Discipline is the one ingredient that almost always guarantees improvement. But what about it makes it more powerful than motivation, honesty, prayer, support, or even time management? Let’s explore it
Discipline mandates responsibility. You can’t just say you will do something and not do it and expect people to be inspired. In fact, this concept of doing what you say goes back to the very first Bible chapter. God said, “let there be light, and then there was light.” He spoke first, then it happened.
Imagine a world where God said, “let there be light,” but then he got interrupted by a snake trying to occupy a specific tree in what many think was Iraq, and he never got around to it. Fortunately, He didn’t do that. But what if he did?
Here is a modern-day version of a discipline statement.
Start by telling your wife the following.
“Honey, I will take out the trash tomorrow morning!”
Then, take out the trash the next morning.
It is that simple. That is the principle we now call discipline that God demonstrated to us during Creation.
Everyone has a bucket list of life goal items. Most of the meaningful achievements on that list require discipline. However, the bucket list has an antithetical partner called the blame list. Ask someone for a list of reasons that they aren’t who they want to be, and you will hear, firsthand, a few of the entries on their blame list.
Do you want to lose weight but don’t? Whatever answer you give to that question goes on your blame list. For many, the blame list is an order of magnitude bigger than their bucket list. I argue that discipline is the tool that overcomes the entries on the blame list better than any other.
Want to learn guitar? Practice it every day, even if you sound awful. Want to run a 5K? Follow a daily plan for a few months, and don’t miss a workout. However, if you drop the discipline, you drop the goal. Drop the discipline, and out comes the pen as you write a new entry on the blame list.
The best athlete I have ever coached is NOT the most talented one. He knows that, too. However, he is the most disciplined one. When he started, he was the slowest cyclist in our group. However, he almost never missed a bike workout, and now, no one can stay with him when we start climbing the hills. On those days when he overslept or had too much going on at work, he could have pointed out his employer as the reason for another entry on the blame list. Certainly, there are upstanding members of society that support priority being given to the man-made construct that creates his personal wealth. Yet, he didn’t succumb to that lie. He did his job, and he did his workouts. And, when race day arrives, he will most likely get the prize.
Bucket lists should be written out, and your life should reflect your efforts to do what you said you wanted. Your life’s efforts should not result in an ongoing and secretive list of blames for not getting there. Discipline is your tool to contract the blame list and scratch items off the bucket list. I guarantee it.