Two days ago, I asked chef extraordinaire Gordon Ramsay what is the one thing that ticks him off the most. And he said, “When people take shortcuts.”
It got me thinking about something I’ve been reflecting on lately about discipline. I train at least 3 times a week, an hour or two of Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu each time. And more often than not, you get injuries, your muscles are completely fatigued, your body hurts in weird places and it’s a real struggle just to drag yourself to the gym on some days.
I find this a wonderful daily challenge. The interesting thing is, even though it might seem insurmountably difficult at the time to not take the easy way out i.e. rest, I’ve never once regretted summoning all my willpower and pushing myself to do things the right way. We will always feel incredibly proud of ourselves for finishing something that we had to struggle through. I have, however, on many occasions regretted being lazy and slacking off class.
This same theory applies to all things we commit ourselves to in life. Whether it’s doing a task at work half-heartedly and cutting corners, cheating on your partner instead of working on the relationship, lying to get away with something instead of facing the music etc.. People never ever regret not cheating, or doing things conscientiously and thoroughly no matter how tedious. But we almost always regret when we try to take a shortcut to happiness, success or to accomplish a goal. For the most part, because it never works. But more importantly, because we know deep down we’ve let ourselves down by not giving something our best.
I’ve come to learn that excellence only comes to those who never take the easy road, especially when they can. It starts with the small, everyday choices. Discipline is a muscle. The more you do the little things the right way, the easier it becomes to make the right choices when it counts. The reverse is also true. Taking shortcuts in one part of your life spills over into other more important decisions and begins a downward spiral.
This year, I’m starting with the small things like going diligently for training, keeping my surroundings clean and uncluttered and setting aside an hour each day to read. I’ve found this little nugget of wisdom very helpful in enhancing my effectiveness and happiness and I really hope you guys do too. (: