It’s not what we don’t know that holds us back, it’s what we know but don’t do that holds us back.
The greatest gap we will ever face in life is between knowing and doing. This gap is what separates the Doers and Don’ters. It’s the great divide that only a few successfully get across. Everyone knows how to lose weight, but few actually do what is necessary to eat right and exercise. Everyone knows how to save money, but few deny themselves immediate gratification for future opportunities. Everyone knows how to be more courageous, but few step out of their familiar comforts. You see, the only way to bridge the gap between knowing and doing is discipline.
Discipline is the bridge between where you are and where you want to go. It is the hinge on which success swings. The more you have, the wider the door of opportunity opens. The less you have, the narrower your opportunities will be.
Here is a practical definition of what Discipline is:
The means to get what you really want even when you don’t want to do the thing necessary to get it.
Zig Ziglar said, “If you do what you need to do when you need to do it, then the day will come when you can do what you want to do when you want to do it.”
Your discipline will grow when these things are happening in your life…
1) When Your WHY Is Greater Than Your WHY NOT
You’ll be successful when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. By telling yourself that you can do something, your brain will go to work figuring out how to make it a reality. But if you tell yourself you can’t do something, your brain will go to work figuring out every excuse to make that belief a reality as well. We are excuse filled machines always trying to take the path of least resistance, which can be good in some ways, but backfires on us in many other ways. In order to live life to the fullest, we can’t let our brain do what it wants…we have to transform our brain to operate in a way that moves from surviving mode to thriving mode.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
When you eliminate excuses you liberate your potential. Transform what you tell yourself and you’ll transform what you can do. When your why is compelling, it creates a pathway of discipline. We only change our behavior when our fundamental belief about our behavior changes. The benefit of changing must surpass the comfort of staying.
2) When Your FIFO Is Greater Than Your FOMO
FOMO is a buzzword that has recently appeared in our culture meaning Fear Of Missing Out. Our society is plagued with people feeling like they are on the outside looking in. With everyone’s highlight reel of their best moments on social media others unnecessarily become discouraged with their own life. FOMO can cause you to make rash decisions in the moment. It causes a play now, play later cycle of life.
Rather than suffering from FOMO people need to be guiding by what I call “FIFO”…Faith In Future Opportunities. Discipline grows when you believe that there is something better in the future than what you experience in the present. People that have a strong sense of FIFO tend to pay now in order to play later. They see the future with optimism and hope. This causes them to delay their instant gratification for future greatness. Throughout the 60s and 70s Walter Mischel conducted testing at Stanford University that become known as the Marshmallow Test. Children were put in a room by themselves with one single marshmallow. They were told they could choose to either eat the marshmallow immediately or wait for an extended amount of time and receive more. Only 3 out of 10 children could resist the urge to eat the marshmallow instantly. What’s fascinating is that 30 years after the study was completed research was done to determine what happened to the test subjects later in life as adults. They found that they “Delayers” were predominately more successful in life overall. However, the “Non-Delayers” were 30% more likely to be overweight, suffer from drug addictions, and have a record of criminal activity. When there is a sense of hope for the future, there is a surge of power in the present.
3) When Your COMMITMENT Is Greater Than Your CIRCUMSTANCE
Inner commitments create external guardrails. When you make a pre-commitment to a certain behavior it is much easier to be disciplined to follow through in the moment. When you give yourself an “if this happens, then I will…” type of commitment it can keep you in the lane of discipline. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and are going to a party that you know will have tons of desserts tempting you, you can make an internal commitment that says, “If I am offered dessert, I will politely turn it down and drink a glass of water.” Or if you are going shopping you could say, “If I see something over my allotted budget, I will not purchase it until I save the money in cash.” When you are faced with temptation you can say, “If I see __________ (fill in the blank) I will leave the environment immediately.” Or when someone hurts you, you could say, “If someone intentionally or unintentionally puts me down, I will choose to forgive them no matter what.” Deciding to walk in forgiveness before someone hurts you will remind you to respond in humility rather than having a knee-jerk reaction in the moment. The secret to making good choices is to make the choice before you have to make the choice. Commitment on the front-end helps you follow through on the back-end.