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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Health, Longevity, Personal Finance
March 30, 2022

“People often have this screwed up vision of what discipline is about.  The vast majority of people are only concerned about what could be obtained for the sake of immediate and instant gratification.  Instant gratification is like having the attention span of a puppy being told to sit for the first time.  There’s no focus.  Discipline is the golden goose that keeps on laying the eggs of success.  If you can learn to harness the power of discipline like many others before you, you can have a super-hero physique, a brain that could play chess against a computer, and financial resources that can provide you with the opportunities to create a life of fulfillment.  Without it, you’ll always be left wondering what went wrong in your life and why you are stuck where you are.”

Isn’t the purpose of life to have fun and be happy?  Don’t we know that it could all end in an instant?  So wouldn’t it make sense that we live a life totally built upon the premise of “carpe diem” (live for the day and give little thought to the future).  What’s wrong with rewarding ourselves anyway?  Deprivation and holding back on enjoyable things doesn’t really sound like a fun life, does it?

That’s what many of you are telling yourselves.  To make matters worse, not only do you think this way, you behave and make decisions with this mindset.  You fall into this trap where anything worth doing that may be hard is worth doing tomorrow, right after you relax, take a load-off, and enjoy this moment for yourself.  Then you wonder why your life isn’t going the way you thought it would.  You wonder why other people are doing things that you can’t seem to do.  You may even blame other people, or the government, or your employer, or your family for keeping you down. Your life is hard and you just can’t figure out why?

The more disciplined you become, the easier life gets.” – Unknown

When I was in my mid-20’s, I was working at my so-called, “dream job” as a corporate CPA in downtown Atlanta.  It was my “dream job” because it was what I thought I wanted to do in graduate school.  I put all my efforts into obtaining that highly sought after position at an international accounting and professional services firm.

It only took a few months before reality set in.  I was MISERABLE with a capital “M.”  I was putting on weight (what seemed to be weekly).  I had little money for business attire and I was starting to bust out of the clothes that I just bought at the start of my new job.  My stomach started hurting me (it was an ulcer from stress), my cholesterol was jacked, my face would break out, I sat on my ass all day at work and just couldn’t wait to go home where I would change clothes, enjoy some comfort food and watch T.V. to escape the internal prison that I locked myself into.

Each day I told myself that I hated looking the way that I looked.  I was embarrassed.  I had a “CPA butt.”  That’s where you get a fat ass from sitting all day while eating mostly fast food for your diet.  I kept telling myself that I wanted to change but then whenever the moment of truth arrived, I just couldn’t resist going home and eating a pizza with a Coke (I lived on soft drinks.)  One of the firm’s largest clients was Coca-Cola and on every floor of our office were soda-dispensers with “all you can drink sodas.”  There’s no telling how much sugar and caffeine I was consuming each day.

So there I was stuck in my mid-20’s out of shape, anxious/stressed, and broke.  I had no personal goals.  I had nothing to do outside of work.  I had nothing to look forward to.  My self-esteem seemed to be a negative digit. I had NO personal discipline.

There was a hard truth that I didn’t want to own.  Every day I wanted to improve my circumstances but every day I did nothing to improve myself.

Fortunately, there came a day where I hit rock bottom.  Enough was enough.  I had to make some changes.  I committed to making those changes and my journey towards discipline began.  I made small changes to my diet, my sleep, my social life, my exercise, my hobbies, and my self-improvement.  Small changes led to bigger changes.  I stayed disciplined to my small changes and daily routines.

Some days were easier than others, but the days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years.  I traded in junk food for healthier alternatives.  I used weekend mornings to go outside an exercise.  I began running and riding my bike.  The distances were small at first, but I stayed disciplined in my commitments to myself.

5k’s turned into 10k’s.  10k’s turned into half marathons.  Half marathons turned into full marathons.  I signed up for swim lessons.  I began doing triathlons, with short distances first and then longer distances over time.  Discipline led me to Ironman triathlons, a new body, a new mind, and a new outlook on life.  I began to love discipline rather than hate it.  My work and career started blossoming.  I made new friends.  I used that same discipline with my personal finances and began having some cash in my wallet and savings account.  My entire life changed when I embraced discipline.  This was not something to be hated.  It was something to be cherished and valued.

There is a paradox to discipline.  You think that being disciplined strips you of fun.  You think that being disciplined makes your life hard.  You think that being disciplined will prevent you from doing enjoyable things.  But that is all wrong.  It’s completely counter-intuitive.

A few things for you to ponder;

  • Does being financially disciplined lead to having more money or less money?
  • Does being disciplined with your time lead to having more free time or less free time?
  • Does being disciplined with your self-development pursuits lead to higher levels of achievement or lower levels of achievement?
  • Does being disciplined lead to a happier and fulfilling life or to a less happy and less fulfilling life?

Discipline = MORE goodness, not less goodness in your life.

Discipline really is the secret sauce to a more fulfilling life.  With discipline you can do all kinds of things.  Without it and you are virtually guaranteeing yourself a very hard, unenjoyable, and unfulfilling life.  If you can’t learn how to harness the power of discipline (and it is a learned skill that takes time to build up and develop), you put yourself on a downward spiral of personal destruction.

People without discipline are those that end up becoming addicted to instant gratification to ease their pains and problems (which were caused by a lack of discipline).  A lack of discipline starts to actually lead to less discipline.  That’s where drugs, alcohol, bad food, sugar, sex, porn, video games, and an entire host of self-defeating endeavors start to escalate over time with many individuals.  It’s a circle of death.  Each day their life becomes just a bit worse.  Day after day, week after week.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  It could be the exact opposite.  With discipline, each day could result in a bit of self-improvement.  Each day you became just a little bit better than the version that you were the day before.  Your health can improve just a tiny bit.  Maybe you can’t even notice the changes made from 24 hours ago, but day after day, week after week, year after year those tiny improvements add up like crazy.

When you improve yourself, your life circumstances begin to change.  Opportunities begin to emerge.  People enter your life that help you reach your goals.  The world becomes more colorful.  Resources begin to emerge that were never there before you had discipline.

Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge and information that keeps us from making positive improvements in our life.  But usually we know what to do, we just don’t do it.  We never learned how to control ourselves.  I believe you can start improving your self-control the same way others have learned how to do it.  You may have to start small (you should start small and build up consistently over time). That’s ok.  Start small.  But then keep going.  If you can learn to make small changes, big changes are inevitable.  You must believe in yourself and know that you are worth it.  You can transform yourself.  I know you can do it and you know you can do it.

Below are a few ways to get help you get the ball rolling:

  1. Define what your goal is (getting out of debt, getting healthy, losing weight, eat more vegetables, grow your emergency fund…)
  2. Identify changes that need to be made
  3. Write down your game plan by making a list of small steps that you need to implement to meet that specific goal
  4. Eliminate temptations and distractions
  5. Develop a plan of action
  6. Commit

What are a few small things that you could start with that will turn the tide in your life?  Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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These are the EXACT same steps I used to PERMANENTLY get rid of my mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, and auto loan debt.

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