Part of my job as an educator, motivator, coach (etc.) is to sell stuff.
Not physical stuff (toasters, convertibles, cross-bows … although that'd be fun) but more the emotional and psychological stuff like … ideas, concepts, philosophies, strategies.
In order to get people to take action I am constantly 'selling' the notification that creating our best life (body, health, relationships, career, finances, happiness) is large about decisions, attitude and personal responsibility. Most people 'buy' this as it's kind of a no-brainer; not difficult to understand or accept.
Although some still struggle with it.
But without doubt, the toughest 'sale' I ever have to make (and I make it daily) is the value (idea, notion, concept, whatever you want to call it) of discipline.
When I tell people that they do not need a pill, powder, potion, product, gadget or gizmo … they simply need some discipline in their world, they are typically disappointed.
They really want someone or something to do it (whatever it is) for them.
People do not want to hear that achieving their goals and creating forever results is largely about discipline; they want quick, easy, painless and convenient.
Imagine having to actually work for something … that may take some self control, mental and emotional strength and discipline.
And personal growth.
"Err … what's option B?"
"C'mon Craig … discipline is such an outdated thing … what is this, 1963 ?? … ya killin 'me … have not got anything something a little more contemporary … perhaps some new self-help program like the 'accelerated-learning-and-incredible-results-with-no-effort' program … or something similar? "
Imagine turning up for day one of your new job as a sales representative, only to discover that the 'product' you're selling is a discipline.
"Are you kidding me …. can not I sell cake … or chocolate … or plasma screens …. something people actually want to buy?"
And then to make matters worse, your boss informs you that your remission is commission-based.
Better get a second job.
Some things are easy to sell …
Donuts for example.
Find some teenagers, put up a sign … bingo; you're in business.
It's a donut-fest.
Or sports cars … find yourself a Porsche dealership, a few forty five year old guys with big egos, small .. self-esteems and a bunch of cash (or more likely, credit) and bingo again … ya got Boxsters driving themselves out of the showroom.
Not that I spend a lot of time trawling the web for personal development stuff, but with the little research I have done, I have not seen too much written on the value of discipline or it's place in the personal development (life renewal) process .
Some, but not much.
I believe it's importance is incredibly under-rated.
I've seen plenty on goal setting.
Lots on visualization.
Lots on attitude and 'attraction'.
And a bunch of feel-good, mindless, repetitive, you-can-do-whatever-you-set-your-mind-to .. fluff.
It seems (to me anyway) that some people (writers, speakers, experts .. etc.) are more concerned with telling people what they want to hear (what's popular and easy to sell) than they are with telling them the truth.
Me on the other hand ….
So I'm gonna throw a thought up for your consideration and it's this:
"When it comes to creating genuine, life-long positive change there is no more important ingredient than discipline (some people may also call it self-control or mental toughness)."
I'm the first to admit that creating our best life is a multi-dimensional, multi-factorial process and that there are often many variables … and while things like visualization, positive thinking, resources, knowledge, goal-setting, time management and planning … are often important elements in the success formula … the one non-negotiable is a discipline.
All successful people have a level of discipline which separates them from the pack.
This discipline effects how they think, communicate, choose, react and behave.
What they do.
How they live.
In fact, it's the underlying basis of their success.
And the challenge for someone whose life is about helping people move from mediocre to amazing (teachers, coaches, motivators, writers) is that … teaching and selling the value of discipline is a tough gig!
It is not easy.
Kinda like trying to sell brussel sprouts.
"No really … I know they're ugly, they taste horrible and they smell … but they're so good for you."
Discipline means dealing with our fears.
It means over laziness, apathy and our poor attitude.
It means doing the things we do not feel like doing (but know we need to).
It means persevering when most will not.
It means doing what's required; not what's popular, convenient or easy.
It means creating different standards for ourselves.
It means moving from procrastination to pro-activity.
It means controlling our emotions (not the other way around).
And too many feel-good, hand-holding, positive affirmation, self-helpers do not want to teach the truth of discipline because it's not sexy enough … new enough or exciting enough.
These days the personal development consumer does not want to buy discipline; he / she wants to buy DVD's …. or maybe another book.
Self-help book number six hundred and twelve perhaps.
We can visualise and focus on whatever we want all day long but if we do not consistently apply a level of discipline to our life (our decisions, our health, our career, our spiritual life and our day-to-day behavior). .. we'll never create or maintain amazing.
If we have everything except discipline … we will not get there.
We may experience change for a minute but we will not create forever results.
The truth is this:
Creating our amazing life is periodically a crappy, uncomfortable, messy, difficult process which requires a level of constant discipline and self-control.
Yes the rewards are fantastic, the personal growth can be incredible and the learning is life-changing …. but the actual journey (where we live) requires daily discipline.
I shared this message with a twenty two year-old woman recently who told me that she preferred a life with no discipline, no rules, no limitations and lots of joy and fun. When I told her that a life with no discipline or self-control would (extremely) lead to a life of misery she did not believe me.
Oh well … she'll find out.
A common misconception is that discipline is a synonym for pain and misery.
When in actual fact, discipline really equates to freedom, satisfaction, achievement, fulfillment and happiness.
In my opinion some personal development programs have gotten so clever, amazing and revolutionary … that they actually miss the fundamentals.
Dale Carnegie must be turning in his grave.
People do not want to talk about things like discipline because it's not Razzle Dazzle enough, it's not 2007, it's not sexy, it does not sell DVD's … and it does not get butts on seats.
People want secrets … and breakthroughs …. and new technologies and anything which means they do not have to work hard.
If you want to waste some money, go get another DVD set.
If you want results, go get some discipline.
Sorry if the notice of discipline is a little boring, a little old-fashioned and a little 1963 for you … but the truth is …. it's also a little effective.