My friend Rory Vaden is an example of driver, determination and discipline. After a spectacular time selling for the famed book company Southwestern, he launched their consulting business. He is an accomplished speaker and has written a terrific new book on using discipline in your life to achieve your dreams and goals. You can download a free excerpt here.
I asked Rory to share his three favorite principles from the book (all seven follow Rory’s picks):
The Paradox Principle of Sacrifice: The short term easy leads to the long term difficult while the short term difficult leads to the long term easy. I love this one because it strikes the core fundamental premise of the book that self-discipline does not mean a harder life – it means an easier one! Problems that are procrastinated on are only amplified yet most of us lean towards indulgence, distraction and temptation because it seems easy in the short term. Yet we don’t realize that distraction is a dangerously deceptive saboteur of our goals and when you appropriately account for the consequences of our choices compounding over the length of our lifetime you can see that the easy things in the short term (buying on credit, eating junk food, slacking off at work, sexual temptation, substance abuse, etc) create a much more challenging life in the long term. The illustration of this is similar to the time value of money in how it compounds over time except it is looking at the time value of our choices and evaluating each decision through a long term perspective rather than a short term one.
The Perspective Principle of Faith: Our ability to have peace is directly proportionate to the term of our perspective. All other 6 strategies of the Take the Stairs mindset have to do with achieving success but this one is my favorite because it helps us understand what to do with failure. There have been times in our lives where we feel like we have been disciplined and done everything in our power and we still failed or there have been times where bad things seem to happen to us for no reason. What do we do with that? The way of the escalator world is to use failure and tragedy as justification for not bothering with discipline because “it might now work out anyway” but that is one of the points of difference between average people and successful people. Without exception every single successful person has failed over and over at something and it was those failures that were the very things that made them great. And there are things that happened to us that were negative at the time but now looking back we can see why they happened that way and are often grateful that they did. Successful people again have a longer term perspective knowing that less the ability to see the entire future we aren’t entitled to evaluate why bad things happen today. That perspective gives them peace from knowing that the difficult things we are dealing with today are often shaping us into who we will need to be at some point in the unforeseeable future. Having the appropriate perspective also gives a Take the Stairs person peace because they do everything in their power to be successful and if it doesn’t work out then they know it is because it was supposed to happen that way and even though they might understand it now they know its for a greater glory later on. Other people don’t have that benefit because when things don’t work for them in their life they don’t know if it was meant to be that way or if it was because they didn’t show up and put in the work. The payoff of perspective is incredible peace.
The Rent Axiom: Success is never owned, it is only rented; and the rent is due everyday. At the end of every keynote presentation I give people say “okay Rory so if I take on your ‘Take the Stairs’ mindset and start doing things I don’t want to do and start making sacrifices and paying the price…how long do I have to do that for?” Hilarious! The truth is that we never get to stop paying the price because of the truth of the rent axiom. Financial security is never owned, it is rented and the rent is due every day. Being in great physical health is never owned, it is rented and the rent is due every day. A happy marriage is never owned, it is rented; and the rent is due everyday. But even though the rent axiom might sound like bad news at first; it is the greatest and most freeing truth of all as it relates to self-discipline. When we let go of the escalator world’s diet mentality, the 30 day program, the 90 day routine, the 2 years same as cash, 60 days no money down, the get rich quick garbage and embrace the rent axiom as truth: a dramatic transformation takes place. When we realize that discipline isn’t a short-term fix but a long-term choice and philosophy to live our life by then the unexpected benefit that happens is our appetites begin to change. Just as our appetites for food can change so can our appetites for choice. And the activities that were once a great challenge to get ourselves to do later become the very things that are bodies crave! And the things that were once sacrifices to give up later become things that are even temptations for us! Our appetites change, our new actions and choices become easier and easier, we have new habits, and a new easier life – full of freedom, peace, wealth, health, and happiness!
Rory added, “We live in an escalator world where we are constantly bombarded with deceiving messages about what will make our lives better. Yet the truth about success is so obvious that it has become completely elusive in these days of major marketing: that success comes from doing the things we know we should be doing even when we don’t feel like doing them. This book helps make those choices easier for you. It will allow you to succeed in making changes where you may have failed in the past. It helps you to breakthrough to levels you never thought possible. It validates what you already know intrinsically about the uncomfortable truth to achieve freedom and success in your life – that it takes discipline. The book makes that process more bearable. The most important reason someone should buy this book is for the people they love and care about because as you start making more disciplined choices you will start seeing real change in your life and you will contagiously impact and inspire those around you to live a life that is better for them. That is what the Take the Stairs Tour is all about!”
Watch a movie trailer and get a preview of the free live events Rory is doing for the Take the Stairs Nationwide Charity Bus Tour here. Maybe we can talk more about that later but until then I’ll see you in the “stairwell”!
The 7 Principles of a Disciplined Life
- The Paradox Principle of Sacrifice – The short term easy leads to the long term difficult while the short term difficult leads to the long term easy.
- The Buy-In Principle of Commitment – The more we have invested into something the less likely we are to let it fail.
- The Magnification Principle of Focus – Focus is power.
- The Creation Principle of Integrity – You think it, you speak it, you act, it happens.
- The Harvest Principle of Schedule – Focused effort is amplified by appropriate timing and regimented routine.
- The Perspective Principle of Faith – Our ability to have peace is directly proportionate to the term of our perspective.
- The Pendulum Principle of Action – It doesn’t matter what we say we believe our real beliefs are revealed by how we act.
The Rent Axiom – Success is never owned, it is only rented; and the rent is due every day.
One thing I’d be interested to get thoughts about from people on is “is there such a thing as too much self-discipline? Can we overdo it? If so then how do we know we’ve done too much. If we can’t overdo it then why don’t you think so?”