HOW TO GET AHEAD IN YOUR WORLD
Last time out, I started these series on how to get ahead in this world as is the desire of God for His children. There are a few things that are consistent with every successful person (Christian more so) and we will be examining some of them together. In the last issue, we started out with a discussion on knowledge and today we will go on to discuss the next key factor – DISCIPLINE.
Discipline can simply be defined as a behaviour that follows a set of rules and boundaries. It is the ability to say ‘no’ when ‘yes’ is a lot more convenient but not right. Discipline is when a person holds him/herself up to the task of doing the right thing whether or not someone is watching. While talent can make a person shine, discipline is what keeps the person a star. Being rich, powerful, born-again, poor and so on does not excuse a person from a life of discipline as a lack of it will always expose a person in due course.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12::11 ESV.
I have met or heard about people who paid dearly for lack of discipline – someone who talked too much and said what she should not say leading to a loss of job, someone who habitually slept too much and missed a crucial appointment, someone who could not take his eyes off a woman and lost all his possession in the end, the list goes on and on.
Here are a few truths about discipline:
It is wiser to learn discipline when little is at stake. Some people believe that although they cannot account for what they earn now, they will be able to do that when they earn more. This is a big falsehood because it is not about the amount of money earned; it is about the principle of spending. The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets. Proverbs 21:20 LB. Fornication or adultery does not start in bed! It starts long before then. When the two people looked at each other longingly and began to deliberately spend time with each other privately and desperately praying to be tempted. If only they stopped at those early stages….
You cannot escape discipline. If you don’t use it to prevent negative happenings, it will come back to you as a result of those happenings. If a person does not embrace discipline in the area of sleep and loses his job, hunger pangs, creditors etc will soon separate him from the sleep he so much loves. A person that refuses to go to school because he wants to do as he likes will eventually be a beggar or thug with an even more regimented lifestyle. A person that refuses to tame his anger and will not take corrections will end up in prison where corrections and instructions are all he will get. The whole idea of discipline is to prevent us from being self-destruct; when discipline is rejected therefore, destruction is certain and the lessons of discipline are learnt. Those lessons are called regrets and resolutions.
“There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.” – Jim Rohn
When it comes to bad habits; if you don’t stop them, they will stop you. These things often feel good albeit briefly and they seem not very harmful until the stakes are high and the price to pay is very big. I heard some time ago of a U.S. Senator who was watching pornography during a session. He was apparently bored and could not resist a few scenes of the movies. He must have been at it for a while; watching only in his office, and then at home, until he got that far. Needless to say, his career went downhill after that. It’s good to stop such things while they are still small and controllable. Once they get past that stage, you become a risk to yourself.
Discipline helps you choose between what you want NOW and what you want MOST. This factor –along with self control- is one of the biggest distinguishing factors between Man and animals. Animals excrete where and when they feel like, have sex at will, sleep whenever and wherever, can eat from whomever etc regardless of how they are perceived. Discipline teaches us that we don’t have to get it just because we want it; and it doesn’t have to be now.
If you are saving towards a project for instance and you see a nice shirt that you would love to have, discipline is what helps you take your eyes of the shirt and keep them on the ultimate goal – the project. There are many times when what we want now is an enemy of what we want most. The sex you want now (outside marriage) will fight against the beautiful future and fulfilment that you want most, the food you want now is often against the great physique you want most. I could go on and on.
The difference between where you are and where you desire to be is discipline. – Jim Rohn
Discipline shows in daily activities. Like every good virtue – excellence, character, and so on -, discipline is not shown only in the big time but essentially in our daily lives. It shows in activities like sleep, eating, words and every other thing we do.
It is believed that what we do consistently for 21 days becomes a habit; and it’s our habits that consequently chart the course of our lives. Please make a change in the things you do every day and watch your life change.
HOW TO IMBIBE DISCIPLINE
Be accountable – it’s important to submit yourself to someone for scrutiny. This seems to threaten our freedom and our sense of manliness but freedom without boundaries often leads to bondage. Empower someone to ask you what you are doing per time and why you are doing it. If you are married, your spouse MUST be able to play that role if something is not fundamentally wrong. I have serious concerns for people who claim to fear only God; it’s important to elevate someone to the level where he/she can call you to order if you are going astray.
Watch your relationships – the bible says ‘He who walks with the wise shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed’ (Proverbs 13:20). If you surround yourself with focused and responsible friends, discipline comes in a bit more easily. Many of the things we do are in our bid to be accepted by those we have around us. It is therefore crucial that we choose these friends carefully and not get into trouble. Ask yourself if you have up to four friends who will take a risk to see you live well like the paralyzed man in the bible (Mark 2:1-5). While you are stuck with the people God puts you with as family, friends are the family you have privilege of picking for yourself.
Have a clear picture of what you want out of life – one of the greatest things about a vision is its ability to alter your daily routine. If you want to be a professional dancer, you know you cannot afford to only dance in church on Sundays as that will not be enough. You will schedule dance practice into your daily routine and take dance from the level of leisure to the level of work.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book -‘The Outliers – the story of success’- opined that no one gets to the top of his or her trade until after 10,000 hours of practice have been invested. It is also believed that achievements are more easily made with the top-bottom approach in which you decide where you want to be and steadily work at it.
Tell yourself the truth and be firm with yourself – someone once said “a great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others”. You cannot claim to be disciplined when you don’t have a personal code of conduct and your mantra is “it doesn’t really matter”. It is important to have a set of rules for yourself that you dare not flout. These are called values. You must draw a line when it comes to regular things like words, diet, sleep, friends, parties, exercise etc. when you are talking too much and you are cautioned, don’t defend it; instead accept it and work on it. Same goes for every other thing.
Take the pains to grow yourself and you will see that everything else gets easier from then on. It is only after you have conquered yourself that you can conquer your world.
HOW TO GET AHEAD IN YOUR WORLD