Self-Discipline: The Secret Ingredient – Entrepreneur

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The development of self-discipline is like exercising a muscle that develops the more you use it.
No one achieves mastery of a skill, competence in a profession, or knowledge of a subject without hours and hours of effort, frustration and setbacks. Natural gifts — intelligence, size, strength and quick reflexes — are a bonus, but rarely sufficient to achieve the highest level of success.
Here are some levels of mastery that few manage to reach:
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell claimed that 10,000 hours of intensive, deliberate practice is necessary to gain mastery of a complex skill or subject like playing violin or excelling at computer programming. While the amount of time needed is questioned, few dispute that achieving proficiency and, ultimately, mastery of any activity is difficult. Tom Hanks, the coach of the female professional baseball team in the movie A League of Their Own, said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
 The road to success includes:
What sets people like the above apart? Why do scientists persist after a series of failed experiments? How do business people like Jeff Bezos retain the energy to manage growing companies after reaching multi-billionaire status? How does anyone spend hours each day, year after year, chasing elusive success?
The answer is self-discipline. 
Related: Importance Of Self Discipline In Entrepreneurship
Self-discipline is often missing in discussions of the drivers of success, overshadowed by intelligence, natural abilities, hard work, personal connections and luck. Many winners do not recognize the trait in themselves nor remember the many times that self-discipline is necessary before medals are won, victories achieved or goals reached. Yet, self-discipline — the practice of continually pursuing an objective despite the effort required, the obstacles to overcome and the temptations to pursue a less difficult target — is often the single critical influence in ultimate outcomes.
Many incorrectly equate “willpower” with self-discipline. Willpower — the ability to say “no” to temptation — is a synonym for self-control. Scientific studies over the last two decades found that willpower is a function of one’s genetics, preferences, planning and financial status. In short, willpower is not the exercise of self-control, but the consequence of reduced levels of temptations. Avoiding sweets because one dislikes their taste is not willpower, but fortune. On the other hand, self-discipline is learned, structured, well thought out and consistent. It is strengthened through practice.
Related: 7 Myths About Discipline You Need to Stop Believing
According to Brent Gleeson, author of Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way To An Extraordinary Life, people with self-discipline are more decisive, not letting impulses or feelings dictate the actions they take to achieve the desired outcome.
Implement the following strategies to learn and practice the skills needed for success:
Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, was famous for the wooden plaque on his desk that read, “The Buck Stops Here.” Truman understood the importance of self-discipline, serving as the commander of an artillery unit on the front lines in World War, despite having been initially rejected for poor eyesight. He ultimately passed the physical by memorizing the eye chart. When asked whether leaders require discipline in an interview, the former President replied, “First, they need self-discipline. In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves … self-discipline with all of them came first.”
Self-discipline is the ability to stay the course and act, regardless of how you’re feeling, physically or emotionally. You do it despite distractions, hard work or unfavorable odds. It also enables people to achieve great success, even though others are intimidated by the difficulties.
The development of self-discipline is available to all; it’s like exercising a muscle that develops size and strength the more you use it. It is also the foundation of any future success.
Related: 10 Powerful Ways to Master Self-Discipline & Lead a Happier Life
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Emily Rella
Emily Rella
Maurice Pennington
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