Archive for March, 2009

Discipline is…what?

March 30th, 2009

We all know that we are supposed to eat more raw vegetables and less fatty, starchy, sugary food. We know we are supposed to exercise more and watch television less. We know we are supposed to save and invest more of our money than we do.

Why don’t we do what we KNOW we are “supposed” to do?

The answer is simple but it is NOT what you think, and it’s not what everyone has been telling you either. The answer to all self-discipline is simply a matter of shortening the time gap between the price you pay and the benefits you receive.

I go into this in a lot of detail in a talk I give called “Explode Your Productivity”. The idea is that life is made up of lots of little choices and trade offs. I can eat dessert now and gain an extra ounce of weight, which is hardly noticeable. Even better, I can exercise it off tomorrow at the gym.

The reward for eating dessert is big and immediate (delicious chocolate cheesecake, YUM!), and the cost is small and far into the future (I MIGHT be a few OUNCES heavier the next time I weigh). It is further mitigated by the rationalization (read that last word as “lie”) that we will eat less tomorrow to make up for dessert today, or we will spend an extra hour on the treadmill. Of course we know when we tell ourselves these lies that neither will happen because we don’t have the self-discipline to choose a fruit cup instead of a piece of cheesecake, let alone walk an hour on a treadmill.

Besides, the treadmill is where I hang all my clothes.

So what is the answer? Here it is: The secret to all self-discipline…Shorten the gap between the cost and the reward. And to do that, you have to choose different costs, and different rewards.

Almost every morning of the year I wake up and either do resistance training (weights) or cardio-vascular exercise. I usually get up before 5 AM to start this regimen but there are MANY mornings when I wish to sleep late instead.

Self-Discipline is having the ability to consistently have your body do what your mind knows is best. Because if your body gets to decide it usually makes poor decisions.

After talking to hundreds of people who work out every day, year after year, I’ve discovered that they don’t go to the gym in order to lose weight or even to have a healthy heart, although these are both nice fringe benefits. No, the people who make fitness a part of their daily lifestyle do so because they have shortened (consciously or unconsciously) the gap between the struggle of getting out of a warm bed and putting their body through purposeful stress and the reward they get for that sacrifice.

They work out because they have learned to enjoy their time at the gym. They do it because they love the smell of the spring flowers on their morning run. They do it because it is a time to bond with their spouse who goes with them, or their friends that they meet there. They do it because of some reward that is IMMEDIATE and it becomes a pattern.

What gets me up every morning two hours before the sun comes up? I tell myself that I am proud to be disciplined. I know that discipline brings success and happiness and I want to be disciplined. So as I lay in bed thinking about whether to get up and work out or sleep in “just this once”, I ask “What would a disciplined person do?”  Nike commercials run through my head (I have marked 12 as favorites on my YouTube account).

We are not BORN disciplined. We become disciplined based on the decisions we make every single day. Every time we order a meal. Every morning when we wake up. Every evening as we decide to sit in front of the television for three hours or to read a book instead, or work on that writing project we’ve been thinking about for years.

Learn to love the process for what it is; an opportunity to demonstrate your self-discipline.

And for the record, my last post promised you some insights into some changes I’m in the process of making in my business. I’m looking forward to sharing those changes with you within the next two weeks. For a sneak preview until then, please feel free to visit:

You’ll get a pretty good idea of where things are going, but we’ll get very specific with my next update. If you want to keep more current with daily updates, feel free to connect with me on the following social media sites. I accept all connection requests FROM SUBSCRIBERS. Tell me you are a subscriber and I will accept the connection, otherwise I won’t unless I know you.



Are you a Hunter or a Farmer?

March 18th, 2009

There is a certain romance to the “hunter/gatherer” lifestyle. You wake up in the morning not knowing exactly what you’ll eat, or even IF you will eat. It is only through your skill and determination that you are able to put food on the table each day.

But if you can get past the need to have that sort of drama in your life, the farming lifestyle has a lot to offer. A farmer wakes up and with almost complete certainty know EXACTLY what he is going to eat and exactly how much of it. A farmer has almost complete control over which crops he grows, which animals he raises, and how many of them he decides to take care of. In other words: fate, destiny, luck, and fear have little place in a farmer’s life, at least significantly less than in the life of a hunter.

I’m not talking about REAL farming or hunting. I’m talking about how you run your business. You can run it like a hunter, where each day you have to set your sights on a new prospect and hope that you are able to make the close. If you spend a disproportionate amount of your time marketing then you are probably a hunter. If you have to constantly revise your marketing materials you are probably a hunter.

Farmers on the other hand sow their seeds and then watch as handfuls of seeds explode over time and become enough food to fill a grain silo. When every job you do systematically and automatically turns into two, three, five, or ten additional jobs (through referrals, repeats, and word of mouth), then you are a farmer. If your marketing expenses keep dropping year after year and your income keeps growing by at least 20% each year, then you are probably a farmer.

I’ve had the good fortune of working with several excellent business owners who kept their bank vaults full because they were great hunters. But once I showed them how to become great farmers, their worlds were changed just as dramatically as when mankind left the Stone Age to begin the transition to modern society.

Farmers would NEVER allow their family to eat seed, no matter how hungry they were. To eat the seed is to doom your family to hunger. Instead that seed is put into the ground where it is tended, kept, watched over. The dirt is watered, and fertilized, and weeds are pulled. In short, there is a lot of effort up front and not a whole lot of payback in the beginning.

But we are coming into a time where many people have more time on their hands than they used to. Use this to your advantage. Begin building the systems into your business that allow you to grow and provide more to your customers and clients. I’ve got some very specific examples, including several interesting twists that are happening in my own business that I’ll be sharing with you in the next issue. Stay tuned!!

Customer Service, Marketing

T.O. Got Cut

March 9th, 2009

So the Cowboys cut T.O. from the team. They were sick of putting up with his ****, I guess. Already there are several team owners who have voiced the fact that they will NOT be entertaining the thought of hiring Tyrell at ANY price.

Tyrell Owens is an amazingly talented athlete. His skills on the field command a premium in the marketplace.

But because he is so difficult to work with and because he causes friction among his team mates his value in the marketplace diminishes. When there are fewer and fewer team owners willing to offer you a jersey, you end up with a lower and lower salary.

So his skills earn him millions of dollars for as long as he is able to deliver, while his attitude costs him millions of dollars and will continue to do so long after he is no longer useful on the field. And the history of football says that he doesn’t have all that many useful years left on the field.

If he manages his money as poorly as he does his behavior (and I would bet he does worse) then my bet is that he will be selling life insurance during his retirement years instead of living the lifestyle of a man who earned what he did last year.