Continuing from last week we see that discipline is aconstant awareness of the need for action paired with aconscious act to implement that action. If our awareness and ourimplementations occur at the same time, then we begin a valued sequenceof disciplined activity.

But if considerable time passes between the moment of awareness and thetime of our implementation, that is called procrastination, putting off untiltomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is almost the exactopposite of discipline.

In every circumstance we face, we are constantly presented with these twochoices: do it now or do it later, discipline or procrastination. Bearing thefruit of achievement and contentment (discipline) or living with the barebranches of mediocrity (procrastination). Abraham Maslow puts it this way: “In every moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”

The rewards of a disciplined life are great, but they are often delayed untilsometime in the future. The rewards for a lack of discipline, on the otherhand, are immediate. But they are minor in comparison to the immeasurablerewards of consistent self-discipline. Unfortunately, most of us would choose today’s pleasure overtomorrow’s fortune.

So how can you get rid of the easy distractions? How can you keep yourmind on what you are trying to do? How can you keep an attitude of doing itall and doing it now? How can you make the choice of discipline overprocrastination? How can you stay focused on your ambitions?

You can keep your focus on your work. You can get it done today instead oftomorrow. You can do your socializing when your work is done. You have gotto really work on your consistent self-discipline on a daily basis. Otherwise,you will find yourself distracted. Distracted by negative thoughts. Distractedby negative people. Distracted by idle chatter. And pretty soon,depending on the type of people you associate with, distracted by self-doubt.


Jim Rohn gives us some keys to discipline. Start with the little things andwork up to the big ones. The little things are minor things you can do tomake your life better and make you feel better about yourself. Make a list ofthem. Life will give you some pretty big challenges, but unless you practiceon the small ones and master those, you donot have a chance on the majorones. So workon all the disciplines, small as well as large, that will improve the quality ofyour life.And here is an important thought: “everything affects everything else.”

Everylack of discipline affects every other discipline. Mistakenly, we often say,“This is the only area I failed.” It is obvious that is not true. Every failure, nomatter how small, affects the rest of your performance.

Now here is the positive side: every new discipline affects every otherdiscipline. Every new thing you try affects the rest of your performance.

So, Rohn advises, get started on every small discipline you can think of.You cannot believe what it will do for your self-confidence. Remember, thegreatest deterrent to success is lack of self-confidence; and lack of self-confidencecomes from not doing what you could do.

Next is self-motivation. Arguably, that is the only kind of motivation thereis. In this column and similar others, we share our ideas and myexperiences, but people have got to motivate themselves. People cannot be changed. They can change themselves,but you cannot change them.

Good people are found;they are not changed. If you want good people, you have tofind them. If you want motivatedpeople, you have to find them, not motivate them. The first rule ofmanagement is this: “donot send your ducks to eagle school.”It will not work. “We do not teach our people to be nice. They are either nice or they are not; simply hire nice people.”

Motivation is a mystery. Why are some people motivated and some are not?Why does one salesperson see his first prospect at seven in the morningwhile another sees his first prospect at eleven in the morning? Why wouldone start at seven and the other start at eleven? We still do not know. Rohn calls it“mysteries of the mind.”

People go to a seminar. One walks out and says, “I amgoing to change my life.” Someone else walks out with a yawn and says,“I have heard all this stuff before.” Why is that? Why arenot they bothaffected to the same extent? We donot know. Mysteries of the mind.

The wealthy man says to a thousand people, “I read this book, and it startedme on the road to wealth.” Guess how many of the thousand go out and getthe book? Answer: very few. Is that not incredible? Why wouldnot everyonego get the book? Mysteries of the mind.

To one person, you have to say, “You better slow down. You cannot workthat many hours, do that many things. You are going to have aheart attack and die.” And to another person, you have to say, “When areyou ever going to get off the couch?” What is the difference? It is calledmysteries of the mind. Why wouldnot everyone strive to be wealthy andhappy? We donot know. Mysteries of the mind.

So be self-motivated. Donot give that job away to someone else. Do not think someone will just come by and encourage you.What if that “someone”doesnot show up? You have got to have a better plan for your life. You have gotto have discipline.


Rohn has got agood question for you. Is the best you can do ALLyou can do?Strangely enough, the answer is no. Imagine dropping to the floor right nowand doing as many push-ups as you possibly can—and you havenot been doing any push-ups lately, so the best you can do isfive.

But is five all you can EVERdo? The answer is no. If you rest a little, youcan do five more. And if you rest a little more, you can do five more. Howdid we get from five to fifteen? It is a miracle!

If you continue that pattern, is it possible to get up to fifty push-ups? Ofcourse! How do you go from five to fifty? It is a miracle!

So how do you get that miracle going? It is all a matter of discipline. And itbegins with one simple step: doing what you can do. Once you have donethat, you can keep working to bring your best to a higher level. Each timeyou complete an activity and take a rest, you are preparing yourself for evengreater accomplishment. But here is a note of caution: donot rest too long.

Why? “Because the weeds can take over the garden.” You have probablynoticed that kids have that figured out. Here is how they keep thingsmoving: they take rest as a necessity, not an objective. “The objective of lifeis not to rest. The objective of life is to act, to think of more disciplines.”

Think of more ways and means to use your own wisdom, your ownphilosophy. Use your own attitude, your own faith, your own courage, yourown commitment, your own desires, and your own excitement. Invest yourselfin discipline so your talents are not wasted. The smallest of disciplines canthereby transform your life.Join that small percentage of truly disciplined people and discover whatyour best truly is.

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