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Good evening dear reader & to many happy Queens Birthday weekend. And welcome to my world these relatively cold last few days. This week, I have a story to share with you. Let us call the hero Allan. At school everyone thought of him as lucky & an incredibly 'gifted' guitarist & he has since been on to travel the world making a very good living at what he loves to do.

Upon becoming friends with Allan people soon learned the truth. Awake at at 6am (on a Saturday morning) by the melodious sound of his singing guitar. People would ask: "What are you doing? “It’s 6am." "I always start the day with two hours of practice & do three hours in the evening he would reply. If I didn't I would be hopeless!"

Then it hit people. Alan was gifted, but this was a gift having started out small, perhaps even insignificant, to which he had added, built upon, & massively extended. Alan had made his own gift. Reading this story, taught me something profound. Sure, there is such a thing as natural talent but:

  • Natural talent counts for little unless it is supercharged by self-discipline.
  • Self-discipline can, to some extent, overcome lack of natural talent.
Exercising self-discipline can make the difference between an averagely talented person doing something amazing with their lives & a naturally talented person realizing very little of their potential. Over the years I have come to see self-discipline as an invisible magic. You cannot see, taste, or smell it, but its effects are huge. It can transform uninformed into expert, poor into rich, misery into happiness. It is the submerged part of the iceberg others do not see when they see your 'genius'.

Yes, luck plays a role & who does not need the 'lucky break'? But self-discipline prepares you to ride this break all the way to the shore. Self-discipline makes you happier; it gives you the sense of real achievement earned through sheer intensity of sustained focus. If you really want to succeed at a task then self-discipline is essential.[1]

So my friends, is self-discipline difficult & demanding? Yes, I suspect it is for many. However, instead of focusing on the demands, think about its benefits. When one begins to understand the power, liberty, joy & victory self-discipline brings, you too will want to have it. A disciplined mind makes the difference between a happy life & a miserable one, between a life of self-defeating habits & a life of freedom. Discipline is your friend, something to be embraced daily. It is a tool to help us reach our goals.

One reason why disciplining our minds is so important is because the condition of our mind can change so quickly.  One day you can be calm, peaceful, sure of yourself & confident. Yet the next day you can hardly recognize yourself; you can be anxious, angry, negative & full of doubt. Why? Because thinking affects our emotions. Here is something else we need to know my friends; just as airwaves around us are filled with signals which can be picked by any radio or TV, there are forces around us which can seek to mould one’s mind & influence our thinking.

So we begin to see the need to control our thoughts & keep one’s mind on the right things. Breaking old habits & forming new ones takes time, so one needs to keep practicing. Developing self-discipline is not easy, but it is worth it in the end. When we win the battle for our mind we will be much more decisive, confident & focused. Accordingly, we become a more effective & successful person.

Good luck to you if self-discipline is something you need to work on friends. This is Kenn Butler, in Paradise, Nelson, wishing you all a splendid week.
[1] Inspired by Mark Tyrrell, a hypnotherapist & psychology trainer. He & business partner Roger Elliott started Uncommon Knowledge, a psychotherapy training company from Brighton University, & then in 2008 moved the therapy courses online. They teach practitioners all over the world how to lift depression, stop people smoking, cure phobias, heal trauma & much more from online homestudy courses.

Kenn Butler
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