”A few simple disciplines practised every day”
Jim Rohn’s definition of success resonates with me because it is one of the few definitions of success that is both simple and true. If you want to create a successful life for yourself, to feel fulfilled, happy and accomplished, then you need to create a life of order and discipline so you can accomplish your goals and nurture the things that are important to you. To do that you need to practice a few simple disciplines every day.
Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished while sitting on a sofa, binge watching Game of Thrones or House of Cards. No weight was ever lost spending all day sat at a desk eating chocolate biscuits and cake. If you want to achieve something worthwhile you need to be doing something worthwhile. If you want to lose weight you need to reduce your calorie intake. It is simple, but it takes discipline and it is very hard to do that day in day out.
And that is the problem with achieving goals and building a life of accomplishment. It is not easy. It is very difficult and that is why so many people fail to achieve anything worthwhile in their lives. It is certainly not because of a lack of ability. I believe all humans, no matter what their background, their level of education or personal circumstances are, have the ability to achieve great things. We all have the ability to learn, to improve, to master a skill. At the same time, we all have the choice not to do so. And not doing anything about our ideas and dreams is much easier than doing something about them. Doing nothing about our goals, dreams and ideas is risk-free, it requires no effort and, sadly, is the norm. Most people choose the easy option and never do anything, and that is such a sad waste of human talent and ability.
The good news is this has a huge advantage for you. Because so few people are willing to make any kind of sacrifice to achieve greatness, it makes it much easier for you. All you need do is decide what it is you want to accomplish and then create a plan to achieve it. Once you have the plan in place, you can then begin practising the daily disciplines and actions that are needed to achieve your goal. It does not have to take up your whole day, it could be something as simple as reading around the subject you want to master. It maybe something like spending twenty minutes every day studying a new language, or exercising. It does not have to be any kind of sacrifice at all. The only thing it needs to be is done every day and that is where you need daily disciplines.
Ian Fleming, the creator and author of the James Bond novels is my writing hero. Every year in January, he would leave a cold, wet, dreary London had head over to Jamaica to his holiday home, Goldeneye. Once he arrived, he would follow a strict routine of writing every morning between 9 AM and 12 PM for the next six weeks. After breakfast each morning he would go into the living room, close the doors and settle down to three hours of writing. At the end of that six-week period, he would have a completed the first draft of a James Bond novel. He never compromised this routine, it was a daily discipline. Once he had finished writing for the day, he would tidy up his script, put it in the top drawer of his desk and then go out for a swim in the ocean, have lunch and spend the rest of the day doing relaxing leisure activities with his friends on the island. It was an idyllic lifestyle, but it was only possible because he followed a few, simple disciplines every day.
It was Ian Fleming’s ability to maintain his daily disciplines while in Jamaica that gave us the James Bond character and made him very wealthy. Can you imagine what you could achieve if you too were able to discipline yourself every day to do something that took you closer and closer towards the things you wanted to accomplish in your life?
You do not have to give up three hours of your day. You will have very different priorities to Ian Fleming. But you could give up thirty minutes a day for an activity that took you closer to achieving your goals. Thirty minutes may not seem very much on a daily basis, but totalled up over a period of 365 days and you will have spent a significant amount of time doing something to take you closer towards achieving something you will be proud of. That is the power of having daily disciplines.
The people we all admire, the people who have achieved huge success are no better than you. They are all human. The reason they succeeded where so many others failed was because of their daily discipline. They kept going even when they did not feel like going on. They developed a strong self-discipline and they accomplished great things. You too have that ability. You have that potential. You just need to apply some daily discipline. It is very hard to start with, you will have many days when you are just not in the mood. But you must keep going. Very quickly these disciplines will become habits and when they do, you will find you no longer need your self-discipline because you habitually do what it is you need to do to achieve your goals. And when that starts happening, you will start to feel accomplished, happy and fulfilled with the way your life is going and your self-discipline will grow and allow you to achieve even greater things. The effort is certainly worthwhile. Now create that plan and go out and achieve greatness!
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Carl Pullein is a personal development and productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more successful, productive and creative.