Is cleanliness next to godliness?
Order is contagious. When you clean a certain area of your house, you notice the dirty areas more, and it can motivate you to attack more and more areas until your whole house shines. Never had that problem?
Well, give it a try. Pick one area to clean up and see if you don’t feel better about it. When I clean my car out, vacuum it, wash it, etc, suddenly I notice how unorganized my desk is at work. I come from organized cleanliness into an office of chaos and it makes me want to straighten things up. Order is contagious. Catch the virus!
Now order may be contagious, but I don’t think it necessarily goes hand-in-hand with self-discipline. I know many accomplished slobs. The question is how much more productive could they be with more order? I do think that if you are orderly, you must have self-discipline.
Another interesting thing to consider is the word disciple is derived from the same latin word discipulus which means instruction or knowledge. So in some ways, self-discipline is knowing and teaching ourselves good practices. And being more orderly is an excellent practice to teach ourselves.
Check your ego
Another good practice of self-discipline is to exercise our willpower muscle. It can get fatigued if used often without adding more fuel-sleep, sugar, exercise, etc. Ego is essentially a term referring to our “selves” or self-control.
We must take a quick ego-check or decision-fatigue check or brain-functioning inventory (call it whatever you like) before making important decisions. Why do you think the term “let me sleep on it” is so popular? You can’t make good decisions if you are tired.
Okay, I don’t really espouse the pessimist’s way of life, but rather the premortem. Fancy word, huh? It simply means “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” As you are considering a path you have chosen to take, you should picture failing and then consider what the reasons were for it not working out.
What were the temptations that took your eye off the prize? What obstacles did you encounter, and why didn’t you get past them? The more vividly you can paint this picture, the more prepared you will be when the real issues spring up along your journey toward your goal. For more on this, check out Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way.
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