Life is full of choices. From silly slogans like, ‘take off your shoes or sweep the floor,’ to very real decisions of, ‘go to college or get a job,’ we make decisions all the time.

What fascinates me more than the choices we intentionally make, however, are the ones we unconsciously fall into. One such choice we often fail to recognize exists in our selection of pain.

In his Management 101 class, David Faucheux asks students a life-altering question.

“Do you want the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?”

Let me echo his question again, just to make sure it sinks in. Do you want the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

This is a choice we unconsciously make every day. We can live for the moment and have little regard for our future, or we can look to our future and invest today to better tomorrow.

On a daily basis, I get asked a lot of questions. Why do you spend so much time reading? Why are you taking extra college classes? Why did you choose to start a business as a teen? The list goes on. Funnily enough, all these questions are a variation of the same question: Why do you work so hard?

To put it simply, I’ve chosen to live with the pain of discipline, rather than the pain of regret.

Why do I spend so much time reading? So I can learn how to develop better relationships, be more efficient with my time, and generally live a satisfying life.

Why am I taking extra college classes? So I can accelerate my schooling and create more time to be selfish in my 20s.

Why did I choose to start a business as a teen? So I can be financially independent before I graduate college.

So, why do I work so hard? Truthfully, I work so hard so I can be selfish. So I can have freedom. So I can live the life I want to live, without being told things aren’t feasible or realistic.

I choose the pain of discipline so I don’t ever have to live with the pain of regret.

Which do you choose?