IF: Insanity

I wanted to share another section from my book.  I’d love to know what you think. Together we can make a change:

In the book, Developing the Leader Within You, author John C. Maxwell (2005) argues that discipline “in the beginning of life [is] the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you don’t really want to do.”  He furthers explains that after some time, “discipline becomes the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you now want to do” (p. 161).  If you have not read this book, I want to strongly encourage you to do so.  Chapter nine is entitled “The Price Tag of Leadership” and is all about self-discipline.  As we dive into this poem and dissect its meanings we find that self-discipline is at the core of all things desired.  Most people will read the content of this book searching for something deeper in their own lives. Searching for instruction or direction along their journey to their dreams.  The first thing we must address is discipline.  Maxwell suggests that we all learn discipline while doing what we have to do until we can do what we want to do.  Everyone can think back to their teenage years and living under their parents’ rules and regulations.  By the time we arrive at the age where we are discovering our own desires and aspirations, methods and morals we discover that there is suddenly this major conflict between what we want to do and what our parents want us to do.  If that was not your issue then it is probably the conflict between how you wanted to do things in comparison to how your parents wanted you to do things.  Most of us do not understand this conflict and believe that our parents have set out on this conspiracy to make our lives miserable.  However, the truth is that our parents set out to teach us valuable lessons about discipline and responsibility.  They set out to teach us that in life we would have to do things that we would not want to do.  They wanted us to understand that if we did what we had to do long enough and well enough that one day we could do what we wanted to do.  I want to suggest that too many people get stuck in the “do what you have to do” stage and never make it to their dreams which live in the “do what you want to do” stage.

The word insanity refers to a lack of reason or good sense.  It is often associated with a mental issue but I believe it can be a philosophical issue as well.  It describes a person that does the same things over and over but expects the results to magically be different.  It is a person that expects the results of their actions to change but refuse to change the action themselves.  Lets start with an example that we can all relate with. Have you ever been hungry and when you opened the refrigerator you did not find anything that you wanted to eat.  You walked away but moments later you return and repeated the same steps.  You opened the refrigerator for a third time hoping that this time when you open it there will actually be something to eat.  Technically, this is an act of insanity.  If you aspire to start your own business but continue to look for a job in someone else’s company without taking careful consideration of things necessary to prepare you for entrepreneurship then you might be insane.  If you aspire to attain graduate level education but will not take the time research the right program for yourself and get started then you might be insane.  If you aspire to lose weight but refuse to work out and have not changed your diet then you might be insane.  If you aspire to be promoted at your company but you continue to do just enough and have been quoted as saying “that is not my job” then you might be insane.

Mental insanity is admittedly outside of my expertise and will not be addressed in this book.  However, philosophical insanity can be cured by practicing self-discipline. When a person is willing to admit that their actions have not lined up with their desires then they position themselves to adjust their actions.  This book lays out actions that will aid you in redirecting your life in the direction of your dreams.  They are only useful if they are coupled with and led by this idea of self-discipline.  Self-discipline requires a self-awareness of both behavior and intent.  It causes us all to look inward and analyze whether we are doing what is required of us in the pursuit of our goals and aspirations.  If in fact we are not, self-discipline requires that we make the necessary changes.  When you are able to look at your life and the behavior therein and acknowledge those things that are not properly positioning you to achieve your goals, if you are then able to make the necessary changes in your life then and only then will you be able to cure the insanity that is holding you back.  It is equally important to remember that this is only the first step.  Once you are able to clear your life of the clutter of bad behavior you must be able to keep it clear when things begin to not go so well.  In times of trouble and ciaos, people tend to loose control and revert back to what was most familiar to them.  The question becomes if your dreams are on the line, can you keep your head when everyone else is loosing theirs and blaming it on you?
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