The Joys of being Responsible or Discipline Means Freedom (and some warm fuzzies)

The joys of being responsible. Discipline means freedom. They do sound rather contradictory, don’t they? But if you gently focus on the rewards of discipline, rather than any sense of stingy self denial, all will make sense. Working with a very broad definition of “rewards” will also help.

Yes, it can be a bore to practice musical scales forever. But when you know the scales so well they can be felt in your bone marrow, you gain the freedom of creating entire musical masterpieces. Which, if you think about, it how most of western music has been created.

The drudgery of practicing free throws for hours, is, well a drudge. But the freedom the muscle memory derived from all that practice gives you in a clutch is immeasurable. And the warm fuzzies you get, knowing that you contributed to the success of your teams, will keep you practicing free throws for months.

Yes, it momentarily feels bad to forgo the purchase of those cute little red shoes in the shop window, but doing so often enough, gives you the wherewithal, to invest your “passed up little red shoe” fund in a business or anything else that might generate income. With some luck, hard work, and hanging out with the right people, you’ll create the resources and freedom to buy all the little red shoes you can use. Or better yet, buy your little red shoes (OK sensible little red shoes) at TOMS Shoes. For every pair you buy, they give a pair to a child in need.

One of the many gifts of self discipline is the freedom of responsibility. Again, contradictory, but keep an open mind. Of the innumerable valuable insights derived from my many mentors is the joy of having the resources (educational, professional, & financial) of being responsible and sharing those resources. Recently I’ve found myself with the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the launching and sustaining of a new family. While the rest of my family continues its long time support of these young people, I’m now in the enviable position to add to their good work and intentions.

Which means, I now have the freedom and obligation to be successful, financially and spiritually, so I can support their success. My fruits will be the warm fuzzies (which can keep me going for months) of contributing to the success of members of my family, with no expectation of repayment. Re-filling the karma pool, if you will, as my family supported my success over the years.

One of the joys of all of this is that even when this young family becomes able to repay the family, would we really want them to? Probably not. Perhaps knowing that we can never fully be re-paid and that contributing to the success of someone else is far greater than the value what was provided to this new family. Perhaps rather than being repaid, our only expectation is that they do they same when the opportunity arises, either for their own children, or anyone else’s.

Pay It Forward

I once found a guy’s cell phone on a subway platform in New York City. A bit of poking around with the stored phone numbers identified whose phone I’d found. After arranging to meet at the clock at the information desk in Grand Central Station in NYC (is there anywhere else to meet a stranger in NYC?) I was taken aback, even slightly offended, when he offered a cash reward, which I declined. I enjoyed that, with so little effort, I’d made someone’s day a little easier. The whole exercise would have been some how diminished by a cash reward. In return, I asked him to pay it forward, and that was that. I’ve never heard from him again. While there’s no way of knowing if he paid it forward, those warm fuzzies kept me going for a long time.

So, I invite you to consider the discipline required to fulfill your responsibility of being successful, and the freedom it will give you to contribute to the success of others, as well as maintain a steady diet of warm fuzzies, which might be as good for you as a steady income.

Integrated Life Success


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