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“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” ~ Jim Rohn
It’s been said that we should “follow the flow” and be doing things only when we feel inspired.
That by thinking positively, or connecting with the energy that we wish to manifest, we will receive the blessings that we were looking for.
In my own experience, I’ve seen that this—especially if not weighed against other principles—is not enough for me to reach my goals and biggest dreams.
Creating the life of our deepest desires, in fact, requires action, devotion, and self-discipline.
Independent thinkers or “rebels” may disregard discipline when imposed by an external force. However the type of self-discipline I’m introducing here is not the same, because it’s directed to the self. It’s practised to serve our personal goals.
I will call it devotion—a unique brand of discipline.
It is actually one of the most powerful gifts we can offer ourselves.
Here are five reasons you should love self-discipline and embrace it more right now:
1. Devotion increases one’s sense of self-esteem.
By setting clear goals and working toward them consistently, we strengthen the relationship we have with ourselves. We are doing everything in our power in order to reach what we want. Even if it “fails,” we will know that at least we did what we could to have it. We were fully in.
Devotion is extremely empowering. It focuses on the self as the central piece of our path, and doesn’t give much attention to the possible obstacles and setbacks that are outside of our control.
It says that no matter what the external circumstances may look like, we will remain devoted to what counts and therefore reach our destination. Discipline is a mindset. It is an attitude.
2. Devotion is a spiritual practise. It’s a practise of faith.
Discipline is valuing long-term goals over immediate pleasure. It is relinquishing the comfort that comes from only doing what we want in the present moment, for what we may get in the future. It’s like betting on life—understanding that by giving a little every day, we may end up harvesting a much bigger amount (if quantity is what’s sought after) or a much bigger quality of life.
It’s trusting that what is given will be given back. It’s understanding that the Universe seeks fairness and to send rewards to those who do their best, are all in, and come from the heart.
3. Devotion is loving, respecting, and honouring oneself to the highest degree.
Devotion to our art or goals is what turns the talented, promising, or gifted worker, artist, or thinker into someone who’s actually making something out of it. Someone who actually became the artist or the writer. Oftentimes, our talents require attention, time, and energy to truly develop. Devotion is like telling our greatest gifts: “I hear you. I see your talents. I’m supporting you. I’m giving you time, energy, or even a plan.”
Talents are the raw material, while devotion allows us to make the most of them.
Gifts are the seeds, while discipline is the water and sun that make them grow.
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” ~ Zig Ziglar
4. Devotion makes dreams come true.
When I first started to write, I was always overwhelmed by feelings of not being good enough or not adding anything to what’s already available online or in bookstores. Keeping my practise up—even in times of self-doubt, lack of success, or personal issues—is what allowed it to develop.
Discipline is giving things the time they need to blossom and grow. It’s providing them with the consistency and support that they need even when results are not there (yet).
It’s precisely the fact of imagining further and bigger than what’s visible right now, in this moment, which allows us to reach for more, while if we give up when our dream is only starting to take shape, we can be absolutely certain that we will never reach our goal.
5. Devotion softens efforts in time.
In time, practising devotion decreases daily efforts. By doing a little daily or weekly, a lot is done without having to provide massive amounts of work.
Paradoxically, discipline ends up becoming addictive. It is a game changer. It corresponds to spreading out the work and the necessary energy, therefore making efforts feel both smaller and easier while significantly increasing the probability of receiving the desired blessings (and even more).
If you resonate with this message, below are a few tips to develop your own practise of self-discipline:
Not all of your life or your days must fall under the discipline principle. It may only apply to one or two things daily—such as writing every morning, or walking one hour every day. It’s okay if the rest is free-flowing. These times are good as well because they allow to break the routine, regroup, and come back to our goals stronger afterward.
Give yourself realistic or even “small” daily goals (or weekly if you prefer). If one day the desire and the possibility are there, you can still make these goals bigger. It’s good to see big and have large goals in mind, but to keep you going daily, you’ll need smaller, short-term goals that will get you to the big one. Big goals can actually dishearten us because they may feel unattainable and too far ahead to be given energy to. Conversely, small ones are easier for the mind to connect to, and achieving them will build our self-esteem along the way.
Remember that you are doing this for yourself. Even it is uncomfortable or annoying, you are serving yourself. Devotion is a commitment to you.
When being disciplined, you will have good and bad days, but what matters is to keep it up. You’re not aiming at instant rewards—you are building your greatest life by consistently giving energy to it.
Devotion won’t take away your freedom. Conversely, it could be one of the healthiest skills helping you build your most authentic life. Your dreams require consistency: give them what they deserve.
“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” ~ Julie Andrews