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Self-Discipline and Success

Why do some people accomplish so much more in their personal and professional lives than others? This question has occupied some of the very best minds throughout human history. More than 2,300 years ago, Aristotle wrote that the ultimate aim of human life is to be happy. He said that the great question that each of us must answer is, "How shall we live in order to be happy.?"

Your ability to ask and answer that question correctly for yourself and then follow where your answer leads you, will largely determine whether you achieve your own happiness, and how soon. Begin with your own personal definition. How do YOU define success? If you could wave a magic wand and make your life perfect in every way, what would it look like? If your business, work, and career were ideal in every way, what would it look like? What would you be doing? What sort of company would you work for? What position would you have? How much money would you earn? What kind of people would you work with? And, especially , what would you need to do more or less of to create your perfect career?

If your family life were perfect in every way, what would it look like? Where would you live, and how would you be living? What kind of a lifestyle would you have? What sort of things would you want to have and do with the members of your family? If you had no limitations and you could wave a magic wand, in what ways would you change your family life today?

If your health were perfect, how would you describe it? How would you feel? How much would you weigh? How would your levels of health and fitness be different from what they are today? Most of all, what steps could you take immediately to begin moving toward your ideal levels of health and energy?

If your financial situation were ideal, how much would you have in the bank? How much would you be earning each month and each year from your investments? If you had enough money that you ever had to worry about finances again, how much would that be? What steps could you take, starting today, to create your ideal financial life?

A popular definition of success is "being able to live your life in your own way, doing only those things that you want to do, with the people who you choose, in the situations you desire." In each case, when you begin to define what "success" means to you, you can immediately see things that you should be doing more or less of in order to begin creating your ideal life. And the biggest thing that holds you back from moving in the direction of your dreams is usually your favorite excuses and a lack of self-discipline. It's not that you don't know what to do, but rather that you don't have the discipline to make yourself do what you should do, whether you feel like it or not.

The indispensable requirement for hard work is self-discipline. Success is possible only when you can overcome the natural tendency to cut corners and take the easy way. Lasting success is possible only when you can discipline yourself to work hard for a long, long time. Success is not an accident. Sadly, failure is not an accident either. You succeed when you do what other successful people do, over and over, until these behaviors become a habit. Likewise, you fail if you don't do what successful people do. In either case, nature is neutral. Nature does not take sides. Nature doesn't care. What happens to you is simply a matter of law, the law of cause and effect.

You can look at yourself as a machine with a default mechanism. Your default mechanism is the almost irresistible attraction of the expediency factor and the path of least resistance. In the absence of self-discipline, your default mechanism goes off automatically. This is the main cause of underachievement and the failure to realize your true potential. When you are not working deliberately, consciously, and continuously to do, be and have those things that constitute success for you, your default mechanism is at work. You end up doing those fun, easy, and low value things in the short term that lead to frustration, financial worries, and failure in the long term.

One of the most important requirements for success, once you have decided what it is you want, is the quality of willingness. Successful people are willing to pay the price, whatever it is and for as long as it takes, until they achieve the results they desire. Everyone wants to be successful. Everyone wants to be healthy, happy, thin and rich. But most people are not willing to pay the price. Occasionally, they may be willing to pay part of the price, but they are not willing to pay the WHOLE price. They always hold back. They always have some excuse or rationalization for not disciplining themselves to do everything that they need to do to achieve their goals.

You've heard it said, "nothing succeeds like success." What this means is that the greatest reward of success is NOT the money you make but rather the excellent person you become in the process of striving toward success and exerting self-discipline every time it is required.

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