The Pain of Discipline or Regret?

The Pain of Discipline or Regret?

I stumbled upon this quote from Jim Rohn several years ago, which didn’t inspire me much.  But as I get older, I’ve found that it may be one of life’s greatest truths…

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”


This statement is about the struggle to pass on a future benefit to obtain something less rewarding but more immediate, or what’s typically called instant gratification.

Looking back on life, I regret not doing better in school.  I wouldn’t have bombed so many tests or pulled all-nighters had I done just a little bit of studying each day.

I recall many times when I told myself I shouldn’t have had that last margarita or stayed up so late binge-watching a new tv series.

And if I had been better about saving my money early on, I could have avoided some stress later in life.

But the most challenging way we must suffer is physically caring for ourselves.

The temptations to pass on a workout to get another hour of sleep or to indulge when out at a restaurant are hard to pass up, especially when the side effects are hardly felt from a single occasion.  

But then, over time, it adds to a point where we say, “dang, I should have done things differently.”

There is no shortage of self-help books aimed at aligning your actions with what you truly want in life.  And balance is key to this success because instant gratification can make life more enjoyable and can improve consistency over the long term.

Specifically, discipline regarding physical health may seem daunting, as there is no real endpoint.  It’s not like you get in shape or change your habits to become healthy, and then you’re done.  It’s making choices every single day to choose your health over the pain (perhaps even quite literal pain) of regret.

Aim to adopt simple habits, like flossing your teeth and daily Crossover Symmetry, not only for what they give you at the moment but to protect you from regret later on.

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