Discipline – the classic struggle between what we want right now and what we want most.
Abraham Lincoln was an expert on making tough choices based on what he wanted most. He built a career and defined a nation by working for what he knew was necessary to unite our peoples and continue to establish America as a world power. After all how could a nation divided be the most powerful country in the world?
Discipline is something that many feel is a violation of their rights. They believe that if they want to do something, go somewhere, buy something, or say anything, it’s not “fair” to have to work for it or take into consideration the impacts their impulses will have on the big picture for their lives and what they want beyond that moment in time. The demand for instant gratification and knee-jerk reactions to the work and words of others has cast an ugly shadow over what we really need and want as a society.
If a person decides to lose weight, he or she knows adding exercise, drinking more water, and eating healthier foods are all ways to make the weight loss goal a reality. The same goes for our communities. If we want the ugliness of bias and division to go away, we have to make choices that are going to eliminate those unwanted beliefs and behaviors. Instead of taking to Facebook or Twitter when someone says or does something you disagree with, take a moment to consider why that choice was made. Before you claim to be the final voice on the matter, consider all the voices who have led to the formation of your opinion and theirs. What could you say or do, aside from declaring them unworthy of the air they breathe, to make the situation better? Before smashing windows, toppling monuments, and burning buildings, what are productive actions that could be taken to gain awareness for your position or situation?
Instead of accepting the ugliness of our current situation. Let’s set a discipline goal for ourselves. Let’s lose the loneliness created by unwillingness to listen. Let’s add compassion and honesty to our interactions. Cut out the destruction and degrading chatter that comes with creating divides between groups of people. Stop preserving stereotypes and biases. Start adding fresh perspective, honest reasoning, and the understanding that we all want the same thing: a world that lives, works, and grows together.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” – Abraham Lincoln
By taking this discipline challenge, we can all find greater value in the sacrifice of ignoring instant gratification. We will get the most from holding out for the hard-earned opportunity to live in a world with the greatest possibility, compassion, dedication, and intelligence possible. That’s what President Lincoln’s words are all about, the discipline to want the most. The most for our present and future, in spite of what may have happened in the past. Let’s do this! Let’s put the most dedication we can into establishing discipline in our world and find what we all need most.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I’m not telling you to go on a diet. I’m just saying, if we apply the same discipline to losing negativity as we do to pounds, things would feel a whole lot lighter in our world.