The other, “To Matt, In Discipline Lies Freedom.”
The second inscription was the one that gave me pause.
Even this morning, more than two decades later, I’m still drawing wisdom from this simple wisdom.
A daily discipline is not the same as a habit.
Habits are things you do almost unconsciously.
You don’t have to think about most habits because you’ve been doing them so long they’re on autopilot.
Getting dressed in the morning isn’t a discipline – nor is brushing your teeth, taking a shower, grabbing a cup of coffee or reading the latest on social media.
These are habits. They might be good – they might be ho-hum – but they’re not disciplines.
Disciplines are the activities you get involved in that you usually WANT to do – but after you get started, your automatic failure mechanism (or ego), jumps into the mix and does everything possible to derail you.
I know you said you’re going to walk for an hour each day – but you’re tired today. Take a rest.
I know you said you’re going to write for a half-hour per day, but today’s your birthday, take a rest.
I know you said you would practice the piano – but this tee-vee show is on, and it’s really good. You don’t want to miss this show, do you? Take a rest.
The failure mechanism loves to guide you away from a daily discipline.
It loves to see you filled with fear, frustration and resentment. It loves tearing down what you’re working on. It loves interrrupting what you’ve committed yourself to doing.
Because that’s the way negativity operates. If your ego can keep you from ever developing any type of ability, talent or power – it feels safe.
No worries, you’re not going anywhere. Stay where you are. Sure, you’ll never be fulfilled, but that’s easy – just blame others for why you’re not who you could be.
That’s the way the failure mechanism works. Blame. Resentment. Excuses. Self-Criticism and Criticism of Others.
Taking on just one new daily discipline – something you commit to do each and every day – something you haven’t done before – brings great power into your life.
It brings you freedom.
Why? Because a daily discipline lets your failure mechanism know that the REAL YOU is in charge – not your ego.
Rain, snow, sleet or stifling heat – you’re doing what you set ou to do.
No excuses. No whining. No complaining.
Each and every day, someone or something will try and derail you. Guaranteed.
Again, that’s WHY a discipline is more than a habit.
The failure mechanism wants you to believe that self-discipline is slavery. It couldn’t be more wrong.
Self-discipline means you’re NOT a slave to your emotions, to other people, to the weather, to the next show on tee-vee.
You have power because you’re FREE from all the people, ideas, activities and changes in the wind that could blow you off course.
And because of your daily discipline, you have the power and the freedom to CREATE what you want in life.
You can create a new talent, ability or skill.
You can create a new body, business, home, product, service or work of art.
You can create. Period.
The truth is that you will never take on or maintain a daily discipline without thinking about it first. It’s physically impossible to embark on a new discipline without picturing yourself doing so in your imagination.
Not only that, you cannot get derailed from engaging in your new discipline unless you picture yourself “not doing” what you set out to do.
Sure, your wife talked you out of it (or your husband, daughter, sister, brother, dog, cat or pet tortoise) – but that cannot happen unless you buy into their mental picture of you taking a break.
This is why the Theatre of the Mind program is so important. It’ll help you do more than get going with a daily discipline – it’ll give you the tools to easily tell all the detractors, naysayers and nobodys that you’ve got something important to do.
You’re building power. You’re creating a new self-image – and along with it, a newer, better and more productive life.
P.S. I’m putting together a program that’ll go into even more detail on Ways to Defeat the Failure Mechanism. If you like this idea, let me hear about it.