“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
The dictionary defines self-discipline as the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Years ago, I learned that self-discipline was my super weapon. I realized that it was my ability to get started, to keep going, to not give up and to do what is difficult that had made the difference in my life.
Everything that was a success for me was first a failure for me. It was the ability to go back again and try that made the difference. It was the constant pursuit, getting back up after being knocked down, that helped me succeed.
I now view my physical smallness as an asset. I was always smaller than everyone else. But I learned from my dad that I couldn’t let that stop me from participating. I had to work harder. I had to look at big goals, bigger competitors, and decide to go for it anyway. By doing this I took a lot of lumps but sometimes I won. And those occasional victories were enough for me to see some hope. So, I would come back again and again and again. And I got better.
Many people run when things get hard or uncomfortable. They don’t have self-discipline. They say that it’s not meant for them to have their dreams or goals and they quit. They don’t know that with a bit more effort they could have won. They don’t know that their dream may be around the next corner.
I always use my wrestling experience as an example of my persistence and my self-discipline.
In high school I wrestled in the smallest weight class available and still was smaller than everyone I wrestled. My first year I knew little about the sport and was always outmatched. I lost every match. That meant every week I would get teased about being a loser. Kids that were not even on the wrestling team thought they were better than me and would challenge me daily.
Most folks would’ve said that this sport is not for me. But not me, I came back out my junior year. This time I won as many matches as I lost. I became just a little bit more confident. I began to associate hard work, learning the moves, and being in shape with winning. My senior year I came back and made it to the state championship. I even received a wrestling scholarship for college. This is after losing every single match my first year.
That was a learning experience.
Most people would rather do what comes easy, what they are comfortable doing. But there is no growth in only doing what you can already do. Just like building muscle, you need the resistance to get stronger.
Running marathons was another self-discipline act for me. It required that I developed a training plan and executed that plan daily. It takes me at least four months of training to run a 26.2-mile marathon. I run at least four times a week; two short runs, one medium and one long run. I start at five miles and work my way up to twenty miles.
But this requires daily discipline. If I don’t keep getting up every day and increasing my mileage weekly, I won’t be prepared on race day. If I don’t eat right and rest properly I will struggle with my runs. All of this requires self-discipline.
Now the way I think you develop discipline is by having a “why”. You need a reason that will motivate you and get you out on the road. In wrestling I didn’t want to be a loser and keep getting picked on. For my first marathon, my reason was that my nephew asked me to run with him and I didn’t want to let him down. At other times it may have been as simple as I wanted another medal, but I developed a “why” to help me stay focused on my goal.
Self-discipline has always been my key to success. The single most important attribute to my becoming successful has been self-discipline. It has help me stay focused on reaching my goals. It gives me the gumption to stick with difficult tasks. It has allowed me to overcome obstacles and discomfort and to push to new heights.
If you are looking for a secret weapon for your success, try self-discipline. It will work for you like it has worked for me.