Sunday, April 10, 2011

On Work, Discipline, and Being Fully Alive

Discipline…it’s always been one of my least favorite words.  The sound of it conjures up the image of a thin, well-toned woman, eating a salad after her 2 hour workout.  After lunch she’ll clean the house, clip the coupons, weed the garden, and do the laundry (including actually putting the clean clothes away) before the kids get home from school.  She’ll then help them with their homework and sit with them to play a game before cooking a 3-course healthy, balanced meal for the family.  She’ll go to bed at night feeling “good tired” and wake up early the next day to have her 1 hour quiet time before beginning her day.  

I don’t dislike this woman personally…she’s probably a wonderful friend.  She’ll never forget your birthday, she’ll always fulfill her promises to you, and she’ll never have halitosis because she brushes and flosses after every meal and snack. 

What I don’t like is…
  • how this woman’s life reminds me of my own lack of discipline.  I thought about exercising today…I actually think about it every day…does that count for nothing??
  • the “less-than” feeling that comes over me when I see someone who lives a life of discipline.
  • the sense of “ugh” that I feel when I think about how I should be more disciplined
Last week on the Re:create cruise, Michael Hyatt and Ken Davis each talked about the value of work and discipline in creativity and in life.  (Click on their names to link to their blogs, where you can read more from each of them on these subjects)  While listening to these men talk about those two words…work and discipline…one of which actually is a four-letter word and another one that should be…I unexpectedly felt something change inside of me. 

Instead of the “ugh” of laziness, I felt the movement of motivation. 
Instead of the pressure of “I have to,” I felt the excitement of “I get to”.

Instead of focusing on the act of disciplined work, I began to feel motivated by the results of disciplined work.  The words are still the same, but my focus has shifted.
  • Rather than dreading the act of exercise (because it usually isn’t great fun), I can be motivated by the results of exercise…physically living life more fully alive!
  • Rather than putting off the act of writing (because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t feel like really thinking, or I don’t think I’m good enough), I can be motivated by the results of writing…emotionally and mentally living life more fully alive!
  • Rather than prioritizing sleep over the act of waking up for a morning quiet time (because, like Ken Davis, I do not do well on less than 8 hours of sleep), I can be motivated by the results of the quiet time…spiritually living life more fully alive!
John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. 

To the FULL…don’t miss that…to the FULL!  But that takes work and discipline…no one who just sits around all day is taking full advantage of the life he has been given. 

So my challenge to you (and to myself) is this…go…work…be disciplined…and live life fully alive!

Question:  What "fully alive" experiences are you missing out on because don't want to do the disciplined work that it takes to get there?


  1. Great post, Kim. I like your subtle shift in focus. It makes a difference!

  2. This is really good, Kim.

    "Instead of the “ugh” of laziness, I felt the movement of motivation.
    Instead of the pressure of “I have to,” I felt the excitement of “I get to”."


    Taking the first step toward what you want is THE hardest of all the steps. It's much much easier to just "sit around."

    You are right.

    Get up, and in the words of NIKE, "Just do it!"

    Answer to your question: For me it may be going back to school. I would like to get my LMFT degree.

  3. Thanks for the posy Kim. The trick is sustainment. Everyone can force themselves up one day (the ugh approach). it's the next day that takes the discipline most of us lack. That's where this shift in focus will carry you through - you won't be forcing it, but embracing it. That's the key and I think you've found it! great post! thank you!

    BTW, to answer the Q. I need to get my MS in accounting... ugh...