The Difference Between Discipline And Devotion

“People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.”
Luciano Pavarotti, opera singer, 1935-2007

Pavarotti called it “devotion.” I call it “motivation.” It doesn’t really matter what you call it just as long as you get it and keep it. And when it comes to getting and staying motivated, you’ve got to understand one PRINCIPLE and follow five PRACTICES.

=> 1. The PRINCIPLE of sowing and reaping.

Most everyone understands the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. If you were to plant corn in your backyard, you wouldn’t expect spinach to come up. You pretty much get back what you put into the soil.

No problem. You understand the LOGIC of the principle.

But you may not understand the POWER of the principle. I know I didn’t for a long, long time. For many years, my morning ritual used to begin with a reading of the newspaper … filled with the stories of yesterday’s crimes and economic disasters. I had sown the seeds of discontent. And I reaped a negative attitude toward the upcoming day and the tasks I would have to do.

I gave up my morning ritual ten years ago and replaced it with the ritual of reading material that would sow some “good thoughts” into my mind so I could reap some “good results” during the day. And the results have been phenomenal. That’s why I’m extremely careful about the things I allow into my mind, and that’s why I urge you to sow good motivational seeds into your own mind and life.

Here are a few … just a few PRACTICES … I recommend.

=> The PRACTICE of goal writing.

This is one of the most important, self-motivating practices of all time. Put all of your personal and professional goals in writing. And if you’re not currently doing this, let me assure you it will literally change your life.

As author Jim Meisenheimer said, “I had a goal for 18 years to write a book, and that goal was buried deep in my subconscious. 18 years as a subconscious goal, and I did not write a single word. Once I put this goal in writing, it only took me two years to complete that first book.” And Jim has written several books since then … all as a result of writing down his goals.

Now I devote two hours of my “Journey To The Extraordinary” program to teach the goal setting, writing, and achieving process. But in its simplest form, you’ve got to write down your goals, frame them with measurable outcomes, and give them completion dates.

When you write down your goals, you are sowing pictures into your mind … pictures of what you want to achieve. And your mind and energies will start to work on the completion of those pictures.

=> The PRACTICE of motivational listening.

Listen to music that inspires you … that pumps you up … that gets your motivational juices flowing. For me, it might be the theme song from “Rocky” or “Chariots of Fire.” Or even Handel’s classic, the “Royal Fireworks” music.

I encourage you to play those songs again, again, and again. Play them when you take your morning shower; play them as you back out of your garage in the morning; play them on your I-pod during lunch, and play them again on your way home from work. You’ll feel your energy and enthusiasm rising as your mind and body start to flow with the music.

Listen also to motivational talks. Sow those good thoughts into your mind. Convert your car into a classroom and spend 30 minutes a day listening to those talks.

Of course, you wonder, “Does it work?” Absolutely!!! One of my clients recently told me that his top 17 salespeople across the country listened to motivational recordings every day. But most amazingly, he said, “They don’t listen because they’re the best. They’re the best because they listen.” And the results they reap prove they work.

Samantha Brown says the same thing. She wrote to me saying, “A friend got me hooked on your ‘Tuesday Tips,’ and then I purchased ‘PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Change Your Life.’ Both my husband and I can honestly say it changed our lives. What an incredible work. I’ve recommended ‘PIVOT’ to all of our family and friends.”

=> The PRACTICE of improvement.

No one can feel good about him/herself by doing work that is barely passable. And no one can feel any sense of pride by “just getting by.” When you sow seeds of mediocrity, you not only reap mediocrity, but you also reap a state of de-energized de-motivation.

By contrast, look for change opportunities in every part of your life. Don’t assume anything is perfect.

Instead, ask yourself a simple question, “How can I do it better?” The question is brief and extremely effective … because you begin to focus your thoughts and efforts on improvement … which is highly motivating.

Meisenheimer even says, “People who don’t make this question a habit are left with stagnation.” So you have a choice. You can become a master of change or a prisoner of change.

=> The PRACTICE of good deeds.

Now this may sound too old-fashioned for some of you. It may even bring back memories of your Boy Scout or Girl Scout days. But don’t throw out the wisdom of this practice.

When you consciously look for good deeds you can perform, when you make it a habit to do at least one good deed every day, your positive feelings go on the up. You not only make someone else’s day, you also improve your own at the same time.

Now I realize this one is easy to say but harder to do. We all get busy and sidetracked. But that makes your good deeds all the more important … because so few people take the time to send a handwritten thank-you note, pick up a treat to share with their coworkers, send an interesting article to a friend, or a thousand other good deeds.

When you sow the seed of good deeds, your self-motivation is fired up. And if you don’t know it already, in business the little things mean a lot. And in life they mean even more.

=> The PRACTICE of exercise.

Your body and mind are intricately connected. One affects the other. And when you charge up your body, you charge up your mind.

Of course, nobody has time to exercise. Right? Well think about it this way. What if your doctor called you at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning and said you would be dead by 8 p.m. if you didn’t exercise 30 minutes during that day? I bet you’d find the time to exercise. So don’t wait until you have the heart attack to start exercising.

When you exercise, you sow the seeds of self-esteem. You just plain feel better about yourself when you take care of yourself. And when you have greater self-esteem, you reap the harvest of improved performance in every part of your life.

Action:  Select one of the five PRACTICES listed above. Pick the one that would sow the most positive influences into your life. And then do it.