I'm with about 100 or so martial artists waiting to hear the wisdom of the great Japanese Sword Master: Yamazaki. Master Yamazaki's family taught the art of the Samurai Sword to generations of Japan's Imperial Family.
"First rule: Basic practice."
OK, that makes sense.
"Second rule: Basic practice."
"MORE BASIC PRACTICE!
"Like Nike"¦JUST DO IT!"
Power for success in personal and professional life is generated through motivation and discipline over time. These are the 3 components of what I call the "Kung Fu Triangle." For today's purposes, Kung Fu means mastery. To achieve mastery in any occupation, you must find or develop motivation to set your heart and mind to action. You must develop discipline: the habit of doing the work necessary to achieve your goals and"¦
"¦you've got to take your time! Basic skill can be developed in a short time. Mastery takes as long as it takes.
If you press me for THE most essential component in the development of power, I'm going to say "discipline." Motivation is usually very strong at the beginning of any endeavor. Time is simply a matter of perseverance. The component that takes over when motivation occasionally wanes and sees us through long periods of perseverance is "discipline."
How to develop disipline
So how do you develop discipline? Yamazaki gives us the answer: PRACTICE! Simple, not always easy.
Discipline can literally be practiced with every waking moment of every day. Simply get up and get about your business. Specific goals can help you stay focused and on task; that helps develop discipline. However, discipline is the development of mindfully staying on task that transcends the obvious and sometimes robotic checking off the task list.
Practice discipline by mindfully assessing what needs to be done before you set yourself to action. Appreciate the work in front of you for the part it will play in your plans for success. Enjoy the task at hand for what it is: a chance to express yourself fully and in the moment. Enjoying the moment makes a menial task meaningful and a difficult task bearable.
The art of the Japanese sword, like all martial arts, is deceptively simple. If you take it down to its essential elements, the art of the sword is the technique of developing and expressing power in the moment of a single cut. Any battle is series of single cuts. Mastery of the art is available only to those who are willing to dedicate themselves fully to the practice of the simple elements that generate this power. You can learn the basic mechanics of a cut in just a few moments. It takes a lifetime of practice to bridge the span between that knowledge and the true skill of master.
Applying to your business and personal life
Can you apply this philosophy in business and personal life as well?
Nearly everything you do provides an opportunity to develop and practice the habit of discipline. Practice discipline in work and at play. Participate in activities that challenge you to apply discipline. I'm a little biased, but martial arts provide a perfect opportunity to practice discipline at any age! If that's not your bag, take a class, find a hobby, develop your job skills, develop your relationships at home and in your community, volunteer, do anything that will challenge your mind, body and spirit and provide the opportunity for you to practice. That's how you develop the habit of discipline. Find something that needs doing and just do it!
Discipline is the key to personal freedom, and freedom is the ultimate expression of personal power.
For a complete course in the art of discipline, read Jim's book Dynamic Components of Personal Power. Click here for more information and to book Jim for your next event!
Watch for Jim's coming book: The Dying Art of Discipline, available now as a seminar.
About the author
Jim is now a regular at 'Change Your Thoughts', if you haven't already visited his site I would urge you to have a look. Jim is an author, businessman, personal development trainer, black belt Karate instructor, football coach….the list goes on. He is the creator of the Dynamic Components of Personal Power program. Visit Jim's site at www.jimbouchard.org for more information on his self development program.