Hear Today, Gone …Forever?
We’ve all heard the saying “Here today; gone tomorrow”. For many, it speaks of the transitory element of life. For others, it is a warning to appreciate the here and now. Look carefully at the title, though. Hear is not the same thing as here. Which affects yours self-discipline?
We have discussed this before but let’s review it again. Each year, for the Super Bowl, advertisers pay outrageously high amounts for their commercials to be aired during the Super Bowl. Placement of the ad matters but generally speaking this year the cost was somewhere around one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars per second.
What we hear matters and that includes the external voices like those commercials as well as the internal voices from our own psyche. Any process to improve and increase self-discipline needs to consider those voices.
Self-discipline can be defined in various ways and probably almost all definitions are correct. One of the most popular ones comes from Brian Tracy: “The ability to do what you know you should do, whether you feel like it or not.” For many, self-discipline is will power; for others it is the ability to live a healthy lifestyle.
Say the word “self-discipline” and most conjure up images of a chain gang or buckets of sweat or long hours toiling. Maybe for you self-discipline is working out in a gym, cleaning up the house, keeping up with the laundry, throwing away all the junk mail, emptying your spam folder, or just eating those three to five vegetables every day that we all are supposed to eat. Regardless of how we define it, the results are usually the same. Having self-discipline gives one a sense of power.
Shouting also gives a person a sense of power at times. However, just because you can yell louder than the other person just not mean that what you are saying is correct. It just means you are a loud mouth or have a better amplifier. True power comes from self-control and that is how we are going to define self-discipline. Self-control means that your actions are deliberate, well-though means of living. You are not reacting to life but acting. Each move is a step forward and if it is not, then it becomes a lesson.
No one is born with a huge sense of self-discipline. I know it may seem like that statement is incorrect but think about it. No baby is born and then can instantly control their crying. Babies do not even realize how they cry or what the impetus for such is until they are older. It may seem like they are trying to control us or make us mad but they are simply reacting to a sense of displeasure in the only way they can. It is a biological reaction for child who is wet or hungry to cry.
We also have biological reactions and learning to recognize these is called deciphering our personal triggers. If I watch a movie in which an animal is harmed or even threatened, I will cry. I know it is a movie and that there are laws protecting animals used in filming. I know the likelihood of any animal being harmed, especially in this day and age is very slim, but I still cry. Disney cartoon movies like “Lady and the Tramp” make me cry and those are pen and ink drawn animals. That is one of my triggers.
For many people, sweets are a trigger. Often these people develop diabetes. While any disease is much more than a simple trigger, it is important to realize that this may be a trigger for you and eat more salad and vegetables. Then, when dessert comes, you are full and less likely to indulge in your sweet tooth. By the way, drinking alcohol is following up on a sweets trigger since alcohol is largely sugar based.
Identifying your triggers is a great first step towards increased self-discipline. Having a schedule and working that schedule is also a great step towards improving self-discipline. Anything can become obsessive but being organized is not a bad thing. Keeping your schedule balanced is key so allow for work and pleasure, spending time alone and with friends.
Routine tasks are often seen as drudgery but establishing a routine is a great way to increase self-control and self-discipline. Remember one of my synonyms for self-discipline was habit. When tasks become routine or habits, then we have control over them and our time. Time management is also key in being disciplined.
Plato once said that the best victory is the conquering of self. H. A. Dorfman explained it this way: “Self-discipline is a form of freedom, freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear.., and doubt.” Once we have self-discipline, we are free to be ourselves and bloom. We will have grown a better self for today and tomorrow.