The wisest person I’ve never met, Jim Rohn, famously once said that we must all suffer one of two pains in life; Discipline or Regret. Discipline weighs ounces, whereas regret weighs tonnes. The interesting thing about this is the older we get, the heavier the weight of regret becomes. We regret the opportunities we didn’t take, or worse still, the ones we completely wasted because we didn’t have the discipline required to capitalise on them. This applies across the world of business, sport and life in general. Ideas and opportunities are everywhere. People who are disciplined enough to execute them are a rare breed.
The allure of spontaneity and wanton abandon is often touted as the way to live life, or drive a business to success. Wild decisions, big risks, lots of champagne and cigars. Sporadic and inconsistent effort can be fun, but quite frankly it is not going to help you achieve very much. It never has and it never will. Discipline on the other hand is often portrayed as this regimental, stiff and grey way to live life. Full of restrictions, to do lists and sacrifice. It is not viewed as sexy, and in the short term it is generally not. It is a lot easier to look for the secrets, or short cuts. The additional 5%, that makes the difference. You will find libraries of books on how individuals and teams are attaining this magical extra percentage and the daft and obscure stuff they are doing to find it.
People don’t want to read books about the guy who got up every morning in the pissing rain in winter when it was way easier to stay in bed. They don’t want to watch a documentary about the girl who made 100 cold calls and sent 200 emails in a week, every week for a year. They don’t want to know about the 95% that needs to be done first in order to help you achieve any goal you wish to pursue. A lot of it is not glamorous in the short term, but glorious in the long term. I am witnessing an increasing number of people who lack the patience and commitment needed to succeed in any realm. They want instant gratification so they can post it on social media.
The problem with chasing shiny things is that the real value add tasks get ignored. As a result your mind is always turning over what you need to get done. This runs into evenings, weekends and holidays. You are never fully off, because you were never fully on when you should have been. This is why so many people are going around the place in a mental fog. Their minds are full of clutter and guilt because they didn’t do things they should have, when they should have. Getting crystal clear on your goals and what you have to get done every week is a vital starting point. Accomplishing these key tasks will then give you the mental and physical opportunity to switch off and do the fun things in life, with no guilt attached. You can go the cinema, have a glass of wine, play a round of golf, scroll social media, or watch Netflix then all you like. With every decision you make you are casting a vote. Are you voting for discipline, or regret right now?
Ciao for now – John
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