The Dummies' Guide To Self-Discipline

Updated: Jan 7

Let me ask you this one simple question - Are you meant to be an entrepreneur? I mean, really?


Certain types of people THRIVE💃as an entrepreneur. And others 💀⚱️ as one...

No matter how hard they try.😩


It's really not for everyone.


There is a reason why 66% of small businesses fail💥

And why more than HALF those that survive...


Earning less than if they just stuck with their jobs.


Prevent yourself from being a statistic nothing... you simply lack knowledge and experience.


Answer? Simple really -- discipline; educate yourself!


For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. That’s one of life’s great arrangements. If you sow well, you will reap well. Life is full of laws that both govern and explain behaviours, but the law of sowing and reaping may well be the major law we need to understand: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards.


What a concept! If you render unique service, your reward will be multiplied. If you’re fair and honest and patient with others, your reward will be multiplied. If you give more than you expect to receive, your reward is more than you expect.


But remember: The key word here—as you might well imagine—is discipline.


Everything of value requires care, attention and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct, or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confused results.


Remember the law: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. Learn the discipline of writing a card or a letter to a friend. Learn the discipline of paying your bills on time, or arriving to appointments on time, or using your time more effectively. Learn the discipline of paying attention, or paying your taxes, or paying yourself. Learn the discipline of having regular meetings with your associates, or your spouse, or your child, or your parent. Learn the discipline of learning all you can learn, of teaching all you can teach, of reading all you can read.


For each discipline, multiple rewards; for each book, new knowledge; for each success, new ambition; for each challenge, new understanding; for each failure, new determination. Life is like that. Even the bad experiences of life provide their own special contribution. But a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life’s disciplines: everything has its price.

Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time.


That’s what I call the Law of Familiarity. Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life is not a practice session.


Think about your life at this moment. What areas need attention right now? Perhaps you’ve had a disagreement with someone you love or someone who loves you, and your anger won’t allow you to speak to that person. Wouldn’t this be an ideal time to examine your need for a new discipline? Perhaps you’re on the brink of giving up, or starting over, or starting out. And the only missing ingredient to your incredible success story in the future is a new and self-imposed discipline that will make you try harder and work more intensely than you ever thought you could.


The most valuable form of discipline is the one that you impose upon yourself. Don’t wait for things to deteriorate so drastically that someone else must impose discipline in your life. Wouldn’t that be tragic? How could you possibly explain the fact that someone else thought more of you than you thought of yourself? That they forced you to get up early and get out into the marketplace when you would have been content to let success go to someone else who cared more about themselves.


Your life, my life, the life of each one of us is going to serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition… or an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed, and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.


Set your goals right.

The most important benefit of setting goals isn’t achieving your goal; it’s what you do and the person you become in order to achieve your goal that’s the real benefit.


Goal setting is powerful because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are great because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better.


Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term and live short-term. We dream for the future and live in the present. Unfortunately, the present can produce many difficult obstacles. But setting goals provides long-term vision in our lives. We all need powerful, long-range goals to help us get past those short-term obstacles. Fortunately, the more powerful our goals are, the more we’ll be able to act on and guarantee that they will actually come to pass.


What are the key aspects to learn and remember when studying and writing our goals?


Here’s a closer look at goal setting and how you can make it forceful and practical:


1. Evaluate and reflect.


The only way we can reasonably decide what we want in the future and how we’ll get there is to know where we are right now and what our current level of satisfaction is. So first, take some time to think through and write down your current situation; then ask this question on each key point: Is that OK?


The purpose of evaluation is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for life. Secondly, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. Evaluation gives you a baseline to work from.


Take a couple of hours this week to evaluate and reflect. See where you are and write it down so that as the months progress and you continue a regular time of evaluation and reflection, you will see just how much ground you’re gaining—and that will be exciting!


2. Define your dreams and goals.


One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life and the ability to establish and set goals to live out those dreams. We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for our families and ourselves. We can dream of better financial, emotional, spiritual or physical lives. We have also been given the ability to not only dream, but also pursue those dreams—and not just pursue them, but the cognitive ability to lay out a plan and strategies to achieve those dreams. Powerful!


What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but they are there.


Take time to be quiet.

This is something that we don’t do enough of in this busy world of ours. We rush; rush, rush, and we’re constantly listening to noise all around us. The human heart was meant for times of quiet—to peer deep within. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams. Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cell phone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen and your thoughts.


Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish—remember—you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.


Think about what really thrills you.

When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you love to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you love to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed? What big thoughts move your heart into a state of excitement and joy? When you answer these questions you will feel great and you will be in the “dream zone.” It is only when we get to this point that we experience what our dreams are.


Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish—remember—you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.


Now, prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them. Remember, we are always moving toward action—not just dreaming.


3. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.


The acronym S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.


Specific:


Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.


Measurable:


Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific.


Attainable:


One of the detrimental things that many people do—with good intentions—is setting goals that are so high that they are unattainable.


Realistic:


The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that are simply not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic—that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic.


Time:


Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end—a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. As time goes by, you work on it because you don’t want to get behind, and you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different parts of measurement and timeframes—that is OK. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline.


4. Have accountability.


When someone knows what your goals are, they hold you accountable by asking you to “give an account” of where you are in the process of achieving that goal. Accountability puts some teeth into the process. If a goal is set and only one person knows it, does it really have any power? Many times, no. A goal isn’t as powerful if you don’t have one or more people who can hold you accountable to it.


Let me share my SECRET with You.


Everybody loves a good secret. In fact, the juicier, the better. Why? Because we all love being insiders. We love the feeling of exclusivity, of knowing something that’s just ours and no one else’s.


But in business, secrets do more than just stroke our egos. I love having the upper hand. I love having the “unfair advantage”…


What’s “the secret”? Well, there isn’t just one. But think about this: “Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge.”


In other words, when it comes to success, what matters isn’t so much learning something new but putting into practice what we already know.


Here are four not-so-secret secrets of insanely successful people:


1. They have a vision.


According to Warren Bennis’s classic On Becoming a Leader, leadership is “the capacity to translate vision into reality.” This means that success starts with answering a fundamental question, What do I really want?


Whether you call the answer to that questions your mission statement, core values, brand identity or just your goals doesn’t really matter. Because “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”


Here’s how I unpack this idea: The leader has a clear idea of what he or she wants to do—professionally and personally—and the strength to persist in the face of setbacks, even failures.


The key word is “clear.” And clarity means writing it down.


In fact, two of the most statistically significant factors that set the richest people apart from everyone else are that 81 percent of them maintain a to-do list and 80 percent focus on accomplishing a specific goal.


2. They are honest.


Successful people tell the truth. This sounds so obvious that you might think it doesn’t even need to be said. But in a climate where the pressure to look good, performs well, eke out profits and win by any means necessary is constantly increasing, honesty is becoming a scarce commodity.


And yet, honesty pays.


According to research in Robert B. Cialdini’s Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, when companies “explained failures in their annual reports, those that pointed to internal and controllable factors had higher stock prices one year later than those that pointed to external and uncontrollable factors.”


In other words, taking responsibility for our mistakes and admitting when we’re wrong isn’t just relationally smart—it’s financially savvy.


Another study, conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, found companies that “rated highly in the area of open communication” and encouraged honest feedback among their staff delivered a “10-year total shareholder return that was 270 percent more than other companies.”


And what’s true for companies is just as true for myself. Leaders never lie to themselves, especially about themselves…. You are your own raw material.


3. They show gratitude.


Without gratitude, you aren’t being mindful or totally thankful of the good things in life—and your perspective is probably skewed to the negative as a result. You might even have less motivation to go after more good things, if you aren’t grateful of the ones you already have.


We tend to think of gratitude as a spontaneous emotion, something that just happens to us in moments of triumph or success. In reality, though, gratitude is something we develop. And just like all the other not-so-secret secrets on this list, it is something we choose, something we make a wide-eyed, premeditated, self-determined decision to experience.


How? By actively looking for reasons to be grateful and second, by simply saying, “thank you.”


When we look for reasons to be grateful—when we make that our intentional focus—we find them. On top of that, when we call attention to those reasons, we cultivate gratitude not only within ourselves but within our relationships and organizations.


4. They are adaptive.


Success isn’t about avoiding failure. It’s about learning from failure.


Take Thomas Edison’s famous quote about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”


The key is to cultivate what Eric Ries in The Lean Startup calls “validated learning. “Validated learning is not an after-the-fact realization or a good story designed to hide failure,” he says. “It is the principal antidote to the lethal problem of achieving failure: successfully executing a plan that leads nowhere.”


For Ries, this antidote comes down to one skill: the ability to adapt.“ What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.”


All this means is that instead of hiding from failure, insanely successful people anticipate and integrate failure into their lives in ways that transform it from an end into a means.


We all love a good secret. But the truth is, when it comes to success, there’s no such thing. So start small, but start today. Pick one of these four “secrets” and put it to work.


Questions? Just ask in comments...


Chase The Greatness!

Dominik Stone

Dominik Stone

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