On Disciplining Habits

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost-I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in-it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street. (Nelson 1977)

That poem is titled “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters”, penned by Portia Nelson, a cancer survivor who were once an American singer, songwriter, and author. You can read the details of her life here.

That poem reminds me of one’s struggle in discipling his life away from bad habits. Everyone have bad habits and it’s one of the factors which slow down one’s progress toward personal development. It’s not really easy to put it down. It even took years for one to completely put the habits away.

I believe the line with the bold effect “It is  my fault” is one of the breakthroughs one must achieve in mortifying the habits. People often blame external factors for their fall, and that itself  is a form of escapism that makes him feel not so guilty. By starting to blame yourself, you’ll start gearing up youtself to get away from the habit.

Weeks afterward, you’ll see what makes or breaks you in life: Discipline. By discipline almost every impossible feats are accomplished. For within you is the arsenal that have made human the masters of the earth. That limitless potential is yours through discipline.

Above all, keep your faith in God. It is by God’s grace that you know what you’re meant to in this world. It is also by God’s grace that you’re given the strength to accomplish things in reaching that purpose, including harnessing your limited flesh. For what man is great without his / her origin, who is God?


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