Self-Discipline

Success is the continuous accomplishment of planned, meaningful objectives.

And, as often been said, it is a journey not a destination – a journey that is made up of lots of little acts of preparation. Preparation is the key because when the right opportunities for you appear, which they increasingly do the more successful you become, you can only extract value from them when – not if – when you are prepared.

Preparation requires Self-Discipline – one of the hardest qualities to develop, yet without question the most important, because it is the very foundation stone of character and competency building.

The trouble is that it is a very heavy stone to put in place.

But there is a secret to lifting it and that is having motivation. Indeed the burden of developing your self-discipline is in direct proportion to the amount of reasons you have for doing something: The more reasons to motivate you do something – the lighter the load. And this is the best way to build Self-Discipline.

Self-Discipline is doing the things that you have to do, and following them through even though the motivation you had when you started may have already left you. And the best way to build a habit is to do something every day, until it becomes a habit.

From the age of 10 year old I was given chores that I had to do every morning before I went to school. Let me explain what my chores were…

I got out of bed every morning at 05:30. While my father prepared the Dairy, I went to get the cows.

While the cows were being milked I went into the Kale Fields to move the electric fence ready for the next day’s eating area (Kale enriches Cows Milk and they are allowed a certain amount each day, but is must be monitored because they love it. Without the electric fence they would bloat themselves).

The field was 50 yards long and the electric fence had to be moved 1 yard in. That involved me switching off the electric fence machine, pulling up the poles and wire, walking a yard in to the Kale, and repositioning the poles and wire.

Now as the field was long, and Kale is big and leafy and holds a lot of moisture from rain or dew, after moving the fence I was almost always soaked through.

The indicator bulb, to show that the fence was on, was broken, so the only way to know that it was working – and it was important that it worked – was by me having to touch it and get an electric shock. Sounds bad, but the shock is not that big and you do get used to it – though clearly I have not forgotten it!

After that I returned to the Dairy and cleaned out all the dung that had built up from the previous evening’s milking and as well as the morning’s shift, in the milking yard.

Shoveling cowshit is not like collecting horse manure: it is all fluid. I then got ready for school, had breakfast and cycled 2 miles to the village to then catch the School Bus that traveled 10 miles to the town.

After School I would return the 10 miles, cycle back from the village – which this time was all uphill, and clean out the pigs before doing my homework, reading and going to bed.

I did that almost everyday, including holidays and Christmas Day (cows still need milking) for 4 years until my father was forced to sell the farm as he could no longer afford to run it.

Rising early mornings to write for an hour has produced 20 books and developed 60 programs without significantly impacting my workday.

When you develop the self-discipline to do whatever it takes to get the job done, you significantly increase your preparedness so that when you recognize the right opportunities that present themselves to you, you are able to embrace them.

People that do NOT take time to develop the habit of Self-Discipline make excuses.

People that DO take time to develop the habit don’t have to – because they are prepared.

The key is to make certain that you are very clear on your goals.

And the most important factor in goal setting is having lots and lots of reasons to motivate you.

If you can have 50 reasons why you want to do something, then you are already half-way there to getting it and your self-discipline is well motivated.

If you have only 5 reason, then it follows that you might well give up when you have to do something that causes you think: I’ll leave that for the moment – perhaps think about doing it at the weekend.

The opposite of Self-Discipline is Complacency.

And complacency is procrastination without a conscience.

People in business value Self-Discipline in others.

Commanding the respect of others is a great advantage in life and you get that edge with Self-Discipline.

Develop the habit of goal setting because it is the very best way to develop Self-Discipline...

and much better than shoveling cowshit!

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