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Archive for July, 2009

If you’ve seen the “Serenity Now!” episode of Seinfeld, you can infer the inflection in my voice as I conjure George Costanza and declare, “Humility Now!”

The success is that I have not lost sight of any of the disciplines I’m announced on Day 1.

The challenge is the timing. My old habits are pushing against the new ones. Old habits fighting for their lives. Instead of fighting back, I’m observing, thanking the old habits for their input, and fitting the new ones in as best I can.

Case in point: I haven’t skin brushed yet today and it’s already mid-afternoon. My habit of jumping into my projects and putting off routines is strong today. “Okay, thanks for sharing.”

I’m signing off now to do my skin brushing…

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The Monday health cleanse was challenging, due in large part to the spontaneity of my commitment. I was not prepared with the right foods, so although my dinner was very healthy, it was not technically “cleanse-approved.” 🙂

I’m enjoying the 10 PM meditation. It gets me to bed much earlier than I’d gotten used to. It’s also a relaxing way to end the day.

I did the skin brushing and affirmations, and I ran.

Regarding my feelings around these disciplines, I feel committed without any strong emotions either way.

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To begin these 100 Days of Peaceful Discipline, I start with an excerpt from my upcoming book, Peaceful Productivity:

To use your systems and structures most effectively, you must be motivated by a sense of humble discipline. You must take your ego out of the equation. You don’t follow your systems because doing so makes you better or not doing so makes you worse. You don’t follow your systems because doing so is right and not doing so is wrong. You simply follow them because you’ve chosen to.

The discipline to follow your systems comes from a deep faith in the power of choice, a deep sense of personal responsibility. In that faith and responsibility is humility. By contrast, imagine a choice made from arrogance. How powerful of a choice is that? When you do something out of a feeling of superiority, you are giving away some of your power to whoever or whatever you’re feeling superior to because you’re reacting to it. In fact, arrogance is both reactive and non-present. Arrogance is a story in your head about why and how you will prove yourself better than other people by making some choice. But when you’re controlled by such stories, you can’t make powerful choices.

When you choose to commit to a discipline humbly and not arrogantly, you are choosing to have an experience. For example, in writing this book, I chose to commit to an intense writing schedule for three months. Not because it would make me better than anyone else, and not because other strategies for writing are worse or wrong, but because I wanted to have the experience of immersing myself in the writing. I wanted to find out what it felt like and what I could create at the end of that experience. And the only way to know that was to do it.

When you make the discipline about having an experience, it’s no longer personal. The choice is clear: To have the experience you must stick to the commitment. You’re not bad if you don’t. You simply won’t have the desired experience. And because you define the experience for a specific limited period of time, you also side-step the all-or-nothing pitfall.

Bring this mindset of humble discipline to your systems and structures. When you design them, do so with the understanding that they will give you an experience. Only after you’ve had the experience can you say if it served you or not. Assuming you can know what will work and what won’t before you try it is arrogant, as is assuming you know how a month-long discipline will feel after only having done it for a day or two. Be humble in your disciplines, structures, and systems. Take your choices seriously without making yourself right or wrong for those choices, and you’ll feel more empowered and committed in those choices.

Some of the disciplines I am choosing for the next 100 days are:

  • 10 PM meditation before bed
  • Monday health cleanse (fruits and vegetables only)
  • Skin brushing and affirmations in the morning
  • Daily reporting on this blog

If anyone wants to join me in adding a humble discipline to your life for the next 100 days (or some shorter time frame), please comment on this post.

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