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Self Discipline: The Breakfast of Champions


wheatiesThis blog was originally posted May 28, 2013. 

dis·ci·pline (d s-pl n) n. 1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement, knowledge that develops self-control, character

Discipline and self-discipline are often used interchangeably, yet they are as different as night and day. One is extrinsic, the other intrinsic. External discipline in the outer environment can create habits but if there is not internal buy in then the moment the external constraints are removed people tend to revert to their baseline. The trim, fit solider or athletic who grow a pot belly once discharged, the kids who throw a wild party when the parents are out of town.

Self discipline is the life management skill we use to
- Get ourselves to do the things we don’t necessarily want to do to in order to get want we truly want
- Get ourselves started in a task or project we know we will enjoy once we get going
- Do something long enough to create a habit (e.g.pattern of positive rewards) that will continue to pull us forward once established.

To cultivate self discipline,

1. Develop the skill of visualization. See yourself doing the task relatively effortlessly or with steadily increasing skill and/or enjoyment. Vividly imagine the rewards, the payoff you are seeking. See yourself enjoying them. See the behavior as a natural part of you, something you are comfortable with, something the new you would miss doing.

2. Baby steps: Build on small victories.

3. Celebrate progress: look for ways to make it fun or a game, a competition.

4. Surround yourself with a network of like minded people who will support you, cheer you on if you falter. Setbacks are inevitable but so is victory to those that persevere.

5. Journal: Read inspirational literature.

Closing quotes:

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.”  — Theodore Roosevelt; 1958–1919, 26th U.S. President

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”  — Jim Rohn; 1930–2009

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”  — Zig Ziglar; 1926–2012

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. Nathan S. Collier

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Rules are for the Guidance of the Wise, The Blind Obedience of Fools


Ben Bernarnke, former chair of the Federal Reserve until early 2014, commands $250,000 per speech. Any Fortune 500 company would consider it a fantastic coup to have him on the board. Firms would line up around the block to pay him 7 or 8 figures to have him represent them.

Ben Bernarnke, arguably one of the best credit risks in America, was unable to refinance his home mortgage. Why? Because just like the TinMan, our finance industry has no brain. Instead the decisions about your financial future are made via highly automated algorithms.  Ben recently changed jobs. Bad, bad, bad says the computer. Ben’s income is now variable, perhaps even unpredictable. Bad, bad bad says the computer. No, No, No says the commuter. (New York Times, 10/3/14 p. B1 Why Can’t This Man Refinance?”)

Algorithms are terrific; they automate many important tasks, in theory freeing up humans to take on more important tasks, make better decisions. The danger is that we forget the limits of formulas, we forget to build some flexibility into the process; we take the human completely out of the loop.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn – Nathan S. Collier

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When “Circling the Wagons” Makes Things Worse

Bill de Blasio, William J. Bratton

I am proud to be a lawyer, a member of the Florida Bar. Yet I’ve noticed a tendency in my profession to defend any member perceived to be under attack, to go easy upon the inevitable miscreants in our midst, perhaps from an “us v. them” perspective or perhaps from a “there but for the grace of god go I” point of view. The legal profession is not unique, many groups display this tendency – doctors, police officers and teachers unions just to name a few.

I’ve never understood this “circling the wagons” attitude particularly when there is significant evidence of misbehavior. I WANT to have HIGH standards for my group and I want to cull out those that do not live up to those standards. My first social identity is as an overall member of society and my first duty under the Social Contract is to protect society as a whole, to support those actions that engender the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest period of time (which I believe means a free, democratic society).

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton displayed remarkable courage when he publicly spoke of the “very few… who poisoned the well” and whose actions hampered the work of the rest of their colleagues: “My intention going forward is to ensure that we will aggressively seek out those who should not be there – the brutal, the corrupt, the racist, the incompetent.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/3/2014, “Bratton Tells Police Brass: Oust Bad Cops”, New York Times 10/3/14, p. A14 “Bratton Says Police Dept. Must Dismiss Officers Who Are ‘Poisoning the Well’”)

Our loyalty to any group of which we are a member should never be higher than our adherence to our fundamental moral values, our ethics.

 As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. Nathan S. Collier

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