What Does Discipline Mean to You?

When you hear the word “discipline”, what do you immediately think? What does it mean to you?

Does it bring up memories of your youth when you got out of line and your parents had to straighten you out? Maybe you have children and the word “discipline” makes you think about having to straighten out your kids. The word “discipline” in this case elicits a feeling of fear, frustration, anger, unhappiness or other negative emotions to thoughts.

For some, the thought of having a strict routine to follow could be accompanied by the word “discipline”. If this is your thought, the word “discipline” is a word that can elicit feelings of stress and anxiety, or it could elicit emotions of determination that lead to success. For those that think of discipline in the latter you are one of many who probably strive for and seek personal growth.

I was certainly one those people who thought of discipline in a negative light for many years and even more so when I became a step-father and my friends were all becoming parents. The word “discipline” is used ever so often when it comes to children, but I am not sure the action of disciplining is used enough these days, but that’s another story. However, over the last three years the word “discipline” has had a much different meaning.

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I now look at the word “discipline” in a positive light that is centered around personal growth and how it helps people reach their full potential. Before I get into the meat the article, what does discipline mean to you in regards to your personal growth?

As I read through “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell I can’t help but find his definition of discipline remarkable when it comes to personal growth – “the bridge between goals and accomplishments”.

When most of us hear the word discipline we sure don’t hear the word and say “I want to cross that bridge every day”. However, John makes a very, very valid point when he describes discipline as “the bridge between goals and accomplishments”. When I read that I had to stop and think about that for a minute. When people talk about goals and accomplishments most of us, or maybe it’s just me, tend to think about the actions that we need to take in order for those two things to happen but I am not sure we really think about the discipline that it will take, or again, maybe that’s just me.

After really thinking about John’s definition it became clear to me that discipline is the sole reason for one’s success or lack-there-of.  Think about it! How many of us think about the accomplishments we want to make and then set goals and before we know it we look at where we are at and find we have come up short. And when we think about why, we always find a reason but we hardly acknowledge or admit that our discipline wasn’t on point. “I really needed some time to get away”. “But the boss invited me out”. “Well it was my friends 30th birthday and I didn’t want to miss it”. “My show was on last night and I’ve been waiting all week to see it”.

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“The bridge between goals and accomplishments”. It really makes sense. How else can  we see our goals come to life? If your one of those people who reach all their goals, hit all your sales targets, climb the corporate ladder, I am almost certain you can look back and see that it was your discipline that got you where you are at. Long-term goals cannot be achieved without discipline, because what comes along with discipline is good habits. It’s the good habits that are built by discipline that get you up at 5:30am to get ahead of the competition, or help you persevere through the tough times, or enable you to gain recognition from your superiors.

When John says “that bridge must be crossed every day”, he is exactly right. We have to cross the discipline bridge every single day if we want to reach our full potential and see our goals and accomplishments come to life.  

With discipline comes all the good habits that lead to success – seeing goals and accomplishments come to fruition. At the same time, the lack of discipline and failing to cross that bridge every day will lead to bad habits which will inevitably lead to failure.

So I want to ask you, are you ready to cross the discipline bridge today?


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