Over the past couple of days, I have explained the downside of self discipline and my wife's argument for not depriving yourself of life's little luxuries. Now, I would like to present the other side of self discipline and even argue that you don't have to deprive yourself of anything now and you can still have what you are striving for in the future.
Self discipline begins with a goal or a dream. What are we trying to accomplish in our life? Whether it's being physically fit, financially free, or having time for our children, self discipline is the key to ALL of life's accomplishments. As Robert Kiyosaki says, “we demand hard work today for financial freedom tomorrow.” All athletes will tell you that it takes hard work today to win the race tomorrow. And certainly, making time for our children requires the highest of self discipline. Not because we don't want to make time for them; because other things get in the way rather easily and if we don't discipline ourselves, our times flies out the window never to return and we miss those little moments with our kids.
You have all heard these arguments before and you are still saying, “yes, but you said we could eat our cake too!” That's right. And here is the secret (don't tell anybody).
The best goals always bring with them the best journeys.
That's right. The goal is the motivation, the reward. The journey that goes along with accomplishing the goal is the real benefit. So the key is to have goals that produce great journeys. Let me give you an example.
Suppose your goal is to lose weight and become physically fit. Your target then may be competing in a triathlon or running a marathon. The journey is the daily workouts. These workouts produce both current and future benefits. The current benefit comes from more energy, produced by the workouts as well as the endorphins you generate with the workout. An old friend of mine, Coulam Monk, used to tell me that working out really didn't take any time because it both extended our life and improved our efforts at everything else during the day.
So how can we apply this to your financial goals and dreams? Quite simply, you should find a type of investing and determine the appropriate role you play in that investing that is fun and enjoyable for you. I know many people who dread working out because they do things working out that they aren't good at and don't enjoy. My workouts are heavy on swimming and biking because I love to swim and I love to ride my bike.
The same holds true for investing. I know many people who invest in something because they have been told it's a good investment. Here's another secret.
You can make money at any investment. It's just how you do the investing that determines how much money you will make. And the more you enjoy an investment, the better you will be at that investment and the more fun you will have doing it. I love business and I love to teach. So, I have developed my business into one in which I spend a lot of time teaching. And I make money at it!!!
Self discipline is so much easier when you enjoy what you are doing. Then, it's just a matter of sticking with your priorities. You will enjoy life more (the journey) and at the same time will reach your dreams better and faster.
So, the key to self discipline is finding a discipline you enjoy, setting your goals and sticking with it. Life is good all around.