I hated self- help books. Let me just put it out there. I always thought about the authors were just putting out there self-promotional work that would just look good on their CVs and hopefully make them some money.
For the most part, I also found the exercise of reading them simply boring. It was exercise, that’s what I am trying to say. Pass!
I mean,I love to read but it has to be fiction mostly. It has to be something, I now realize, that helps me escape my world. To exist in some other fantastical place. To be someone other than myself for a while. That’s partly why I read and still do.
So if reading could take care of other parts of myself like my career, family, goals, finances, my relationships, that’s pretty much all I would do. But we all know it doesn’t work that way…
I have known for a while now that there were things in my life that needed fixing. I’ve been sitting on my arse in that help-will-come space for such a long time I didn’t know how to get out.
Anyway my help, came in a form of this book which came to me, purely by accident. Brian Tracy’s The Power of Self-Discipline came to me simply because my younger brother was awarded it for being a reigning and record holder for Discus in his school team. He came to show it his mother and left it on her bed like i knew he would. So i picked it and said “Ugh.. another self-help book.” I stared at it for a while and then took it with me. The idea was that at some point I could convince myself to read it.
Surprisingly, i started to read it and I must say i’m glad i did. Now there is a difference between a book telling you something you don’t know and a book telling something you kind-of know, well. The latter category is always the one that hits hardest, because it is the very thing you don’t want to hear, but you’ve never really heard it put that way.
So I’m going to share five fundamental things, Brian Tracy’s “The Power of Self-Discipline, No Excuses” is teaching me.
Self-Discipline — It’s obvious isn’t it? I think for too long, I have under-estimated what this is and what it means to have a fulfilling like. I mean yes, when you know you have an exam to write, no one tells you to study continuously until exam day comes, or when you have a deadline at work, a report to give in, no one tells you how quickly or efficient you need to be to get that report in. But when it comes using adapting a continuous action that isn’t compelled because there is an authority hanging over your head;when it isn’t because you have to do it because of a foreseeable consequence, how well do we apply ourselves? Are we self-dicsiplined? Like setting a goal to lose an amount of weight, or picking up a new craft, or learning to save up some money? How well do we apply ourselves when it is self-initiated goal? I know i have struggled heavily in this regard.I know there are a dozen things i could have done if i hadn’t always chosen how i feel over what’s necessary.
Responsibility — Tracy’s take on responsibility, I have to admit, changes my whole mentality of it. First of all I have now learnt the scope of what it means to be responsible in terms of anything I partake in. If I am cleaning the house, or spending money,or working with someone on a project, I need to fully understand my commitment to that thing and the full effect of my actions and inactions that determine the success of that task. In other words, even when a goal I have undertaken falls through, through no fault of mine, I need to understand that there were always different ways that I could tried to make it work. Instead of blaming the other party for the failure, which is the easiest and most obvious thing to do, the question I need to ask myself is, “How could I have or what can I do to make this better.?”
I mean, I know there are many scenarios where this is very hard to do. Imagine you have a deadline that needs someone else’s follow up phone call, email, signature,or reminder to push things through and that person fails to carry out what they need to do, how do you take responsibility for this? Here’s the thing I understand about responsibility now, however: owning up to a situation doesn’t mean you definitely did something wrong, it only means you give yourself back the control you need to fix the situation.Your thinking now would be “Ok, this didn’t turn out well, I accept that. What can I do now to fix the problem? Now tell me isn’t a great way to think?
Being Clear on goals and believing in them — I’ve always been fuzzy about what career path I wanted to take. For me, although I have always known that writing would open the doors I want to knock down,I’ve never been clear about what specifically those writing goals were. Partly because I didn’t believe in them. I didn’t take it seriously because I felt society and family required me to be more than that. Does that make sense? Everybody I know believed I was going to be a lawyer. There’s still a part of me that is pretty sure I could make a pretty good lawyer. Thing is,there is also a part of me that knows that I would only practice law because I have to. Because it is the natural turn of events even though I may hate it. So I got the law forms and guess what? I never applied. Not because I wouldn’t get it, but I hadn’t really thought it through. Is this what I wanted? I didn’t know. It’s never a goal I’ve written down. It’s not a goal i have prayed about. It’s something I wanted to do because everyone wanted me to. The thing I AM certain about however, is that exhilarating feeling I get when I writing. Whether it’s fiction or fact, I know and remember the smile on my face. I know the thrill of planning how an article I’m going to write and I know the panic attacks I get when I’m reading good stuff and I know I’m just not writing nearly enough. That is an ambition I am pretty clear on. If you can believe it, I have only just began to truly believe that if I pursue this well, I will have found my calling. That is a beautiful thought.
The Dangers of Entitlement — The blame game comes in many different forms and the more I read Tracy’s “The Power of Self-Discipline, No Excuses” I realize that many people including myself have at one point felt this way. There are many of us who grew up thinking I am going to be successful because they deserve to be. Maybe they come from wealthy families, or got a good education or were just told that they were going to do big things. Even though none of these are bad, it is quite silly to expect that the natural course for you is to be great, without living a life that requires discipline and repetitive actions that is required for you to be what you want to be. I am not sure if I have ever thought this way but I certainly do not now. I have seen people come from absolutely nothing to just being everything they never thought they could be. The point is, it’s better to approach life believing that you are only going to sow what you reap. Your outcome is pretty much determined by your inputs. You will get what you put in, not what you’re entitled to.
Everything is possible — Yup. All this you have ever wanted is looking right there at you if you are prepared to do what is necessary to achieve it. There are proven methods and the right attitude to get what you need done. No one magically moves from Team A to Team B and though some peoples paths might’ve been easier than yours, they need just as much discipline and resilience to maintain that success. So at the end we are all fighting the same battle. Our attitudes, our choices and most of all our discipline will determine those who succeed and those who won’t.
It’s that simple, really.