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Self Discipline: The Lazy Man’s Enemy

Self Discipline: The Lazy Man’s Enemy

The world is full of people who have a desire to change. They set goals then sit down and write a step by step process of how they are going to accomplish these goals. They get pumped up and say they are ready to start the next day. They go to sleep that night and in the morning… there’s no change. It is easy to get yourself pumped for change when you say you’ll start tomorrow.

You can talk all you want about change, but what makes things happen is your self-discipline. You have to have the willpower to make the changes on your own. Being self-disciplined makes you a better person. You are able to accomplish more, improve yourself, and have more experiences.

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Many people take the lazy road because it’s easier. They talk and talk about the kind of person they want to be. They even say what things they would do to change, but it never happens. Developing self-discipline is difficult. You can’t be lazy and have self-discipline, those two can’t go hand in hand. I have always valued self-discipline and I strive to push myself farther and farther; to extend my limits.

A few years ago I worked for an organization that helped people. It was at this time that I learned my greatest lesson about self-discipline. The president over my area was an amazing man and his wife was just as impressive. They have traveled the world together. He can speak over 12 languages, he is an entrepreneur and self-made millionaire. He ran 100-mile marathons through the mountains of China and hiked without guides through the jungles of Africa. Needless to say, he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.

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I had the opportunity to meet one on one with him several times. On one occasion I asked him how he and his wife had come to do so many things and travel to so many places. He told me what it comes down to is being disciplined. You have to know when to say yes and when to say no. You have to know your limits and have the determination to push yourself through them.  I asked him how he became so disciplined. He told me that there are two things you need to do to accomplish this.

1. The first and most important step is to tell people you are self-disciplined.

Once you have a reputation to live up to, you push yourself harder than you would have before. Knowing that people expect something from you will help to keep you in check.

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If you want to become organized, tell me people how organized you are. If you want to be healthy, tell people about the healthy foods you eat and exercises you do. Once people have an image of who you are in their minds, you will find yourself working to keep that image alive. That is when you find yourself changing.

2. The second piece of advice he gave me was to start small.

If, for example, you feel that part of becoming self-disciplined is waking up earlier, don’t just set your alarm an hour before your regular time. You have to train yourself to go to sleep earlier. Instead of focusing on the morning, focus on what you do at night so you can get to bed sooner. That way, waking up earlier won’t be as difficult.

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By taking small steps, you can change gradually. This can be difficult sometimes because it’s hard to see the difference it’s making in your life. Grand gestures and extreme changes are easier to see and make it seem like you’re getting somewhere. The truth of the matter is that those grand gestures never last. They are short lived because you didn’t truly change the habit or fix the problem.

Not only should you start small, but most importantly, you need to recognize the little successes that are happening around you. Not everything will happen all at once. It comes one step at a time. Praise yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how trivial they may seem.

It sounds like a vicious cycle, but in order to develop self-discipline, you have to show discipline. As difficult as it may sound it is possible. Implement these steps into your life and you will find yourself changing and becoming a better person; the kind of person you want to be.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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