I pondered this thought the other day as I was debating whether to work out. My mind went through all the reasons why I did not need to work out that day. I know all the right arguments for being proactive and working out and I also know all the arguments for skipping the workout. I also know the process of “productive procrastination.” “Productive procrastination” is accomplishing a task, and it is important, instead of doing the task you should be doing. I may need to work out but instead I am going to clean my room, clean the refrigerator out, write a letter, pay bills. You see my sound logic regarding “productive procrastination.” We can accomplish anything that we want and justify the task and feel good about ourselves. We are just not doing what we really need to accomplish.
My daughter is working on her PhD. She is in the middle of writing her dissertation. She is the person who revealed the pattern called “productive procrastination.” Kiersten needed to write an article for the school newspaper. Instead, she went grocery shopping, worked out, and cleaned out her closet. She was very productive but the article did not get finished that day.
So, back to my thought. “If you want to accomplish something, you have to do it.” Discipline does not miraculously develop. We just don’t wake up in the morning and decide to eat in a healthy way. We don’t just lose 10 pounds because we are careful with our carbs and sugar. We don’t learn to write well just by writing an article every few weeks. Or what about public speaking? Do we become an amazing public speaker by not practicing? That room you are planning to paint is not going to be painted not unless you pick up the brush and paint it one wall at a time. Discipline is developed by doing what you don’t want to do.
I read an article about a teacher who ask her student to “try to pick up the book” from her desk. What does “trying” to pick up the book look like? Do you pick it up and drop it? Do you touch the book but don’t pick it up? Do you stare at the book hoping the book will pick up itself? No. Either you pick up the book or you don’t pick up the book. You can’t try to pick up the book.
So, “if you want to accomplish something you have to do it.” You can’t “try” to accomplish something. We know that doesn’t work. I guess you can “try” to workout and you chose not to because you had a appendicitis attack and you had to go to the hospital instead. That would be a real “try.” You could “try” to paint your room only to find out that an earthquake destroyed your house. That would be a real “try.” Do you get my point? “Try” is not a good excuse for not accomplishing what you need to do.
As NIKE branding slogan says, “Just Do It.” And remember, discipline is developed in accomplishing something you don’t want to do. So to accomplish something, you have to do it.