Success is obtained by a predesigned routine adhered to faithfully. Routine can also sustain success. It keeps you focused on what truly matters when you are tempted to break the rules.
There will be times after you reach success that chaotic circumstances arrive to confuse you. When mentoring one such person we will name Isaac, I stressed the importance of keeping his appointments for coaching. I have learned that when going through difficult patches in life, keeping appointments forces you to continue even when you feel like quitting.
Isaac expressed a feeling of guilt in keeping his appointments. He explained that he felt like he was just surviving from one to the next. He stated he was not being fair to me as his counselor. The reality, of course, was just the opposite. His guilt was false; his routine was enabling survival; and raw truth is the substance in which success can be rediscovered.
From those appointments where days passed in between, Isaac was encouraged to start implementing a bit of reading, meditating, and exercising. At first he could only handle 5 minutes of each. The time spent was not so important as the creation of the habit.
Determine you will grow and keep every new appointment. Reward yourself with something relaxing. Do not feel guilty. You are developing a routine. You are working with a purpose and resting with intent.
Volunteer for some cause. The regular contribution will fill your calendar. You are living! Visualize a life with Hope. It is within your grasp.
I cannot stress how important it is that you create a routine as soon as possible. This is where Religion can be helpful. Regular attendance to their scheduled services sustains a routine. Opportunities to serve others through their ministries enhance your routine.
Do what you must to develop weekly activities and hold yourself accountable to keep these commitments. You will find Hope opening its door as you develop a routine through Life.
And this is the fascinating intersection of Ethics with Religion.
Being reared with a heavy influence of the religious community, I was always under the impression that ethics is an extension of religion. Imagine how surprised I was once I learned to read classical literature. Discovering that ethics preceded western Christianity was revolutionary. However, to pretend the great sages of old did not have spiritual ideologies is equivalent to burying one’s head in the sand.
Religion is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods” (Oxford Dictionary Press). In practice, stripped to its core, Religion is merely routine. It is a set of practices (worship) that exercise their core values (belief). In this sense, Ethics and Religion are one and the same.
Ethics is a faithful adherence to what is perceived as good and right. This begins with integrity. Integrity is being true to one’s self. This practice of self-truthfulness in action expands to a practice of truthfulness in relationships with others. Ethics is the working out of personalized truths and in this sense shares a practice on par with Religion.
Religion did not give birth to Ethics. It is the other way around. The point is that so-called “non-religious” persons are often ethical because of their religious-like practices. They may not belong to a particular worship of God or gods; yet their life is full of routine that elevates values beyond themselves.
And it is the emphasis of this routine that keeps our actions consistent with ethical values.