You shouldn’t have to force it
Are you feeling like you could achieve more if you only had a little more discipline?
For most of us the problem is not about figuring out what we need to do. It’s just doing it.
Take losing weight for example. The science is pretty simple. If you consume more energy than you burn, you put on weight. So you either consume less, or burn more.
But almost exactly like socialism, it’s great in theory, and easier said than done.
Most of know we should eat better and exercise more, but it’s still very hard to do.
And so we think the key to unlocking our potential is more discipline.
But let’s think about discipline for a minute.
When you hear the word discipline, like most people, you think about austere monk or warrior practices to “deny the body” and build an iron like will.
Discipline is built by standing in freezing cold mountain water while your Zen master hits you with a bamboo cane.
Or its built by letting your troupe commander yell insults at you until you’ve done so many push-ups you throw up through your nose.
And look. That is a road to discipline. If you’re willing to sign up to that kind of punishment and abuse – it will have a profound affect on your discipline.
But for most of us it isn’t practical and it’s not the only way to build discipline.
The way I see it, and the way I build discipline in my own life, discipline is only ever a question of one or two things.
It’s either about motivation, or it’s about focus.
Think about it like this.
Imagine tomorrow you need to get up at 3.30am.
How much will-power is that going to take? Probably quite a lot, right? You’re going to have to really exercise that discipline muscle.
Now imagine that I tell you the reason why you’re going to have to get up at 3.30am is because 1980s Elle McPherson is coming around to give you a shoulder rub.
Suddenly the whole picture changes. If you’re like me, suddenly you don’t need to exercise any discipline at all. In fact, I’ll be getting up at 2.30am to wax my shoulders and bathe them in goat’s milk.
I find myself very, very motivated.
When you have the right motivation, it stops being a question of discipline or will power at all. You only need discipline to do the things you don’t want to do.
And so if someone tells me their struggling with discipline, I think what they’re really saying is they’re struggling with their motivation.
And this is where goal-setting, vision boards, mastermind groups and all that come into their own. They keep you motivated. They keep you inspired. They keep you driven.
Ok, let’s come back to our story. The alarm goes off at 2.30am. You half-open your eyes into the darkness, and think, ‘what am I doing?’ You hit the snooze button.
What happened? You forgot that 1980s Elle McPherson was on her way over. You dropped your focus.
And this is something I see a lot at this time of year. People get themselves motivated and excited and set some New Year resolutions in place.
And then in a few weeks, the busyness of life starts to take over. They forget what path they’re on. Why am I getting up at 6am to go for a jog? Did I really say no chocolate this year? What was I thinking?
When you lose your focus and disconnect from your motivation, you lose your discipline.
And so I reckon, for most things in life, this is the way to be disciplined about something.
- Connect with the motivation behind the action. Create a vision so exciting and compelling that it spring-board’s you into action.
- Once you have that motivation, hang on to it. Stay focused. Build habits that regularly connect you to your motivation – vision-baords etc.
And really, that should do it.
You shouldn’t have to drag yourself towards the life you want. The vision of the life you want should be so compelling and so front-of-centre that it pulls you towards it with irresistible force.
So stay motivated and stay focused.
Or I’ll hit you with a bamboo cane.