice.

Another wise person once said that to achieve anything worthwhile you will have to sacrific something. If you want to get better grades at school you are going to have to sacrific your time and study, if you want to get thin then you are going to have to work out and burn calories, if you want to get rich then you need to save. All simple, all obvious but it is surprising how many people seem to ignore this. If I told you that I could guarantee a way that you'd be independently rich in your retirement would you believe me ? It isn't rocket science, it is something called compound interest. Basically, if you invest a small amount of money over a long period of time ( that accumulates interest ) then you'll be rich beyond your wildest dreams. If it is that obvious why doesn't everyone do it ? Simply because you need to make a regular sacrific ( admittedly a small one ) on a regular basis. Very few people have the discipline to do this. It far easier to blow the money on the here and now. End result ? Little if any retirement savings because they just don't want to endure the sacrific of time. Most people are impatient, they want the money NOW.

The problem with discipline is that you need to keep at it, every day. That to most people makes it untenable. The problem is that rather trying to achieve small improvements in discipline they attempt try and achieve the impossible. Let me ask you, if you are going to climb a ladder do you take running jump at it and try and land on the highest rung you can ? No, probably not. Why ? Because if you fail then chances are you'll fall all the way down to the ground and probably do yourself an injury. Most rational people will tackle a ladder one rung at a time. When they try to achieve ( or climb ), other goals why do they go back to attempting to skip the start and jump as far ahead as they can ? Again, impatience.

To achieve discipline takes work and time, unfortunately I can give you no easy solution - because there isn't one. If you want to be more organized with you time start simple and get a date book. Don't give it away after a week because it is too hard, you need to keep at it. After a while, if you find that that tool doesn't help go and find another one but keep at it. Like toning muscles by going to the gym, the only way that you can improve your discipline is to keep at it. The more that you keep it and practice the better you'll become, the easier new challenges will be but it won't happen after one night. If you have ever seen the return curve for compound interest you will note that the pay off period ( were the curve starts growing exponentially ) only happens right at the end. However, to get the returns you gotta put in the time beforehand. Sorry, no shortcuts here.

Everyone has discipline, unfortunately everyone has different degrees of discipline. The good news is that you can improve your discipline by doing something simply - JUST STICKING with it. The other good news is that the more you stick at the better you'll get. As another wise person once said “ the jouney of one thousand miles starts with the first step”. So what are you waiting for - get started NOW and KEEP GOING !