Monday, March 16, 2009

desperately seeking discipline

I wonder if it's something that you have or you don't. Discipline, that is. In searching for images for this post the word "discipline" brought up one of three types: the repetition or practice of a skill (as in playing the piano); consequences imposed on a child by a parent in response to the child's behavior; and religious images that reflect discipline as it relates, theologically, to obedience. The discipline I seek pertains to regulating my own behavior, and upon reflection is really a blend of the three. In my experience self-discipline is an elusive beast.

I wonder why it is that I am unable to exert self-discipline, and I am unclear about how motivation factors into the equation. For instance, I am strongly motivated to sell a lot of Pampered Chef for at least three reasons: income (needed badly), the achievement of a particular goal (earn a free trip to Disneyworld), and the satisfaction of doing well. And yet, I just can't get myself to the phone to make calls to schedule shows. There's a discomfort in making those calls, even though I know in my head that there shouldn't be. Some old experience or perception seems to loom so large that motivation shrinks in its presence. I can sometimes manage bursts of discipline when energy and attitude align, but such moments don't last.

The coach of a basketball team that lost a tournament round by a game-ending-buzzer basket commented that her team lost because they hadn't wanted the win badly enough. Bugger-all, what an insult to the team. In any game there will be a winner and at least one loser. There ARE times when a team or an individual doesn't give their all in their performance, and in such cases the loss can't be mourned. Giving our all doesn't guarantee results, and motivation (or the lack thereof) is not necessarily the culpit. I'm not suggesting that I am giving my all (I know I'm not)--just raising the question about how the two are connected.

Am I looking at this the wrong way? My friend Kathy always talked about "completing the transaction," a practice she internalized through her father's mantra. It worked for her, she completed tasks. But as many times as I heard her say it, and even as I hear her voice in my head, the phrase and her example aren't sufficient to affect my behavior. Perhaps she had the discipline gene, and mine is somehow impaired.

What do you think? This inquiring mind wants to know.

1 comment:

Jayne said...

I know I don't have the personality to have a home party business as I feel too uncomfortable having to ask others to do something for me in order to be able to reach my goals.

If "I" could do it all, that's fine, but the asking of others to help me (which in the case of PC, is imperative) would be my downfall.

It always amazes me to hear about someone who has risen to the top in Avon or Mary Kay or even Tupperware (which almost really sells itself) as you know how much work is involved.


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