One of the biggest reasons many of us struggle to adopt the methods and mindsets that give us the best chances for success is that we get distracted by all the wonderful opportunities that come our way. In fact, I often think the only thing harder than trying to have everything is trying to do everything — even when everything seems so good.
Discipline, I’ve discovered, isn’t just about rejecting time-wasting activities in favor of the things that matter. More often, and more challenging, it’s the good things that distract us from pursuing the better things. So effective discipline sets our agendas, allowing us to reduce or eliminate some things from our schedules. By saying “no” even to things we enjoy or that provide some benefit, we can say “yes” to things that provide a greater return on our investments.
For instance, consider Frank Bures. In 2010, Frank decided to stay “offline” for one full workday each week. No Internet, thus no surfing of his favorite sites for work or for pleasure; no email; no YouTube, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, and no Facebook.
The first day of his tech-fast was surreal. “It was like finding myself on the moon, staring back at earth,” he wrote in an April 2011 article for The Rotarian magazine. By the end of the day, however, “I felt something that I hadn’t in a long time: a sense of accomplishment,” he wrote. “And when I finally logged on to see what I had missed, I was surprised by the answer: not much.”
Discipline allows us to develop the things we value most; it drives all the processes that create results that set us up for success regardless of the circumstances around us. Are you maximizing the disciplines in your life?
This blog is based on content in my latest book, Up, Down, Or Sideways. It is available wherever you buy great books. Click here to learn more about the book or click here to learn about my other speaking services and learning resources.