There is a decision you need to make that is more important than the goals you set for defining what you want to have in your life.
This is: Who do I want to be?
Your values, beliefs and attitudes , the way a person expresses their values and beliefs through words and behaviors, define you.
Self-discipline: A virtue
In self-discipline one makes a ‘disciple’ of oneself, says William J. Bennet. One is one’s own teacher, trainer, coach and ‘disciplinarian’. It is an odd sort of relationship, paradoxical in its own way, and many of us don’t handle it very well.
There is much unhappiness and personal distress in the world because of failures to control tempers, appetites, passions, and impulses.
The seven decisions to build self-discipline and achieve your goals
One: The Responsible Decision
The Responsible Decision shows us how to stop blaming other people and outside circumstances for where we are in life.
Two: The Guided Decision
The Guided Decision helps us discover invaluable counsel through books, people, and service.
Three: The Active Decision
The active Decision is a wake-up call. Taking consistent action is crucial to the realization of a successful life.
Four: The Certain Decision
With the Certain Decision, we learn to break thorugh fear and judgment to pursue our dreams with determination and focus.
Five: The Joyful Decision
The Joyful Decision demonstrates that happiness is a choice, and if you’re not happy right now, it’s a consequence of your own choosing, not the circumstances of life.
Six: The Compassionate Decision
Harboring anger and resentment poisons our minds and hinders our ability to live the other six Decisions with any measure of effectiveness. Forgiveness fress our spirits.
Seven: The Persistent Decision
The Persistent Decision reveals a critical ‘twist’ to the notion of persistence; Persisting ‘without exception’ is key to achieving extraordinary levels of success in any area of life.
Integrity: The Supreme Value
Brian Tracy remembers that it is your level of integrity, living in complete truth with yourself and others, that demostrates more than anything else the quality of your character. In a way, integrity is actually the value that guarantees all the other values. When your level of integrity is higher, you are more honest with yourself and more likely to live consistently with all the other values that you admire and respect.
However, it takes tremendeous self-discipline to become a person of character. It takes considerable willpower to always ‘do the right thing’ in every situation. And it takes both self-discipline and willpower to resist the temptation to cut corners, take the easy way, or act for short-term advantage.
The battles of your personal freedom
As you look back over your life, you can see that many of the relationships battles you thought were for your own personal freedom were really battles of who was going to domesticate whom. And every time you experienced a moment of anger, outrage, indignation, or any other negative emotion as the result of someone else’s behavior, you created a dream of villains and victims, and you were once again caught in the drama of the party.
Perceiving yourself as a victim and another as a villain doesn’t allow you to see the person who is actually standing before you: you don’t see their story, their past, their heartbreaks, and how all of that has impacted their life and contributed to forming the person you’re talking to. All you can see through the fog of domestication is that the person you have cast as the villain in the story isn’t living up to the values you think they should be.
But as D. Miguel Ruiz Jr. states, when you see another with the eyes of unconditional love, you are then able to clearly see who is actually in front of you, a living being who is trying to survive and thrive in a world filled with domestication and conditional love.
The four agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz are essential steps on the path to personal freedom:
The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word
The Second Agreement: Don’t take anything personally
The Third Agreement: Don’t make assumptions
The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best