What do a record-breaking tightrope-walker, a martial arts expert, and a successful businessman have in common?
They have learned self-discipline. In each of their professions, discipline is the key—discipline that’s manifested in allocating time to practice, honing their skills, and in some cases, giving up things in their diet or personal life to achieve their goals.
Self-discipline is more than holding back from some things, more than buckling down to do what is necessary out of duty. It is a means to an end. Reaching their goals means so much to them that the effort and sacrifice of leading a disciplined life is almost a non-issue. They are willing to push themselves to the limits of endurance to achieve success. And their discipline clearly shows in their achievements.
Most of us can probably improve our level of self-discipline. Even if you don’t aspire to cross a chasm on a rope, how about getting through that pile of work on your desk, meeting your fitness goals, or improving your time management? Self-discipline is not really about denying oneself; it is, in fact, liberating oneself. A friend once said to me, “Only when you’re truly disciplined can you be truly free.” A simple sentence of wholesome wisdom that changed my viewpoint completely.
On another occasion, the manager of an international chain store told me, “Success is not only about what you want to do. It’s about what you must do to achieve.” When you’re self-disciplined, you’re able to go beyond things that might have limited you or held you back before.
New York Times bestselling author Jackson Brown Jr. put it this way: “Talent, without discipline, is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backward, or sideways.” On the other hand, if we channel our energies in the right direction, toward the things that are important to us, we are positioned to achieve powerful forward movement.
Jesus was the ultimate example of discipline. He did what had to be done, even when it was not just hard but resulted in His death. The discipline and commitment He manifested for His cause had world-changing results.
If we’re willing to discipline ourselves, we too can change our lives and our part of the world.