We all have ideas about what we want to get out of life but why is it that some people just seem to have an easier time at it? Well the truth is, it’s not necessarily easy for anyone, it’s just that some people have figured out sooner than others what I am about to tell you.
You may have thought to yourself at one time or another, “if only I had the will power” or, “I really wish I had more self-discipline” or, “someday I am going to discover my full potential”.
It is so important to realize that you already have will power, self-discipline, potential and more! You already possess everything it takes to live the life of your dreams. If you think that “it” (whatever “it” is) is something outside of yourself, untouchable by you or, unavailable to you, then you will remain stuck just where you are.
Your life will begin to change for the better the minute you stop thinking about what you don’t have and start living with what you do have.
By virtue of the fact that you are a living, breathing human being, you have will. The power of your will is ignited when you recognize that you have the power to choose. The simple definition of “will” is “choice”. You can choose what kind of food to eat, whether to exercise or be sedentary, how much sleep to get. It is the outcome of those choices that you leave you feeling either satisfied or dissatisfied with your life.
Self-discipline is simply doing what needs to be done whether you want to or not. You exercise self-discipline every time you brush your teeth, drive a car, go to work or school. You have self-discipline. And the great thing about self-discipline is that it is willing to work for you on auto-pilot if you develop a habit (which generally takes 21 – 31 days). Successful people have accepted that some things in life can only be achieved by becoming disciplined in an area that is outside of their comfort zone. Some goals require taking a new class, or joining a health club, or keeping a food diary. The very thought of doing something different for the first time can be very uncomfortable for most of us but, once you start doing it, your self-discipline rewards you with success.
Self-mastery is about subordinating your lower will to a higher will. Remember how I said that will is choice. Sometimes we consciously make choices while our subconscious is saying “you really shouldn’t do that”. Whether it’s gossiping about a co-worker or eating unhealthy foods. Most of the time we know the right thing to do but because we don’t understand self-mastery, we just go with our impulses. Self-mastery is listening to that little voice in your head that is guiding your will. You first have to recognize that it’s there and then listen to it and respond by taking the high road (by not gossiping or declining the cookie).
Self-control is about resisting urges and impulses that are contrary to achieving your goals. For example, if you have a goal to work-out at the gym on a given day, but your friends call and beg you to go shopping with them instead, that’s where your self-control comes in. Self-control is about resisting the urge to abandon your goal for something that seems more instantly gratifying but leaves you rife with regret later on.
Patience is about waiting on God, or the Universal Spirit’s, perfect timing. Sometimes we don’t get what we want because we can’t see the change we need to make, and it takes time to finally see it. This is the point at which most people give up instead of choosing to be patient. It is only by being patient with the process that we learn what’s holding us back.
Never, ever give up. You have an endless supply of potential inside of you right now, every minute of every day. There is no key out there to unlock it and it’s not hiding anywhere waiting to be found. It is front and center. You exercise your potential everyday, some days you max it out and other days you don’t. To live life well you need to realize that your potential is never exhausted. Persistence is what comes into play when we lose our desire to max out our potential, or in other words, give up. When you are feeling weak or unmotivated, this is the time to call on persistence to get you through this temporary downward cycle until things start cycling upwards again.
A Closing Story.
Everyday a young boy would go on a bike ride with his father and, everyday the father would ask the boy what route he wanted to take and, everyday the boy would say the same thing. He wanted to try riding to the top of the butte. One day the boy was on a bike ride with his father and they were pedaling along their usual route. The winding road was especially beautiful on this perfect spring day. The meadows on both sides of the road were green with lush new grass and wild flowers were in full bloom alongside the road. Up ahead he could see the snow capped butte that he had tried many times before bicycling to the top. Day after day he and his father only made it about two-thirds of the way up. But today, he decided, was going to be different; he was going to make it all the way to the top no matter what. He had slept well the night before, he ate a good breakfast and he was ready to go. Excited and full of energy they headed out for their bike ride, but sure enough about two-thirds of the way up, they came to a screeching halt. Finally, like a bolt of lightening, it occurred to him what was the problem. He shouted to his father, who was in the front seat of the tandem bicycle that they were riding, he didn’t want to do it this way anymore. He wanted to ride his own bike so he could make it to the top by himself. So they rode back home, went to town and bought the boy his own bike. The boy hopped on his new bike and away he went while his father followed behind cheering him on. His father stopped as usual at the two-thirds point – he had a heart condition that didn’t allow him to bicycle at an altitude any higher than the point at which they stopped each day – while the boy cycled to the top. As much as the boy loved riding tandem with his father, he realized that until he did something different, he would not achieve his goal no matter how hard he tried.