Archive for December, 2012

The greatest gift to your children: self-discipline

“The profile of a wealthy person is this: hard work, perseverance, and most of all, self-discipline.  The average wealthy person has lived all his adult life in the same town.  He’s been married once and is still married.  He lives in a middle-class neighborhood next to people with a fraction of his wealth.  He’s a compulsive saver and investor, and he’s made his money on his own.  Eighty percent of America’s millionaires are first-generation rich.  (Doesn’t sound to me like opportunity is dead.)” Zig Ziglar (Bolded for emphasis)

One of the greatest gift a parent can give a child is not money, education or discipline; it is self-discipline. Too many parents focus on discipline to raise their kids while not realizing that discipline can go against the very grain of self-discipline. What is discipline in the context of a parent-child relationship? In that context, I define discipline as a form of punishment to make a child stop engaging in a negative or counterproductive behavior. I’m thinking specifically of punishments to encourage good behaviors such as no wathcing TV or no cell phone use for behavior such as not doing homework.

On the other hand, I define self-discipline as willingly doing what is needed to achieve a long term goal. Why is it that we don’t want our kids to smoke? Because we know it could cause long term health issues such as cancer. Why do we want them to choose homework over play if they only have time for homework? We could think of the skill being taught in that case as giving priority to school work to get good grades. The long lasting skill here is the ability to prioritize to defer short term pleasure for a more worthwhile goal. When a parent has to take the phone away so a kid can focus on an important test the next day, that is discipline. When a kid realizes that the only way to concentrate and prepare for the test is to turn that phone off and do it, that is self-discipline.

Why is teaching self-discipline so important? The simple reason is this. First, every self-disciplined person that I know happen to be very successful. It is so true that I can confidently say show me someone who is self-disciplined and I will show you someone who will be successfull (where I define success as the ability to reach one’s personal goals).

December 6, 2012 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

What is the top?

Last week, Zig Ziglar who was one of the motivators that had the most influence on me past away. In particular, I highly “Over the Top” which I have read and re-read several times. In honor of Zig Ziglar, throughout the month of December I will share some thoughts, concept or perhaps experience that derive directly from this book. To start-off, here is the list given by Zig on how you might know if you are at the top.

You are at the top:

  1. You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is your brand-new day.
  2. You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present, and optimistic about your future.
  3. You know that success (a win) doesn’t make you, and failure (a loss) doesn’t break you.
  4. You are filled with faith, hope, and love; and live without anger, greed, guilt, envy, or thoughts of revenge.
  5. You are mature enough to delay gratification and shift your focus from your rights to your responsibilities.
  6. You know that failure to stand for what is morally right is the prelude to being the victim of what is criminally wrong.
  7. You are secure in who you are, so you are at peace with God and in fellowship with man.
  8. You have made friends of your adversaries, and have gained the love and respect of those who know you best.
  9. You understand that others can give you pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when you do things for others.
  10. 10. You are pleasant to the grouch, courteous to the rude, and generous to the needy.
  11. 11. You love the unlovable, give hope to the hopeless, friendship to the friendless, and encouragement to the discouraged.
  12. 12. You can look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion, and up with gratitude.
  13. 13. You know that “he who would be the greatest among you must become the servant of all.”
  14. 14. You recognize, confess, develop, and use your God-given physical, mental, and spiritual abilities to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind.
  15. 15. You stand in front of the Creator of the universe, and He says to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

I was first exposed to Zig Ziglar and another influential motivator Denis Waitley (“Seeds of Greatness”) when I was going through a tough time: pregnant wife and deciding if I should pursue graduate school or find a professional job or several odd jobs together to take care of my young family.

Zig Ziglar’s book gave me the fortitude to keep soldiering on and to dare to think big despite the present circumstances that I was facing. What I was able to get from the book was that I could go from survival to success. However, at that time I was not in a position to get the other part of his message that one should aim beyond success to significance.  He planted the seed for me to get the message at a later point in my life.

To Zig’s family thank you for sharing him with the world and with me personally.

December 4, 2012 at 2:25 am Leave a comment


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