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The Time is Right For Self Discipline

self discipline sister anne maree jensen

Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t say you haven’t got time for this mindset sort of stuff. I once said that too. Guess what? I was wrong. I was ignorant. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. The price I paid for this? Wasted effort. Wasted time. Wasted potential.

So if you are busy and someone who doesn’t like wasted effort then you are the person who needs to hear this.

You will also have a little light go on inside your head. Insight! That insight will lead to hope. That hope becomes optimism. The optimism leaks from you as ideas. You’ll turn those ideas into systems. Be you an individual or an organisation, those systems get you from A to B on whatever journey you are on. This is how you come to know and love and champion the cause of self discipline. Or should I say the little known process of self discipline. Why is that?

Why is the process of self discipline, something so useful and effective, seemingly unknown in a wider sense?

There are two reasons that stand out to me.

If you don’t read self improvement books the term ‘self discipline’ rarely comes onto your radar. Why then don’t you read self improvement books? Somehow there is this stigma -of weakness / neediness / failing - that seems to be attached to self improvement. Is it the language surrounding it? Why aren’t they called self education books. We leave school and suddenly our education stops. It’s up to us then to re ignite our education to improve ourselves.

Start thinking Self improvement = Self education 

Has self discipline been poorly communicated? I think so. It’s so un-sexy. It just sounds like effort. It sounds like it will steal away fun. I can’t ever see Self Discipline World being a new attraction at Disneyland. It’s just not what we want. Or is it?

People at the end of their life invoke the holy trinity of regret. Woulda Coulda Shoulda done that. People regret things they did but four times as many regret the things they didn’t do. Cornell University Study

In the book The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying  author Bronnie Ware said, ‘all of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence’. 

Who then doesn’t live a life on the work treadmill? What people don’t have regrets on their deathbed about an unfulfilled life?

I say it’s people with purpose and self discipline. I have had discussions with so many of these people like Sister Anne Maree Jensen. 

When the church had to replace a retiring outback priest, Sister Anne Maree stepped up top the plate. What makes this unusual is the dioceses in question was the size of the United Kingdom and the only realistic way to cover it was by plane. Outback Australia is a big remote place where the outstanding feature is the horizon. Never having flown a plane in her life she took the challenge, took flying lessons and ended up with the moniker ‘The Flying Nun’. Speaking to Sister Anne Maree her inner fulfilment shone through.

In a world that promotes bulking muscles and chiselled jaws as the hallmark of toughness Sister Anne Maree was diminutive and fragile looking.

Our world portrays an outward veneer of toughness which seems to cover an inner lack of it.

Generations past seemed to know this secret sauce to a fulfilled life yet right now this seems to be a real mystery to people. 

Not only does leading a disciplined life make you feel better, it makes you successful. The most successful people in the world know that self discipline gets them OFF the work treadmill, not on to it.  It’s not just me to who believes this.

“The one quality which sets one man apart from another- the key which lifts one to every aspiration while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity- is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness — it is self-discipline.With self-discipline all things are possible.Without it, even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream.” - Theodore Roosevelt

So for a lot of people what stands between them and fulfilled life is a lack of self discipline.

I am a student and teacher of self discipline. 

I honed my self discipline skills as an army sniper. I studied self discipline in the best lab in the world: the real world. I was a TV documentary cameraman for 25 years. I travelled the world meeting and filming and studying an uncommonly diverse range of humanity.  From prince to pauper, rocket scientist to death row prisoners. I stuck to writing schedules to become a published author. I stayed true to the relentless practice needed to earn my living as a magician. I didn’t waver from making the over one thousand videos that made me successful online. I now filter my first hand experience through the diligence of others the worlds of positive psychology and behavioural economics. I’ve had variety in my zig zag through life.

Travelling the world I experienced two simple truths about people. 

1. Extraordinary people are ordinary people doing extra. What was that extra?? self-discipline

Extraordinary is not about being the best, it’s about being the best you can be. The metric  of success I am using here is lack of regret. The difference between success and regret is self discipline.

Since studying this insight I’ve discovered I’m not the first person to see this.

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.” - Harry S. Truman

“The common denominator of success—the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful—lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.” - Albert E. N. Gray in his book The Common Denominator of Success

This is certainly true for me. I am am an ordinary person. My strength is I understand self discipline.

2. The second simple truth I experienced is we are all so much more alike than we are different. 

We are all fallible human beings stumbling through life. For every strength we have we have a weakness. It’s just how we humans are. So this means we each have a pretty equal starting point which means we all have the ability to be extraordinary and successful if we are willing to exercise self discipline.

Did a little light go on inside your head? Remember a few paragraphs back you read that insight will lead to hope. That hope becomes optimism. The optimism leaks from you as ideas. You’ll turn those ideas into systems. Those systems will make sure you get to where you want to go in life. 

Right now you have everything you need. Just keep reading. This book has a lot of insights and a lot of how to practical steps.

Whether you are an organisation an individual, to get from point A to point B on any journey of change you might be facing self discipline is the most powerful tool to stop being being pushed around by disruption. Time to get back behind the wheel, in control of your destiny. Time for what I call new discipline.

I want self discipline to be the new black.

The 5-easy-steps-to-this and 30-days-to-that experiment has failed. Time to roll up our sleeves and get real lasting results back into our lives and organisations.

The time is right for new discipline: Live with self discipline, die without regret.

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