The Time to Act
Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don't need to be hasty if it isn't required, but you don't want to lose much time either. Here's the time to act: when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.
Let's say you would like to build your library. If that is a strong desire for you, what you've got to do is get the first book. Then get the second book. Take action as soon as possible, before the feeling passes and before the idea dims. If you don't, here's what happens
The Law of Diminishing Intent
We intend to take action when the idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But if we don't translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can't be found.
So take action. Set up a discipline when the emotions are high and the idea is strong, clear, and powerful.
Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and the wisdom and translate them into action.
The key is to increase your motivation by quickly setting up the disciplines. By doing so, you've started a whole new life process.
Here is the greatest value of discipline: self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don't connect it to discipline. But once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you've started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.
There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect. Neglect starts as an infection. If you don't take care of it, it becomes a disease. And one neglect leads to another. Worst of all, when neglect starts, it diminishes our self-worth.
Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now! Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: "I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes."
If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.
# Change Begins With Choice
Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish, we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish, we can start a new activity. Any day we wish, we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.
We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause. As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves." We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth.
We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives. And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life--if you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life--and it all begins with your very own power of choice.
Three Keys to Greatness
I call it the view of the future. Most people, including kids, will pay the price if they can see the promise of the future. So we need to help our kids see a well-defined future, so they will be motivated to pay the price today to attain the rewards of tomorrow. Goals help them do this.
Simply making consistent investments in our self-education and knowledge banks pays major dividends throughout our lives. I suggest having a minimum amount of time set aside for reading books, listening to audiocassettes, attending seminars, keeping a journal and spending time with other successful people. Charlie "Tremendous" Jones says you will be in five years the sum total of the books you read and the people you are around.
I call it the 70/30 plan. After receiving your paycheck or paying yourself, simply setting aside 10% for saving, 10% for investing and 10% for giving, and over time this will guarantee financial independence for a teenager.
If a young person, or for that matter an adult, focused on doing these three simple things over a long period of time I believe they will be assured success!
You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?
At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you. The greatest form of maturity is at harvest time. This is when we must learn how to reap without complaint if the amounts are small and how to reap without apology if the amounts are big. Life asks us to make measurable progress in reasonable time. That's why they make those fourth grade chairs so small - so you won't fit in them at age twenty-five! There are some things you don't have to know how it works - only that it works. While some people are studying the roots, others are picking the fruit. It just depends on which end of this you want to get in on.
Don't let the learning from your own experiences take too long. If you have been doing it wrong for the last ten years, I would suggest that's long enough!
There are two parts to influence: First, influence is powerful; and second, influence is subtle. You wouldn't let someone push you off course, but you might let someone nudge you off course and not even realize it.