When I was young, I figured happiness was something you were born with… you either had the gene or you didn’t. It seemed that those who were blessed with the gift could somehow find joy in most everything they did, while others, who believed they weren’t so lucky, slowly learned to quit looking, thus fulfilling their own self-prophecy.
I believe it was somewhere in my late teens when I finally realized this feeling- sorry-for-myself-attitude was putting me on a fast track to nowhere. I was not only tired of missing out on the good things in life, but I was also blaming circumstances and others for my lack of willingness to face the real problem… the fella in the mirror.
So…I decided to quit brooding and take matters into my own hands. And by the way, this one step, in and of itself, was enough to awaken the sleeping giant within…. Good Morning!
This was the first time in my life I sensed joy flowing from the inside out, rather than from the outside in… an epiphany of empowerment!
From that moment on, I redirected my entire way of thinking. I stopped relying on outside circumstances, others, and dumb luck for my rations of joy, and began cultivating my own from within… and believe me, I was COMMITTED!
COMMITMENT! Now there’s one powerful word! I found that if used with purpose… I mean only when you’re flat out serious… and given the respect and discipline it demands, it delivers every time.
You see, I had finally discovered that metaphorical gene I was lacking… COMMITMENT! And the moment I did, my entire paradigm shifted from just letting things happen to purposefully making things happen.
• Negative / Positive
• Hitting the snooze button / Watching the sun rise
• Crying in my beer / Toasting an accomplishment
• Smooth hands and a dream / Calluses on my fingers tips and a tuned guitar
• A blank page / A rough draft
• Spectating / Participating
• Letting it happen / Making it happen
• A smoke break / A walk in the park
• Head in the sand / Bleeding and swinging
• Fearing the bees / Smelling the roses
• Sad / happy
We live in a world where instant gratification is marketed and sold almost like a narcotic. Though its promise is intoxicating, its deceit is devastating.
Discipline… I tried my hardest not to use that word in the above statement… it intimidates so many. Just the thought of it conjures this vision of an endless, hellish maze keeping them from what they want… one which they could never possibly maneuver through.
Okay I admit, it is a bit of a hellish maze… but contrary to popular belief, it’s not endless. It’s not even that intense once you start negotiating it. Believe me, if it were, I wouldn’t be here writing about it.
Though it is true… COMMITMENT cannot exist without discipline. The lasting joy it delivers far outweighs its sting. Just a little faith is all you need.
Think of it this way. When you commit to set sail for something you want, there’s a window of time, in the very beginning of your journey, which requires blind faith. This period will last until you start actually feeling the joy from that which you are seeking. Your hardest job is to get to this point.
As you keep moving forward, inspired by your new found joy, a wonderful transformation begins to take place… your joy blossoms as your blind faith withers. If what you were seeking proves to be everything you imagined, it will become your new way of life.
Now, simply replace the phrase blind faith with the word discipline.
Here’s an honest to goodness real life example:
When I committed to getting into shape, there was a period of about three months where I had to rely on this blind faith to get me to the gym for a 30 minute workout, three days a week. Believe me, it was difficult, but I actually got through it.
Three months later I began feeling better and getting stronger, which motivated me to keep going. During the next three months that transformation I was talking about gradually took place. It got to the point where leaving the gym after a workout equated to feeling like a new person. I often walked in tired and left full of energy which would last for hours into the evening. Keeping it up at this point was a no brainer. Today, 35 years later, I’m still addicted. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
Total benefit: 35 years of optimum health and energy, with no end in sight.
Total amount of discipline invested: six measly months.
Now, replace getting into shape with anything else your heart desires. As far as I’m concerned, your imagination is your only limitation.
One more time… I can’t overstate this. COMMITMENT cannot exist without discipline.
I’ve been accused of being way too simplistic and even judgmental at times with my way of thinking. I actually believe everything hinges on personal COMMITMENT… your happiness, your success, your opportunities, and yes… even your luck.
Tell me honestly… If you don’t make it happen… who will?
This is where that little voice in my head is whispering… Bill, you may want to back off a little here. I figure if you’ve read this far, you may want to hear my entire take on the subject. So… little voice… shut the hell up!
Here’s the way I see it, and believe me, what I say here is purely out of love. If it’s true, that the lack of personal commitment is the only thing keeping you from being happy, well then, that means if you’re miserable… it’s your own damn fault.
Bill… how can you say that? You’re a heartless slob. Maybe life has just been easy for you!
Here’s a little gray hair philosophy… in my case, make that a little no hair philosophy:
Living life doesn’t necessarily make you wise, but it will most certainly give you many unique opportunities to witness those who are. How you process that information … well, that’s up to you.
For me, I have found it fascinating over the years, watching friends and associates from all walks of life, ranging from high school dropouts to CEO’s of major corporations, negotiate their way through their personal circumstances.
What has been most eye opening and beneficial to me is observing those who have had the highest mountains to climb, complaining less and enjoying the journey more than many of the ones who have had the greenest meadows to stroll.
I have learned the seeds of happiness are abundant… they lay dormant everywhere we turn. For the ones who have taken the time necessary to learn how to cultivate its fruit, they are driven, merely by the possibility of getting just a taste of its sweet nectar.
While, on the other hand, others who have never taken the time to sow a single seed are left scratching their heads, wondering why there is never a harvest.
Nothing saddens me more than to see someone who is truly unhappy, and hasn’t a clue of how to be happy. It’s an unbelievably helpless feeling for me because, you see, I’m a fix-it guy, and happiness is the one thing you just can’t fix for others, no matter how hard you try… not even for the ones you love. That’s the bad news.
The good news is… there is a cure. Personal COMMITMENT.
You see… the $25,000 question never really has ever been… how can I be happy? No, the real question is, and always will be… is it worth the personal COMMITTMENT?
You better believe it is.
Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away.