Most of us have an aversion to the concept of self-discipline, including me. Therefore, I've decided that, this year, I will apply a different vocabulary to my goals.
Diligence is the 'baby steps' we take in order to develop discipline over time. Perseverance is the spiritual component behind the execution of any diligent act or determination. Doesn't that sound nicer than 'discipline' and 'hard work'?
Maybe if we didn't want anything, we wouldn't care to develop any of these virtues, but most of us have some sense of what we would like to become or to find in our lives. We also recognize what we no longer wish to see in our lives.
Perhaps we have less exorcising of demons to do and more exercising of due diligence to do. Diligence involves action. If consideration is the theory, then diligence is the applied application.
For years, we humans have known the theory behind the possibility of a human breaking the sound barrier without a vehicle of some sort. But only in October of 2012, after what must have been ridiculous, pain-staking measures of diligence, Felix Baumgartner did it! Not just anybody could do it, either. It had to be someone who had been diligent all along to learn and practice skydiving, let alone be former Australian military and have access to a spacesuit!
If we consider that we need to lose weight, then we must use diligence to carry out the various activities that lead to weight loss. For example, we would have to prepare healthy foods in advance to ensure they are ready when we're hungry. We'd also need to faithfully exercise, wouldn't we? Doesn't this require diligence? If we just don't eat healthy or exercise, would we still lose the weight?
I watched some interesting documentaries on Netflix over the holidays. One, called 'Hungry for Change' was a follow up to one of my favourite films, 'Food Matters.' A lot can be said for the food, but they made a great point about how our thoughts may be more important in the big picture for whether we lose weight for health or whether we roller coaster our way through life.
If we are what we eat, attract what we feel and become what we think about, then shouldn't we be exercising radical diligence with regard to what we are thinking? After all, don't our thoughts affect our emotions and our body anyway?
What about simply living a long and happy life? We surely must apply what we know about physics and biology to be able to live as long as the Weyburn residents who were recently recognized by the City for living more than 90 years or being married over 60 years! Especially in the case of marriage, doesn't it all come down to having a good attitude?
Some of us were taught at a very young age that obedience brings blessings and that children who obey their parents live a long life. Just like any function of greatness, obedience requires surrender, because we don't always know what is best for us.
In my 20s, I was a bundle of stress from over-thinking, but since then I've been not thinking at all! Nowadays I'm usually quite relaxed! Much like a physically blank canvas or an empty room, clearing mental clutter lends itself to an influx of unstoppable creativity!
Keeping stressful thoughts and people at bay also requires plenty of diligence. In fact, the most diligent thing we can do is to find our inner 'delete' button and immediately flush out that which doesn't serve us anymore. To grow as humans, we must get rid of that which holds us down - replacing gravity with levity!
Although I won't go downhill skiing, let alone skydiving, I'm taking Felix Baumgartner's lead and I'm working on realizing my wildest dreams. Every journey starts with a single step, followed by another and then more yet. As they say, one must to do something every day that contributes to one's greater goals in life.
So, with baby steps being less intimidating than radical change, I'm doing what it takes to stay around a long time. Gratitude may be my altitude, but I'm not going to jump back down to Earth when I'm done.