When you hear the word discipline what comes to mind? Most of us associate it with pain and suffering or some other negative connotation. But if discipline is hard, ugly, or brutal then why do so many successful people cite it as the path to Success? Does that mean that Success must always be difficult, painful, or brutal?
Not necessarily. There are plenty of people who have found success with relative ease due to timing, skill, or circumstance but no one has found Success (or maintained it) without discipline. That’s because Discipline is misinterpreted by our culture as the hard way but discipline doesn’t always mean harder. Actually, Discipline is usually the easy way.
Jim Rohn taught us that there are two pains associated with any pursuit; there is the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. He suggested that the pain of regret was heavier than the pain of discipline and you should use that perspective to leverage yourself to short term action. Additionally, there are several substantial types of pain beyond just regret that we pay when we choose the path of least resistance.
Go to the mall and have a blast charging up your credit card. You will have regret for sure but you will also have financial pain, relationship pain, and sometimes even physical pain.
If someone spends their life passing up on the opportunity to exercise they may suffer arthritis, heart disease, or any other hosts of afflictions as a result.
Ask someone who has fallen victim to sexual temptation while in a committed relationship about the pains associated with that.
Eat all the desserts, treats, and sweets that you desire and the negative pains that come with those choices can be both short term and long term.
The point is that incredible pain is often the result of all different types of easy decisions. Therein lies The Pain Paradox. Choices that are easy in the short term yield difficult consequences in the long term. And choices that are difficult in the short term often yield favorable consequences in the long term.
Save your money, pay with cash, and you will experience financial piece.
Make the sacrifices necessary to work out regularly and you will most likely save money in medications, procedures, and doctors visits in the long run. Not to mention that you will physically feel better than someone who does not.
Married couples teach us that avoiding temptous situations will produce a satisfying intimacy and trust in a relationship that far outweighs the trivial short term passions of the flesh.
Select a diet that gives your body the natural fuel it needs and you experience benefits in health, medical savings, and self-confidence.
So the truth is that there is a price to pay for discipline; but there is also a price to indulgence. The price of discipline is paid up front while the pain of indulgence is paid later. Another way of saying it is that indulgence and temptation are nothing more than creditors who charge us interest!
Working to avoid pain is futile. It’s an inconvenient truth about success that a price must be paid sooner or later. Paying the price up front takes courage but has a much better ROI; that’s called discipline. Paying the price later up is initially more comfortable but ensures a greater total price to be paid.
So which would you rather have: the facade of easy in the short term only to be charged more intense pain later on? Or the reality of a little sacrifice and endurance on the front end to have an easier, happier, more successful life in the long run?
Developing clarity about the properties of discipline empowers most of us to choose the latter when previously we might have opted for indulgence. Discipline is simply choosing the hard right over the easy wrong knowing that the price will be paid either way. And successful people know that success is never owned, it is only rented; and the rent is due every day. So which path will you choose today, the stairs or the escalator?
Rory Vaden MBA – Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting, Self-Discipline Strategist and Author of Take the Stairs. Visit www.RoryVaden.com.
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