Quick post before I hop on a plane in two hours, bound for sunny So Cal and a couple of wild seminars:
It took me half a lifetime to figure out the secrets of honest discipline, because I am genetically lazy and never had that cool, hip uncle-figure to take me aside and reveal the secrets of anything about life.
I was all slacker and potential, with no honed chops whatsoever. A total waste of pre-frontal cortex.
Then, I discovered the joy of discipline, and got my act together.
That’s when life got interesting.
And the secret to discipline? It’s routine and habit.
You don’t wait around for inspiration… you set aside certain hours to write, and train inspiration to arrive on schedule. You don’t take every incoming call… you set aside certain times to make and receive all chats. You control your time, in other words.
You find your groove, where you can produce good work and be proactive… and then you STAY in that groove.
Routines, and good habits. That’s the big damn secret to discipline.
However, travelling puts a bug in all of this. I’ll be away from my desk (where I know what’s in every untidy pile), away from my dogs (who keep me motivated to stay in the office by sleeping in the doorway, limiting my antsy wanderings), away from all the routines I’ve established and away from the environment where my habits flourish.
And this is good.
Because, every so often, you have to get OUT of your routines and habits and shake the action loose.
Discipline is good for producing things.
But getting OUT of your discipline is absolutely essential for keeping your mind sharp… and allowing more unorthodox thoughts to invade your space.
To write the novel, you need routine and habit.
But to gather the ingredients that make the novel good, you need experience and adventure and a little out-of-control travel.
I hate to travel these days, especially by plane.
Still, now that I’m committed (and booked), I can feel my brain already expanding.
Wish me luck. I’ll be back in a week, either refreshed and invigorated, or grumpy and irritable. But full of new ideas, regardless.
Stay frosty. In a disciplined sort of way.
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One of my favorite books: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
I used to be all slacker and potential just like you John, but now I’ve made a habit of re-reading the book every couple of months.
Changed my life, and the work I produce.
Stay frosty yourself.
Excellent post as usual.
You’re right on the money. The turning point in my life came when I got serious about discipline.
It made all the difference in the world. I look back on all of the years I wasted with procrastination and lack of focus and it makes me realize how much money I left on the table simply because of a lack of discipline.
Have a great trip to So Cal!
Right on, John. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. The organization helps us have time and money for the adventure. The adventures give us purpose for the organization and routines. Ying and Yang. We need the pay so we can play. Those two activities complement each other. Good one. From the unruly mind of Darwin
Look forward to seeing you in Cali John…
Hey there John . . .
nice advice. Wouldn’t it be great if all these crazy web kids listened ?
When I grow up (IF), I wanna be a kick-ass copywriter, just like you.
FYI – 8th Habit is a phenomenal book as a followup to 7 Habits.
Greta talk in San Diego. Very much enjoyed and appreciate the (perseption anyway) that you care!
Creating life thru conscious choice!
Good post. You make some great points that most people do not fully understand.
“You don’t wait around for inspiration… you set aside certain hours to write, and train inspiration to arrive on schedule. You don’t take every incoming call… you set aside certain times to make and receive all chats. You control your time, in other words.”
I like how you explained that. Very helpful. Thanks.