“The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.”
Sarah Bombell, Olympic synchronized swimmer
This quote hung in my room for years; it is one of my all time favorites. It's been on my mind lately.
I think to understand these words-- to really understand them-- you must have experienced the pain of regret that comes from a lack of discipline. It is one of the most heartbreaking kinds of pain that I know.
Discipline is what causes you do what is necessary to achieve your goals. It is the hardest part of doing great things in life. Discipline isn't fun, but it is part of a well-lived life. It is what causes people to rise above "the norm" and accomplish amazing things.
Regret is the feeling that you could have done something, but knowing, in your heart, that you didn't have the follow-through to finish. It is one of the worst feelings I know. To feel as though I could have made a difference or reached a goal, but didn't have the mental discipline to keep going until it was done, is a feeling I avoid at all costs.
Regret can haunt you. There is no routine or discipline that is more painful than the disappointment of not achieving a dream.
Goals, professional and personal, are not reached by wishful thinking or just positive attitudes; they are conquered in the trenches everyday, sometimes doing the same thing over and over again with little measurable gain.
But, the work is always worth it in the end. When goals are worth the fight, they taste even sweeter in victory.