100 things I wish my Dad had taught me. Episode 10. “The pain of regret is greater than the pain of self discipline.”

Hi this is Robot Man. Sorry I’m late getting to the studio to record this, I went out last night and had a few drinks with friends. Damn, and I missed my gym session this morning too. I really wish I didn’t go out last night, those guys just throw hell to the wind and I get sucked in every time. We also went on a holiday once to the Bahamas and that was a total nightmare too. My training and running went out the window and I fell way behind in my work. Anyway let’s get started. What is today all about? “The pain of regret is greater than the pain of self discipline.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Hi, it’s Chris again.

My Dad did teach me this. He tried. And he was a great teacher. He was so disciplined. And so was i. Even at 15 I had a gym setup in the garden and would train on weights daily, write it in a book I kept and also monitor my diet daily. I read copious numbers of books about performance and weights and diet and even measured my biceps. I worked at three jobs, and managed a squash court, trampoline centre. The unfortunate thing about all this was I neglected my school work, for which I had little ambition.

Discipline is a powerful friend. But it can have its downside. The first is easy to acknowledge, and that is the self-dishonesty it creates. It seems discipline is also a way to shield ourselves from any question that what we are disciplined about is really, honestly, going to lead to the outcome we expect. Like my gym training and admiration of body builders and footy players. The discipline was commendable, but I was never ever going to have the staying power to muscle my way through those competitions and be at the level I was deluding myself about.

The second downside of discipline is that it can focus on things we regret. Short term things. For example: how many people do you know who train for and compete in an Ironman triathlon? We all know the work they put in. Diet, training, physiotherapy, shoes, money, time, effort. And that’s building their self something up. Twenty years later they’ll ask themselves that million dollar question, WHY? WHY? WHY? as they hobble with arthritis to the ATM to pay for another doctors visit. Now, we all know the benefits of training and being fit, especially if we are wanting to earn an income from triathlon. But the average Joe or Mary, is better to focus on diet, a bit of supervised Gym, yoga and few fun sports and mild cardio. They’ll live longer and achieve their other goals in the process.

Discipline can therefore be misdirected which leads me to another drawback of it. The justified stupid. Justified stupid is when an obese person walks around the block at great effort, then consumes the equivalent to a mid west American hotel breakfast, which is enough to fuel a city in energy as justified eating. Or the corporate guy who trains for triathlon in the morning and consumes coffee and red bull all day to stay awake at work. Justified stupid is the worst downside of discipline, extreme behaviour. When I owned a yoga business, one of the many I’ve owned, I used to laugh out loud when, at the end of a class everyone would be sooooooooo relaxed and loving to each other. Until. Until someone took too long in the shower and made others late for work. One guy would be in the shower for 10 or more minutes. I think he was shaving his legs or something and the queue outside would be agitated. Discipline on one side of nice went to the other really quickly.

The quote “The pain of regret is greater than the pain of self discipline.” is so true. But it’s important to think more long term about what you want to be disciplined about and what you don’t. It’s good to have short term discipline about long term outcomes. When you go into a candy shop with the kids and there’s that treat sitting on the shelf calling your name, you can approach the decision to buy it or not in two ways.

First you can be disciplined. No. I promised myself no treats because I think sweets and junk eats are bad for me. The second is, that I don’t want to be fat. The good bad scenario could be for long term result or just a judgement on sweets. The sweets are innocent so there’s no good going to come from labelling them. Better to have a long term outcome that short term sweet eating will not support.

And, here’s the rub. Same with people. People, like sweets are just events. No use judging them. They are innocent doing their thing. But there’s long term outcomes you have that, if you hang out with those people, will not be achieved. The discipline to say no does not require you to accuse the people of being right or wrong or good or bad, the only thing is asking what you want in life, where you are going in life, and does spending ten minutes with that person get you there?

This is a key at work. Sometimes you have to have meetings with people. Well all the time. If you find yourself not liking someone, then you’ve made a sweet the enemy. The sweet, the person is innocent. An event. And if you are calling them good or bad, right or wrong in order to keep yourself immune from them and their ways, you’re really using discipline in a toxic way. Instead, you might ask: what’s my ambition, what’s my 12 month goal or 5 year goal and how does this person impact that. If the answer is not at all, then minimise the meeting time to 10 minutes. If the answer is everything, then 30 minutes is wiser. And you’ll need discipline for both choices.

The discipline not to judge people but to, instead, change your mind about them and instead of judging them, ask how does this person impact my goals, is wise. There’s a tool in Innerwealth Technologies for this. Applying that tool daily requires discipline, more discipline than training for an Ironman Triathlon, but the long term benefits, of mental and emotional health and success and financial wealth are higher than arthritis and back pain.

“The pain of regret is greater than the pain of self discipline.” but please be aware of applying this and in so doing locking yourself into a short term goal that ignores the long term drawback and missing the target on things that matter in your values chain far more.

That’s it for today,

With Spirit.


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