Four Ways I Fake Being Disciplined

In many ways, I’m a fraud. There’s no way around it and no way of hiding it.

Some (not many, just some) look at my life, have heard the goofy rules I make from year to year (like not drinking soft drinks or eating cookies or cake, or something ridiculous like that) and assume I’m disciplined. Some (not many, just some) may see that at times I start my days early in meetings and that proves some kind of discipline. Some (not many, just some) might assume that because I have a degree on my wall, I know how to get an education.

None of it is true. And Jim Collins lets me know that it’ll keep me from becoming truly great. (I actually really like his work.)

So, if you’re a fraud like me (or want to be), I thought I’d share with you a few ways that I fake discipline. . .

These are pretty easy for anyone to follow and can be summed up in four ideas:

  • Pay for it: The reason I spent I don’t remember how much on my education is because I’m not smart enough to go get it on my own. The really disciplined people do it on their own (like William Carey, who taught himself multiple languages to better understand and translate the Bible for people). The reason that I might go get more education is for that very same reason. In the same vein, I pay to work out because I don’t go run for free. Other people get this idea of free exercise, save the $70 a month, and are $840 a year richer. I take the hit.
  • Make others join you: I pretend that I like to read. What I really like is buying books I might read. If I actually want to read the book, I have to get others to do it with me. Case in point: I meet with a group of guys on Tuesday mornings. Why? Well, for one, I want to invest in them. But there’s also a selfish reason: there were some books I wanted to read and discuss with people I loved. And these guys were suckers enough to join me. And it’s been great. (I wonder how many will stop attending after reading this.) I do the same thing with dietary goals–someone else has to suffer, too.
  • Send people articles and blog entries on discipline and productivity: Peruse the blogosphere and social media to find those gurus who says things like, “Three tips to productivity” and “Four ways to make your life be magic” and “The secret no one told you that will make you a zillionaire.” Bookmark them and send them to people when you have a conversation about it. You’ll wow them with your repertoire; but your secret will be safe with me.
  • Schedule things early with people: I don’t schedule meetings early because I’m disciplined. It’s actually the opposite. Leave me to myself and I’ll roll out of bed at 9:30 or 10:00 (if the kids let me. . .and they won’t). But if I know people are waiting on me, I’m extra motivated to get up (externally motivated, actually [sorry, Jim]). I’d love to get up at 4am, read my Bible, pray, run some laps around the ‘hood, and dominate the day. I know that’s what awesome people do. I’m still working on awesome. I’ve been un-awesome for 15 years of knowing Jesus. Until awesomeness comes, I’ll meet you at 6am for pancakes and talk about how terrible I am. (No, I won’t meet you before 6am. Only wizards and warlocks do that.)

Pretty easy. And I won’t even charge you for it. Nor will I promise it will accomplish anything for you. But at least you’ll look accomplished.

4 Replies to “Four Ways I Fake Being Disciplined”

  1. Make sure that people see lots of books with bookmarks in them, but don’t let them know that you’ve only read 10 pages into every book and the total time you’ve been collecting them is for several years.

    1. Better yet, underline random sentences in said book to make it look as if you are reading it with an inquisitive eye (and ear?).

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