So, today’s blog will probably not be quite as exciting and a bit disappointing, particularly if you were thinking I have some unique tricks to get results without effort. For others, it will be confirming to something you already know, understand, and employ daily. For others still, it will likely be a reminder that at the end of the day, Discipline, is the single determining factor to achieving results on any worthwhile endeavor.
Discipline is what gets you up in the morning and keeps you going late into the night to do what needs to be done despite distractions, disruptions, and challenges. Having a vision of what you want to achieve is important, knowing full well what you want and creating a plan on how to achieve that plan is also important. However, in the end, the discipline to rise each day at the appropriate hour to have enough time each day to accomplish that plan is imperative.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, achieve a certain fitness level, start a business, or finish that degree, no matter what the goal, it is discipline that drives you to that finish line. Energy and enthusiasm are important, but discipline keeps you pushing through regardless of circumstance. A blinding ambition to push through obstacles and hurdles of achieving important goals requires a daily commitment to that plan. The discipline to take the necessary action comes from within and is commonly referred to as personal discipline.
Holding yourself to a specific standard and nothing short of that standard is discipline. Getting to the gym each day to get that workout in, or run those 5 miles, or write that next 1000 words, these all require a significant level of discipline, an uncommon level that many people can’t muster. In fact, it is the lack of discipline that often keeps people from achieving their biggest goals, not the challenges themselves. Often, it is simply the action of pushing through that next workout, or 1000 word writing session, or 2 hours working on that paper, that keeps the momentum moving forward.
As we discussed in the last blog, momentum can be a cruel mistress that keeps you moving forward at blinding speed, or causes you to come to a grinding halt and potentially even start down the wrong path with negative momentum. The discipline to push through the day or next challenge keeps the next step in range and the whole project moving forward. Continuing to push through gives you more strength and courage to keep the faith and staying on course.
Discipline is what keeps the 1% Rule working in your favor. Discipline is what challenges you to progress with a Maximum Effort to drive your project forward, and discipline is what will keep your dedicated commitment to a daily Discretionary Effort. Nothing great can be achieved without a fair amount of discipline, personal discipline. Either to challenge yourself to delay gratification for the bigger payoff, to do what is necessary rather than what is easier, or even to do what is next to keep that momentum moving forward.
Most people don’t like this idea and are often looking for a simple solution, the productivity “Hack”, or “Silver Bullet” to avoid doing that tough stuff. I have had someone say to me verbatim, “I know what I need to do, but it is so hard to keep doing it every day, there must be an easier way”. My response to those people would be “Don’t ask for the task to be easier, ask to be stronger person. This way you can keep the pace and pushing forward.”
To ask for the task to be easier is a weak request, basically saying you’d prefer for the opportunity be given to you without work. We can all guess how that works out for anyone. Anything achieved without adequate effort and challenging work is called luck, and since you didn’t work for the opportunity most likely you won’t completely appreciate the opportunity. This then leads to the harder job of holding onto the opportunity or level of success achieved, and that can be even harder than achieving it in the first place. If you didn’t do much to gain the success, what do you think the odds are you will retain this level of success once you’ve achieved it? This is called the “One-hit Wonder”, think lottery winner who loses it all within 5 years after winning the money.
To find true success in life in any endeavor will require hard work. Whether it’s getting up hours before everyone else, to staying up late into the night to work on projects. Most likely it will require a combination of both and going without much sleep, may be necessary for you to achieve the levels of success you are looking for. This requires a level of personal discipline that few are willing to muster.
This however, is what separates those who find the levels of success in life that most others sit and marvel at, there is no other option. To close out this session, I will again say “Don’t ask for it to be easier, ask for yourself to be stronger”. This is the only way that you can be certain that you find the level of success that you are striving for.