Enter into a crowd, and sooner or later someone will ask you that one question. What do you do? The accepted meaning of that question is what do you do to earn your paycheck each day, but isn’t the idea of activity worth so much more? Think about what you try to accomplish each day. Chances are it takes discipline, intelligence, and yes, more than a little bit of effort.
Think back to the time when you first entered into the work force. You probably had a number of years of schooling under your belt, but how much did you know about your chosen discipline, beyond what the books taught? While academic knowledge on a subject is very useful, it can only get you so far in a real world situation. To make the most of a challenge, you need the discipline- the ability to follow a specific pattern of behavior that combines experience and your education to produce a desired result. After all, in most cases the sign of a successful day is when an idea, an object, or a situation is created or made better.
If you want to see an example of true discipline, consider the average farmer. While some work only five days a week, in truth a farmer works nearly every day tending to his crops, his animals, and making sure his next harvest is a success. He is normally up at the break of dawn, and sometimes doesn’t go to bed until well after the sun has set. To simply make the entire day work, a farmer needs to have a great deal of drive and discipline. Think what would happen if he took a week, or even a day off. Depending on the time of year, that succulent peach or sweet ear of corn sitting at your table wouldn’t be there. Either weeds or insects might have gotten the best of his crops.
Or consider the disciplines of a stock broker. Every day that the market is open for business, his clients trust him with a lot of financial responsibility. He acts as the middle man between the stock market and the investors, buying or selling their portfolios on a regular basis to make sure their investments bring a profit. He also can act as a financial adviser, offering expert advice on what companies provide the best return and which ones fall short of the clients’ ideals and financial goals. Their day begins long before the opening bell, and their office hours for their clients often extend beyond the closing bell.
However, before they spend any time on the floor, a stock broker must have the dedication and discipline to go through a number of years of training in order to obtain a license to trade on the open market. This can mean ten to twelve hour days learning from another veteran stock broker, taking classes, and studying for the all-important exam.
These two examples of discipline should help you take a moment to reassess what you do. Everyone, whether your chosen career is to cook food at a local diner, or to run a Fortune 500 company needs to re-evaluate and refine the disciplines in your everyday life. Start the process, just like you did all those years ago. Why do you do what you do? What gives you the ability to rise up each and every morning? What fuels the discipline you have to go through your day when everything isn’t going quite right?