Wednesday, 22 August 2007

“Don’t have a wishbone where your backbone should be!”

There is an old story about a man who went to a tattooist because he had always wanted a tattoo of a lion on his back. The tattooist started to sketch the tail into the man’s torso: ‘Ouch! What are you doing?’ asked the man. ‘I’m doing the lion’s tail’ replied the tattooist. ‘Well then for goodness sake let’s have a lion without a tail!’ said the man, wincing in pain. Next the artist set about on the Lion’s whiskers. ‘Ouch!’ cried the man, ‘What’s that?’ ‘The whiskers!’ said the tatooist, getting increasingly irritated. ‘Well let’s have a lion without whiskers!’ moaned his customer. The tattooist then set about doing the Lion’s back. ‘No that hurts too!’ shouted the man. At this, the tattooist finally lost patience with the man's lack of self discipline. Throwing down his tools and the man out of his shop he shouted, ‘How can you expect to get what you want without a little discomfort?’

Self-discipline is the key
To achieve what we want will involve self-discipline to take us out of the comfort zone into a time period and area of growth until we reach a new level of success which then becomes our new normal comfort zone. Going backwards will then become uncomfortable.

If you lose 20kg you feel so much more comfortable in your clothes and when moving around. It will require self-discipline and effort to lose the weight but putting the weight back on will then feel uncomfortable.

Develop the muscle of self-discipline
Like anything, if you practice self-discipline, you exercise the muscle so that it becomes stronger. If we go through life doing only what we want, when we want and not doing anything we do not feel like doing, you can imagine how easy it would be to degenerate. Nobody actually wants to empty the rubbish or clean out their car or give up time to learn new skills but think of the consequences if no one made an effort.

Personally, I feel satisfied when I have cleared out some clutter or some other boring task.

We live in an age where everything is made to look easy. Think of those exercise workouts on the Californian beach with everyone moving effortlessly with a permanent smile on their face. My 30 minutes on a treadmill three times a week in my local gym is not so glamorous and neither do I grin all the way through but I go out in the rain, listen to get-up-and-go music, get hot and sweaty and feel good for making the effort. The result shows slowly but surely. It takes self-discipline. Anyone can buy an exercise machine but you burn up more calories using it rather than just dusting it.

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments."
- Jim Rohn

© Antonia Stuart-James 2007

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