My wife, Rosie, grew up as the youngest child of a family of eight children. Her father was a shift worker at Standard Oil. Her mother stayed home to raise the kids. They never had much money. It seemed there was never enough food, so you had to be quick to get what you could. Clothes were home made and/or hand-me-downs and never as nice as your friends’ clothes.
So it’s no surprise that Rosie has always looked at life as one with a scarcity and one where if you had the means, you should never keep anything back from yourself or your children. You should always eat whatever you want, do what you want to do and have whatever you want. Discipline, of course, is akin to keeping something back. Discipline means not always eating what you want, doing what you want to do or having whatever you want. So, discipline is, effectively, a 4-letter word that you don’t want around.
On the other hand, I grew up in a family that always had enough. We had enough to eat, enough to share and, though as the youngest of 6 children I, too, wore hand-me-downs, I really never felt a lack of anything. We were taught to sacrifice now for what we wanted later. My brothers and I were all competitive swimmers. We worked hard to become the best swimmers we could be, so we could compete in the State championships. Our high school in Salt Lake City, East High, had one of the best swimming teams in the State year in and year out.
We also worked hard at school, sacrificing time with friends to get good grades. Consequently, we were all “A” students.
So you see that for me, self-discipline has always brought rewards where with Rosie, it meant depriving yourself. (You can imagine this was a bit difficult while we were raising our children.)
I continue to see the benefits of self-discipline. I’m working hard right now to prepare for my triathlon in two weeks. I believe my self-discipline will pay off and I will race faster than I ever have before.
I’m about to head off to the Rich Dad Tuesday meeting where the first thing we will read is the Rich Dad mission statement, “I Am The Rich Dad Company.” One of the lines is that “I demand hard work today for freedom and happiness tomorrow.”
How do you feel about discipline? Does it mean deprivation to you like it does my wife or does it signal future success? Let me know. I’m interested in hearing from you about this.