"We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment."
I remember being told many, many times over the course of my life that all I needed for (fill-in-the-blank) was "a little discipline." From that, I learned that I must be weak-willed, and unable to do the things that other people were doing quite naturally.
The thing is, the fact that discipline IS (and always has been) what is required, is just as true as the fact that discipline is NOT easy - and never has been - for anyone.
If it were, artists wouldn't be tortured or depressed when inspiration fails, the entire human race would be at the weight that nature wanted them to be, we would all excel at whatever our hearts desired, and there would be no credit card debt.
Having written that, I can admit to knowing ONE person who is a shining star on all those fronts. One. And he is a success in his life, and an inspiration as a friend, except when I'm down and letting emotions, disappointments, or struggles get the best of me.
At that point, when all I want is a magic elixir to make everything right - poof - the best I can do for myself is to take the next right step. And it doesn't have to be a big one.
But I must take one.
And then tomorrow, another.
(For me, it doesn't seem to matter what it is...but surely something I don't feel like doing.)
And this is where reward of discipline shows itself, and its benefits are revealed in enormous proportion to the seemingly small effort I had to force myself to make. (And yes, I DO have to force it.)
When I'm envious of my friend, seeing the end product of a lifetime of discipline, I have to remember that it is the result of a first step, and then another, day after day, year after year, whether he wants to or not. And that habit is just as strong as the habit of it's inverse, procrastination, sloth, fearful laziness.
OK, so I've taken this step of writing a blog post for the week this morning - heavens...even before coffee - and know that it will lead to another step I won't want to take today, but will.
And I know that I will have dodged the "pain of regret and disappointment" just for today.