Discipline or regret? It’s your choice.

“We ALL must suffer from one of two pains… the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference between them is this: The pain of discipline weighs ounces. The pain of regret weighs tons” – Jim Rohn Quote

The Pain of Discipline:

Discipline is hard. Even the word itself sounds painful! I like to think of discipline in 2 different ways:

First, there’s being disciplined when you are a young child. When you are young and still figuring out how life works, your parents discipline you to teach you the difference between right and wrong. This seems unfair as a kid, but, ultimately you learn when you are older that the more discipline you were given as a child, the less trouble you get into later in life.

Next, there’s self discipline. This is the discipline that you administer to yourself on an ongoing basis. Self discipline is an extremely valuable character trait and necessary for success. Discipline allows you to stay focussed on your goals, as well as helps you control your actions and emotions to various situations. Lacking self discipline leads to frivolous actions that don’t contribute to a happy life.

Whilst discipline sounds hard, it’s actually easier relative to it’s alternative…

The Pain of Regret:

Regret is the painful feeling of one wishing they had made a different decision earlier in life. Since we can’t go back in time and change events, dealing with the pain of regret is hard.

We all have some regrets in life. (Actually, I wrote a long blog post about the top 5 regrets of dying people, and how I’m trying to avoid them later in life.)

I like to think about regret in a few different ways:

  1. Dealing with regret: When you feel the pain of regret, you need to figure out how to move on with life ASAP. The longer dwell on your regret, the more it will rob you of your future happiness. Every minute you spend thinking about events you can’t control, those are minutes you are not spending on actions that are within your control. So, try to acknowledge that you made a wrong decision in the past, forgive yourself, focus on the future, make new plans and move on!
  2. AVOID regret: This brings us back to the either/or situation from the Jim Rohn quote. The only way to avoid the pain of regret is to endure the pain of discipline. Making painful decisions today can lead to less disappointment later in life. You can avoid the feeling of remorse completely if you choose discipline today.

Discipline or Regret? – Make a New Habit

Trust me, the pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret. Remember: Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons.

How can you integrate discipline into your daily habits so that you can avoid more regrets later in life? Try some of these things:

  • Say yes to new experiences: Most people avoid new experiences because they are unsure or scared of the outcome. But having the discipline to try anything and everything leads to a more joyful life. Most people regret the things they didn’t do, vs. the things they did do!
  • Go the extra mile: A lot of regret comes from wishing you tried harder in life. Studied more, worked out harder, paid more attention, stopped being lazy, etc.. You can avoid that pain of regret by trying harder TODAY.
  • Ask dumb questions: It can be scary and feel painful to ask dumb questions. But it’s better than making a dumb mistake and feeling regret later!
  • Save the extra dollar, TODAY: As someone who will be retiring in my early 40’s, I can promise you that the discipline I put in to saving money early in life is 100% worth it. I have no regrets about how I saved early in life. Whereas many of my peers have ample money regrets.
  • Do the opposite of everyone else: It’s hard to stand out against the crowd. But the reality is if you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll get the same results as everyone else. Discipline yourself to be different and achieve a higher level of success.

So, what’s it gonna be today? Can you add a bit of discipline to your day?

Wishing you a painful day! (in the good sense, not the bad 😉)
Love, Joel

Pain of discipline quote

Ps. if you want to keep reading, here’s a few more famous quotes for some motivation!…

More Regret Quotes:

“Regret is a form of punishment itself” – Nouman Ali Khan. The feeling of regret is so strong that it can feel like a punishment fo not making the right choice earlier in life.

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience” – Victoria Holt. This is a really positive way to explain the past experiences that you can do nothing about. Like I mentioned, we all have regrets in life — things we wish we could go back and change — but instead of feeling the pain of regret, think of it as experience. It will help you not repeat past mistakes.

“As you grow older, you’ll realize the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do” – Zachary Scott. As I mentioned earlier… having the discipline to say Yes and put in the extra effort upfront will save you from disappointment later in life.

More Discipline Quotes:

“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you going” – John C. Maxwell. Most people think motivation is the priority each day. Finding ways to get started and wake up. But motivation is fleeting. It’s truly discipline that compounds and builds a solid habit.

“Discipline yourself before you discipline others” – Unknown. It’s extremely important to take ownership of your discipline. Forget what others are doing — most of your regrets later in life are because of your own actions.

“Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature” – Dennis Prager. Limiting your own happiness is the biggest regret in most people’s life. Learning self discipline can help you avoid this, be happier and ultimately more successful!

Who said the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

Jim Rohn is credited with this saying, and mentioned it often in his motivational seminars. Jim was an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker.

Sadly, Jim Rohn passed away in 2009. But his quotes will live forever.


Whelp, that’s all for now. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

*Feature pic by Brett Jordan!