For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. That’s one of life’s great arrangements. If you sow well, you will reap well. Life is full of laws that both govern and explain behaviors, but the law of sowing and reaping may well be the major law we need to understand: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards.
What a concept! If you render unique service, your reward will be multiplied. If you’re fair and honest and patient with others, your reward will be multiplied. If you give more than you expect to receive, your reward is more than you expect. But remember: The key word here—as you might well imagine—is discipline.
Everything of value requires care, attention and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct, or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confused results.
Remember the law: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. Learn the discipline of writing a card or a letter to a friend. Learn the discipline of paying your bills on time, or arriving to appointments on time, or using your time more effectively. Learn the discipline of paying attention, or paying your taxes, or paying yourself. Learn the discipline of having regular meetings with your associates, or your spouse, or your child, or your parent. Learn the discipline of learning all you can learn, of teaching all you can teach, of reading all you can read.
For each discipline, multiple rewards; for each book, new knowledge; for each success, new ambition; for each challenge, new understanding; for each failure, new determination. Life is like that. Even the bad experiences of life provide their own special contribution. But a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life’s disciplines: everything has its price. Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time.
That’s what we call the Law of Familiarity. Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life is not a practice session.
Think about your life at this moment. What areas need attention right now? Perhaps you’ve had a disagreement with someone you love or someone who loves you, and your anger won’t allow you to speak to that person. Wouldn’t this be an ideal time to examine your need for a new discipline? Perhaps you’re on the brink of giving up, or starting over, or starting out. And the only missing ingredient to your incredible success story in the future is a new and self-imposed discipline that will make you try harder and work more intensely than you ever thought you could.
The most valuable form of discipline is the one that you impose upon yourself. Don’t wait for things to deteriorate so drastically that someone else must impose discipline in your life. Wouldn’t that be tragic? How could you possibly explain the fact that someone else thought more of you than you thought of yourself? That they forced you to get up early and get out into the marketplace when you would have been content to let success go to someone else who cared more about themselves.
Your life, my life, the life of each one of us is going to serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition… or an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed, and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.