Rich dividends through practice of daily discipline

To achieve any lasting success in life, the one cardinal rule to be kept in mind is through the practice of daily discipline. New Year resolutions and other sincere attempts to reach for greatness fail primarily due to the lack of focus in disciplining our daily activities.

Outside of man, nature is always working in a disciplined manner. Sunrise and sunset, waning and waxing of the moon, the four seasons, rise and ebb of tidal waves, planetary motions, sprouting and growth of vegetation, the incessant gush of spring waters and the entire cosmic in action round the clock, all decree the fact that the laws of nature work on a daily discipline. Without this daily discipline of natural forces, we could have sunrise towards the afternoon and winter arriving in June!

Daily discipline involves a series of tough calls. It is derived from the strength of the mind. It is a matter of prioritising and taking firm decisions. It works on the principle of giving up instant gratification for long-term fulfilment. It stands for everything that embodies mental toughness in saying ‘no’ to distractions that take our focus away from effectiveness and saying ‘yes’ to those actions that make us productive and useful.Thomas Huxley, the British biologist, articulated the point lucidly when he observed, “The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.”  

Among the various obstacles to daily discipline the primary stumbling block is the drudgery and the monotony that set into daily living. Devoid of motivation and overwhelmed with the weight of the daily grind, we become lazy and fall into the habit of procrastination. We get into a vicious circle of unproductiveness that makes each day a struggle and life an insurmountable journey. Yet, the dreariness can be conquered simply by espousing the habit of discipline.

Writer Charles Swindoll has this advice, “Do not focus on the whole enchilada, take each job in bite-size chunks. If you are running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. All it takes is discipline – daily discipline not annual discipline!”

Waking up each morning to a disciplined life and holding on to discipline with a death-like grip, is the only way to fulfil goals, achieve results, experience success and enjoy greatness. Though this calls for effort, determination and grit, it is sure to pay rich dividends in the end. As religious leader Harry Emerson Fosdick put it, “No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.”

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