People ask me how I am able to have money in my pocket and still walk a few miles, just to save the taxi or bus fare that I would have spent to go there. It baffles them to some extent, where with me I am unfazed by the idea of walking several miles, actually it has become a fun past time for me now. I do it almost all the time now, except when the distance gets around 10 miles and I have to get there early, otherwise, I putting foot to asphalt.
I would normally walk short distances when I was young in preference to getting to my destination by vehicle. So the basic tolerance for walking was already instilled in me from youth. But walking 1 mile as a youth to walking 20 miles in a tropical country like Jamaica, worst on a hungry stomach as an adult is a big leap in tolerance. The only reason this habit started was because I was broke and jobless three years back.
There were times I would forsake spending the money not knowing what tomorrow held for me. I remember a time when I had no money, I had ate nothing from the day before and had to walk to Spanish Town from Portmore (5 KM) just to get money from my father. I looked at the money pocketed it and walked back.
When I started volunteering, It was a little better, but money was low in those times still. So if I could make it, I would walk. When I had to go somewhere I had to ask myself what was more important a nice ride to my location or food on the table tomorrow, I chose food on a table.
I kept making decisions like that for a while, it was only the really long distances that would convince me to drop my stubbornness and pay for public transportation. As I walked more and more my tolerances and discipline increased hence my distances increased.
Time passed and I got a better job, I could easily afford to pay for transportation to wherever I wanted to go now. But I still walked, now at this point, I had already decided to become a entrepreneur. One thing I knew before walking into being an entrepreneur was that how I utilized my cash flow could make and break my efforts especially since I had to take care of my family on top of that. I could not waste opportunity or money.
So I did not, since I had already attained a good tolerance for walking, I kept up the discipline that I amassed so far. In time my tolerance rose until walking from Portmore to Spanish Town was not a struggle it was fun and very scenic.
Naturally, there were times I bruised the bottom of my feet. I even got bad feelings in the pit of stomach when I walked that I had to stop, but even with money in my pocket I would get back up after a while and walk on. Because that mindset was branded in me to such a level that it was harder for me to go into my pocket than walk in pain. Hell, I pretty much smiled at it.
Since I am trying to stay healthy, walking has become one of my exercise routines. So no pain no gain, I welcomed it. I would step out of my house just to walk, how far and where to….well that depends on my mood. I would walk to specific landmarks, maybe one or two, speed was not important unless I have business there. Rarely do I stop unless something happens to me, which is also rare.
I have never counted the amount of money I have saved not using public transportation. But I realized it is large and it makes me glad to know I have such control over my own behavior. Many people do not have such self-control and splurge away their resources. I did not because I know how hard I worked for it and would need it later.
Granted I am not perfect I still get lazy at times in some areas but my finances are tightly controlled by disciplined goals and behaviors to aid it.
· I walk to avoid paying for public transportation
· I do not buy food at fast food establishments or restaurants, I cook my lunch and carry it.
· I learned to cook my food and do not buy processed food that are relatively expensive and have little use value.
The areas I need to make up in would be my time management, but I am making good progress on that also. I have learned many things about discipline so let me label and expand on them below.
Thinking about it, I have come to realize that discipline and tolerance is something that grows, you cannot just get it like that. You have to practice it to amass the tolerance over some time, so when you have to call on it, it will answer. Because if I never did walking regularly, if I had no money would I walk 15 miles to go somewhere important, no I would probably say “There is no way I can go, might as well wait until I can get some money”.
While my current self would be like “No money….ok I’ll walk” Trust me, I would enjoy the walk up there.
PURPOSING YOUR DISCIPLINE WITH A GOAL
Why are you putting yourself through this? With me it was to save money, but that became kind of meaningless after a while, so i gave it a new purpose, good health. I was trying to keep my body in tip-top shape, so I took the walk as exercise. A discipline becomes more meaningful to you if you have a goal behind it. Especially an important one that you want to achieve.
LITTLE STEPS AT A TIME
One of the most important lessons I learned was the small steps logic. Many small achievements and steps are more important one big one. Why you ask? It shows a long track record of your actual progress in a certain area, this means you can see the development over a period of time. Why you think employers hire skilled or experienced workers over fresh university graduated candidates?
All university graduates have is a piece of paper which certifies knowledge in the field, but skilled and experienced workers usually come in with recommendations, vocational certificates, experiences working some important companies, achievements in important projects done with companies they worked at or with. They have a much more reliable record of their skills, because a employer can see how the applicant has developed over a period of time.
The same logic applies to discipline if I started big, I would lose heart much more easily and never complete. This why many drop out of university. If your university graduate focus on the smaller things like the projects you participated in and great things you did in university. Saying you got a degree is not an achievement, it is what you did to get the degree that would be of value to employer. I started off with short distances at first, until I could tolerate the longer distances.
Because of my record I can measure how well I have progressed and use it as motivation. “I did 2 miles this week, next week 3 miles!” You would just grow it like that. Focus on taking small leaps watch the success, before you know it you reach the big goal because you focused more dealing with the small tasks to get towards the big goal.
Discipline is something you work up to, we all have the willpower within us. So will you take that challenge and make that effort?
David Shaw is a certified nerd and scum of the earth. Jamaican by birth, he enjoys long walks and the simple things in life. He is also an entrepreneur, writer and graphic designer. You can follow his mundane madness on twitter @davidcs_aw