Either Way Discipline Wins

Either Way Discipline WinsEveryday we’re presented with choices.

Everyday, our discipline wins!

The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is which discipline wins the moment or the day.

You see, in every decision there are usually two options. To do, or not to do. In each option there is a discipline awaiting victory and the other, defeat.

Action vs. Inaction

My decision to read 20 pages from a book tonight won over that moment’s discipline.  The other option was 20 minutes of television, viewing meaningless basketball games I don’t care about(something I don’t mind from time to time), but still a discipline.

My decision to stay inside on the couch, instead of venturing out in the snow to get to they gym is a win for my discipline of contentment (or laziness if you want to call it that).

A person in an unhappy work environment, with no hope to even look for something else…any opportunity, is letting their discipline for complacency win.

With every action, even inaction, the discipline grows stronger.

The person committed to studying their craft nightly after work (from 7pm-10pm) in the hopes of one day taking their talents to the next level, is feeding their discipline. One day it will pay off. But I’d bet it already is, you just can’t see radical change due to the consistent incremental growth.

Discipline always win. The trouble, or beauty is disciplines are like a muscle and get stronger with use.

Show me a successful person and I’ll immediately want to know about the disciplines making them tick. I can PROMISE you there are 5-10 things they do on a daily or weekly basis without question. These disciplines are so ingrained in them and they’ve created so much momentum they’ve become part of their everyday life.


You can start a new discipline tomorrow. The bad news is, it is going to be struggle right away. But you already knew that didn’t you?  It’s why you’ve chosen not to start in the first place. Well, there’s always tomorrow, but you’ll already be a day behind the guy who started yesterday.

Your discipline is winning!

Discipline of Incremental Growth

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Do you know how many people really “get rich quick?”

A few lucky people every year win the lottery. One slip of paper with the perfect selection of numbers led to a financial windfall and life-chaning funds that could last generations…could.

Sadly, almost 70% of people who come into a lump sum of money (including lottery winners) ended up broke in seven years according to Yahoo Finance.

Seven years!!!  How can that be?

Lets look at a different angle. How about the person so determined to lose a ton of weight that they starve themselves and crash down 40-50 lbs in a very short amount of time. Inevitably what happens next? The weight comes back, sometimes in greater force. The person is left defeated in their failed attempt.


It happens because there is zero behavior inline to manage the immediate abundance in the lottery example. Zero behavior in place to continue on a healthy path to keep the weight off. None of this means I don’t want you to be rich or lose a substantial amount of weight.  It means there is a piece we’re lacking in this: free one day shipping, :60 second meal, six-minute abs, speed dating world.


I recently read and shared a terrific book called, “The Slight Edge” and shared it on my Keen Mind Facebook Page. You can download your copy of the book here. I highly encourage you to read it.

Without giving it all away, “The Slight Edge” focuses on, you guessed it, discipline and consistent (albeit small at times) improvement. I believe the author states best, “easy to do, easy not to do” daily activities magnified over time for large gains.

The challenge with this is most of us have zero patience for “small” or “consistent” improvement. We want to get it ALL and we want it NOW. But once again, this rarely EVER happens. Ever! We all want 0—>100 real quick!

How could this impact your retirement?

Ask a wise financial advisor, “What is the #1 reason most people never reach their retirement goal?” Answer: They started too late. It’s not that they didn’t make enough money, which you would think would be a prime factor. It is, but after a short while the dollars invested can’t replace time.

Why is this important? Because the slow and incremental growth of the stock market has proven to yield large returns but only after the first 15-20+ years of investment. Take away the first 20 years of saving discipline and what do you have? A job in your seventies to pay the bills, that’s what. Happy retirement 😉

I’m fighting this now personally with fitness. I’m working to get back into what I consider really good shape. I used to be able to dunk a basketball, run miles, or do endless pushups and pull-ups. Sadly, I lost the discipline and focus on the incremental the last couple years. Now I’m getting back on the horse to achieve these goals again, but its going to take patience, discipline, focused and continued energy, and incremental growth. And pain, so far, pain.

Think about this…In either case, my discipline won.

My discipline won. Really think about it. You’re either disciplined to achieve a goal, or disciplined to NOT achieve it with inactivity.  Feels kind of different when put this way doesn’t it? When I think about being disciplined with inactivity toward a target I get pretty fired up to get moving immediately.

Many small actions, compounded over time, yielding tremendous results.

ACTION ITEM: Focus on the long game. The benefit in adopting the behavior and creating the habit will yield the truly lasting benefits of not only the desired outcome, but the MASSIVE incremental benefits of the work being done over time in pursuit of your achievement.

Every SEAL started with just one push-up

Mark Devine: SEAL FIT



Four Inefficiencies I Plan on Attacking

Four Inefficiencies

Four Inefficiencies

After some recent reflection, I put together a short list of four specific elements in my life I can greatly improve heading into 2016.  I use the word “greatly” because I’m not looking for simply one step up on the staircase of improvement.  I need to make big strides.

Why share? Because I believe it breeds accountability.

As I’ve written many times, I think getting to this point of awareness is not only healthy, it is entirely necessary.


  1. Attending Church.  My wife and I set a goal to become members of a church in 2015.  We did this and now I’ve got to take it to the next level. This next level not only means attending at least 3x per month, but also getting involved with groups within the church. This may sound ridiculous to some, but it’s true.  When I go to church, I feel better.  Selfishly, who doesn’t want to feel better?
  2. Serving the Community. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a room of 6th graders last week.  Many of the young boys in the class were without fathers when they went home that day from school. Odd thing, this school was within 10 miles of where I live and I’d never once been on the street let alone within a mile of the place. I hope to be back in that exact classroom in 2016 to spend time with those young men.
  3. Appreciation. I have a motor that is frequently set in GO MODE. In 2015 I took the time to become more grateful for all that has been given to me and my family. I have to remember to downshift into neutral and do this more often in 2016. My goal is to reflect every Sunday.
  4. Open my Ears. I’d really like to spend more time listening in 2016 to what I’d consider “mentors” in my life.  I don’t care if it is coffee, lunch, a beer after work, or a round of golf. I need to spend time with those who have walked the walk.

I set a reminder on my calendar on Sunday nights to review this list. Do me a favor and if you’re reading this, let technology be the guide. Don’t over think it.

ACTION ITEM: When considering your list, try not to focus on the “weaknesses” that are related to your talents or abilities. As I’ve written before, this could be a tremendous waste of time as the upside for the investment is likely limited. Instead, think about effort inefficiencies. These have a simple yes/no fix.