“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

–Anonymous

Keep reading. Self-discipline is as close as:

After I got a coach and wrote my first manuscript, I realized writing a book is actually pretty simple.

As Jeff Goins says:

“It isn’t hard, but it does require discipline.”

–Jeff Goins

How many “difficult” things in life are difficult, really only because they require discipline?

In fact, writing a book isn’t hard… There are numerous books and experts on the subject. (One good example is linked below.) Basically, you write an outline, then write the content for each element of the outline. When you’re done with the content, you have a manuscript! After a few rounds of editing, you have a book!

The really hard part about writing a book is just sitting down often enough to actually finish it. Once you’ve got the outline, the writing is actually fairly easy.

With that understanding as a foundation, I realized that writing a book, like most other sustainable creative pursuits, is more about habit than herculean effort.

Writing a book is a habit, not a monumental effort.

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”

–Thomas Fuller

Thomas Fuller: photo by By David Loggan - National Portrait Gallery: NPG D20295, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=884269
Thomas Fuller was an English churchman and historian who lived in the 17th century.

Few things are really all that difficult, if we are willing to just keep working at them.

In this way, the wage-culture around the world is very useful: most people really need the money on an ongoing basis, and many have been trained their whole life to go work for someone else to get that money.

On the flip side, some other people and companies have been trained to harness all that available labor to get big results over time. 

By showing up for the paycheck every day, workers devote their discipline, and their lives, to other people’s goals, and they accomplish far bigger things than they might otherwise.

They apply the habit of just showing up and doing what they’re told. As a result, they produce results.

By harnessing all this available labor, employers and companies deliver big results on an ongoing basis.

Habits can trap you, or be your salvation.

The habits of our parents become our own (because they train us — or leave us to train ourselves or be trained by others — in our daily living habits).

In adulthood, the spouses, social networks, and the jobs we choose reinforce the lifestyles and habits we have been developing since childhood.

It becomes impossible to change the trajectory of our lives until we take on a level of self-discipline that can literally overcome the inertia of our entire lives, which is constantly reinforced by the inertia of our friends’ and family’s patterns.

Self-discipline is nothing more than the application of habit.

Just as the would-be author cannot complete a book if s/he won’t sit down regularly to write, none of us can carry out a big plan if we don’t apply ourself to it regularly.

We fail to achieve most big plans because we fail to create the habit of following through.

Sometimes, we believe “self-discipline” is what happens when we force ourselves (or others) to do something we wouldn’t otherwise do. We force a result that wouldn’t happen otherwise.

Unfortunately, we can’t sustain this approach. We can’t rely on temporary force to create a sustainable, long-term change. Once we let up and stop applying the force, people and processes return to their former comfort zones.

For example:

Most “difficult” undertakings are difficult because the required work is assigned to someone who’s incapable (or uninterested).

With application and skills development, these identical initiatives become possible. Assigned to the right individuals, they’re downright easy (or, at least, achievable).

Alternatively, if we identify people who have the skills, capacity, and desire to perform a role, there’s little to do after we enlist them in the endeavor… but that’s the next lesson…

Practice

As you consider the vision you previously created, assess the following in writing, and put the results in your PowerBoard:

Reflect

Answer these questions in writing, and put the result in your PowerBoard.

Results

You now have one more action you can take to move your initiative forward, and you have one more technique on your PowerBoard you can put to use in all areas of your life.

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