My Box Of Discipline Is Backordered

by Kevin Burton

   My wife brings me a piece of coffeecake from Starbucks. Great, I say, I’ll eat half of it for breakfast.

   She knows I love the coffeecake. And at some level, I know, I will not stop inhaling until I have eagerly shaken the crumbs from the bag it came in.

   Starbucks, great job, fantastic product. Please make them smaller!

   Thank God she didn’t bring me two!

   Something is desperately wrong here, but I fear it has nothing to do with Starbucks. It’s beginning to look as if the problem is a different product, something I have in all too short a supply.


   I speak to my mother by telephone most days and most days I give her a rundown of the things I have accomplished that day.

   I usually feel like I have been busy all day, but more often than not I don’t have very much of substance to report to mom.

   Day after day I hang up the phone and gaze upon an office with papers strewn about the table surfaces and the floor. The man cave looks like this too.

   I know what I should be doing and I always do some of it. But my areas of the house still look like a tornado hit there.

   How does this happen?

   Have you ever read “Good To Great”?  That’s a business book by Jim Collins, a study of eleven companies that performed financially, well above their industry average and sustained that level of excellence for at least 15 years.

   It’s essentially a corporate (and personal) roadmap for success.  I used to run around praising the book to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen. I must have sold hundreds of books for Collins.

   The book lists seven principles that point to how these eleven companies succeeded. The one I best retained in memory is “level five leadership,” which speaks to leaders who are humble but driven.

   The principle I just about jettisoned from memory was the fifth one, “culture of discipline.” Now, years after my first reading, I re-read the book the discipline stuff smacks me right between the eyes. How could I forget such a thing?

   On this blog, Tuesday is music day, Sunday I usually post something about Christian faith. There is no law that requires this but I like to have it that way.

   If you tune in Tuesday and I’m not talking music, you know I probably don’t have anything ready. That is not about lack of material, it is about lack of discipline.

   Amazon shipping is an ever-present help in time of need but it’s of no use here. I wish I could scroll the website and order a box of discipline. I’d like to ingest my discipline as a chewable vitamin, like Flintstones. Or, since this is my dream, make mine Calvin and Hobbes. 

   Either one though really. Pop one in and you’ve got your discipline.

   I have just enough space left here to write about my “eight steps to better discipline.” Just one problem, and it is a significant one: I have no eight steps, I have no steps at all. 

   Sorry to disappoint those of you who read this far to get my wisdom on the subject.

   Here’s more bad news: even discipline doesn’t get results. You need sustained discipline.

   So maybe once in May of 2017 I ate half the coffeecake and left the rest for the next day. That doesn’t help me today.

   I have a concept called “someday” that works at times. I wake up and say, OK, today’s the day. If that gets me four good hours of progress, I count it as good.

  Maybe every day should be someday?

   Yesterday I read a post by a favorite blogger who talked about getting things done. She challenged readers to take December to “get somethin’ done” then report to her what we did.

    It was obviously the message I needed, but I hesitated to declare that I would do it because I’ve been down this road before. I should say rather, I have half way down this road before.

   So what are the odds I get somethin’ done this month? They’re 50-50.

   After a lifetime of inaccurate weather forecasts I have dismissed them altogether. It will either rain or it won’t. It’s 50-50.

   I will first check Amazon to see if perhaps my box of discipline is backordered. Then I will buckle down and either make it happen, or not.

  In the meantime, if you have eight steps to better discipline, or even one step, please, please let me know.

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