I participated in a lively discussion on Facebook with someone who opened up the debate by asking: “Discipline – do what’s right and necessary before what’s fun & easy – you got any thoughts?” Oh boy, did I have thoughts!
I started in with a relatively peaceful “I’ve done it that way all my life but I’m swapping over now that my egg timer might be the other way up. And I find it works better, to my surprise. Now my watchword is ‘when it’s right, it’s easy’. My days of struggle are so over.”
A client (and friend) weighed in next, agreeing with me. I’ve seen that wonderful woman struggle over the years, but no more struggle for her either. And neither of us would shy away from hard work or discipline if we believed that’s what it takes. We just don’t believe that any more. We’ve seen the light. Our grass is greener.
A handful of others piled in, mainly on the anti-discipline side of the argument. Most of them we were women, although a couple of men were with us too. But as the day wore on, none of us were successful in changing the mind of the originator of the discussion. And I’m not surprised, because until the last few years I used to believe that too, that success in anything takes discipline.
In the end I had to content myself with the idea that one day he’d get it. I believe the penny will ultimately drop once hard work takes its inevitable toll on everything from peace of mind and happy relationships to health, well-being and profits.
Now I know that when it’s right, it’s easy. Any sense that I am going to have to be disciplined is a sure sign to me that I am about to struggle and probably do the wrong thing, or do the right thing the wrong way.
Wayne Dyer introduced me to a book called Power vs Force by David R. Hawkins; discipline falls into the category of force and ease into power. Following an increasingly spiritual path on my journey to enlightenment through personal development, I now notice things (sometimes too late) which are signs to me that a particular choice is going to involve discipline and struggle and that another route might be easier, possibly faster and definitely all-round better.
I notice that I am guided along that easy path. I notice that my intuitive soul wants ease for me. I notice that Deepak Chopra believes in effortless ease too and where’s the discipline in that?
My Facebook friend concluded his argument by saying “the more money that comes in, the more responsibility there is. And the fun and easy green grass just ain’t there unless [there’s] delayed gratification”.
Nope, I don’t believe in those two either. Sorry, me old mate. When more money comes in, that’s just quantum, the size of the figures makes no difference. And I don’t believe in delayed gratification, quite the reverse. I’m with Tim Ferriss on this one, enjoy life now, today. Take mini-retirements. You’re a long time dead.
Those clients who tell me there’s no money because they’ve reinvested it all in their businesses, well they simply haven’t made enough profit, that’s all. If you delay gratification too long you just become disillusioned and wither on the vine. We go to work for all sorts of reasons and our ego needs gratification as much as our bank account but without both being soothed with the appropriate reward, we won’t last long. We need to feel that we are doing something worthwhile and doing it well and that we are being recompensed for it now, not sometime never.
Hardship? Non merci.
These are outdated concepts with which I was also brought up in different times after the war. There remains more than a grain of truth in all of them, but as we advance in business we realise that success doesn’t necessarily have to involve discipline unless we continue to choose that belief. There really are other easier choices which work just as well if not better, much better in my experience.
Effortless ease does not mean I am not working, just that I am not using discipline to do it. I do what I want, navigating by desire, and it works awesome. My grass is green today and every day and I take my gratification today too, whilst also laying down plenty for the future.
It’s just a mindset, a choice, a thought, and any of those can be changed in the blink of an eye. And maybe that’s when we see the light.