Here is the greatest value of discipline: self-worth. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth. Respect must be earned, especially self-respect.
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.” Plato
Burning calories to lose fat is just one reason to exercise. I am going to give you better reasons because if it’s your only reason to exercise, it won’t become a habit. I’ll give you reasons that go far beyond the fuzzy notion of runners high. I am going to share the science with you, in hopes that it makes exercise something you WANT to do. Not merely to lose a few pounds, but to be your absolute best. After you discover all the benefits of exercise, you will understand why I say choosing to NOT EXERCISE is like taking a depressant that erodes self-control and impairs cognitive function. A small dose of daily exercise is the absolute best way to improve your life. The brain runs the show, and as you’ll soon see, exercise promotes better brain function. Our brain loves physical activity. It increases blood flow to the brain, delivering nutrients and removing the waste products of normal neuronal activity. Vigorous movement keeps our neurotransmitters in balance, strengthens our synaptic connections, and even stimulates the production of new brain cells. Some of these neurotransmitters, like endorphins, provide a powerful incentive to exercise. They act on our opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects, making strenuous physical exercise pleasurable.
“What gets measured gets managed.” Peter Drucker
I am a firm believer in Peter Drucker’s management principle. Anyone that has ever kept a financial spending log or food log knows that they changed their spending or eating behavior when they created a record of the activity. We naturally start making better decisions and identifying patterns in our behavior. Monitoring an activity forces, us to pay more attention to it. We naturally start making better choices because we can’t ignore our bad ones. If we aren’t mindful of our choices, we will unconsciously fall into habitual patterns of behavior. The concept is so simple yet potent, I am amazed at how many people don’t use this principle to improve their personal or professional performance.
Motivation is powerful, but unless it is put to work, it is wasted. Motivation is like steam in a boiler. Unless it is driving pistons and producing mechanical work, it is wasted. We want to put our desire to good use by consistently executing the daily actions that will produce results. We don’t want to be merely busy; we want to be productive. I recommend you start each day listening to motivational speeches because it will help keep your motivational tank from running empty. Cultivating motivation daily is easy to do and will drastically improve your outlook on life. We need to develop motivation daily, but more importantly, we need to put it to good use.
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you’ll drift in that direction.” Warren Buffett
This week’s challenge is to seek out people that will inspire and influence you in a positive manner. Whatever your goal is, seek out individuals that have achieved it, or are at least further along than you. Seek out associations with groups and individuals you respect and admire.
Warren Buffett says, “The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes.” Bill Graham, was Warren’s hero when he began his career in investment. Bill told Warren when he was a young man he looked around at the people he admired. After studying their character and habits, he concluded that they weren’t doing anything he could not do. He decided that he would mirror the behavior of those successful people he admired until he became someone he could admire. Success leaves clues. Success is a science; if you do what other successful people do, you will be successful.
Many people underestimate the important role of environmental norms and expectations play in our behavior. We all have friends that either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. None of us are immune to the effect. It is often said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Continue reading “The Habit: Week-15 (Actively Seek Associations that Will Inspire You)”