The Importance of Discipline
Posted by Jonathan
We’re going to jump right in to the article today. This is a continuation of the article found here.
In the last article I talked about situations where people assign blame to their friends or family members for their unwillingness to make sacrifices to save them from the mess that they’ve created for themselves. Sometimes the mess is an inability to accomplish something important due to procrastination or lack of planning. Many times it’s a financial mess because they did not maintain a reasonable budget and stick to it.The shame of this is that these situations are the seeds of unnecessary strife and struggle in our lives today. Remember, we live in a world of more than enough. I’ve seen people who are very poor financially in American terms live rich, powerful lives because they handle their business.
There are three main ways that this behavior creates problems in our world. First, it makes life harder for the person who is engaging in the behavior (wasting money, placing blame) in the first place. Secondly, it creates stress in the life of the person who is the target of the request. Lastly, it creates strife and animosity between the two parties.
Worse than that, the person with a lack of discipline negatively impacts themselves and everyone around them.
Let’s delve into the first statement. I’m saying that the person who puts requirements on the people around them to support bad habits lives a harder life than someone who has more discipline. It’s almost counterintuitive. After all, it’s the person who procrastinates that gets to relax and not worry about things during the days and weeks before a deadline or due date. Anyone who has ever been on a diet will tell you that it’s harder to live a disciplined life than an undisciplined one. Plus, the procrastinator gets to rely on other people to pull them out of the mess instead of doing it themselves.
Even with all that, I believe the disciplined person has the easier life. Let’s go back to the diet example. When I lived a disciplined life things were much easier for me. Back then I didn’t have to make sure to ask for a table at a restaurant (knowing that I wouldn’t fit in a booth). I could ride roller coasters and enjoy amusement parks. I could play sports without breaking my ankles (and perform at a high level). The way it felt when girls did a double take was amazing. It was a life with no limits, but as soon as I lost my discipline all kinds of limits began to appear and life became less and less enjoyable.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this example is unique to weight loss. What about money management? A person who manages their money well may feel limited on a day to day basis in terms of what they can buy. But what they are really doing is breaking through the chains and bonds of debt that society encourages us to wrap around ourselves. Imagine the life you could lead if you didn’t have a car payment to make, if you didn’t have a house payment. What about the extra money you would have if you didn’t give extra money to your creditors every month for allowing you the privilege of owing them money (that’s interest folks). That’s a world where you can afford a vacation without struggling to pay for it. That’s a world where you can give generously to people who you love. That’s a world where you can retire early and spend the rest of your life doing what you want instead of what you have to do. You tell me, who’s living the harder life? The 50 year old who travels around the world and volunteers 20 hours a week at their local church or the person who has to find a second job in their 70’s and borrow money from their kids to make ends meet? I know which one seems easier to me! That freedom is the fruit of discipline.
Let’s not forget about how much it hurts our pride to ask for money. Let’s not forget how painful it is when someone realizes that they’ve alienated all of their friends and that they are alone in the world. And by all means, let us not forget that sometimes no one can help you and you have to take your medicine. Sometimes you have no car because it’s been repossessed. Sometimes you have no house because of foreclosure. These are the things that are painful. These are the fruits of an undisciplined life.
What about the person who is being put upon by the requestor? They have two different kinds of stress that they are forced to deal with in this event. First, they can decline their friend or family member’s request. I bet some of you already know how much fun this option is. As the other person tells the story you get to deal with the pleasure of multiple people pressuring you not to be so rigid. You get to deal with guilt trips from other people. Say for example that your cousin’s house has been foreclosed. Everybody in the family is chipping in to get Cousin Jimmy back on his feet and get his house back. Your brother put up some money, your mother put up some money. But you remember all of the money that Jimmy has wasted. You look at your own savings account that you’ve worked hard and sacrificed to build. You don’t think that cousin Jimmy is the one who should enjoy the fruit of your sacrifice, particularly since you know that he’s going to find himself right back in the same position. So you refuse. Have fun with that. Have fun with your family accusing you of being a snob and your cousin poisoning people against you.
Or, you could be the super nice guy and chip in. You take your money and help out poor cousin Jimmy. That was the money that you were using as seed money for your firstborn’s college fund, or your needed house repair, or your first vacation in three years. A few months down the road when you’re still working overtime to make up for that money you can’t help but growl when you get a text from Jimmy inviting you to the kegger at his place even though he doesn’t have a job at the moment. How much do you think you’ll enjoy Jimmy’s company after that, or the company of the rest of your family for that matter? And this is fair why? You’ve found yourself with strained family relations, a strained budget and a strained back from working late all for the sake of Cousin Jimmy. Thanks for that lose/lose situation Jimmy. We all appreciate being put in that situation.
That leads us right into the third way that the behavior is troubling, the strife it causes between you and Cousin Jimmy. This strife didn’t need to exist. You and Jimmy were great friends growing up and you could have been a blessing to each other as you got older. But that’s ruined now. Instead you really don’t want to see Jimmy or hear from him regardless of whether you gave in or not. That’s why it’s a lose/lose situation. Whether you choose to help or not to help it leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth and an uncomfortable change in relationships with your friends and family members.
I’m not even going to get into the other things that go wrong in this world because of a lack of discipline. I’m not going to talk about the life of crime that Jimmy might turn to in order to make some money if he can’t get anybody to give it to him. I’m not going to talk about the tax burden on the people to support Jimmy when he can’t make ends meet and looks to the government for a helping hand.
I am going to wrap it up here. I’ve probably already beaten this dead horse a little too long. It boils down to this. The disciplined life seems harder, but it isn’t. It’s harder to deal with the ramifications of a lack of discipline. Worse than that, the person with a lack of discipline negatively impacts themselves and everyone around them.
I’d say that’s a good enough reason to make a change, wouldn’t you?
Posted on March 30, 2012, in Personal Development and tagged blame, discipline, financial mess, lack of discipline, money, Money management, Procrastination, savings account, social burden, strife, struggle, Weight loss, welfare. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.