Outswimming the Sharks: Discipline is the key to success in many endeavors

Most people aim to do right; they just fail to pull the trigger. For whatever reason, they don't have the wherewithal to finish the job. They lack discipline.

"Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure," said the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

It doesn't matter whether you are pursuing success in business, sports, the arts or life in general. Hope is not an option. The difference between wishing and accomplishing is discipline.

Bob Knight, college basketball's winningest coach, said: "It has always been my thought that the most important single ingredient to success in athletics or life is discipline. I have many times felt that this word is the most ill-defined in all of our language. My definition of the word is as follows: 1) Do what has to be done; 2) When it has to be done; 3) As well as it can be done; and 4) Do it that way all the time."

Julie Andrews put it a little differently. She said, "Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly."

Discipline is all about sitting down and setting goals, figuring out a schedule to achieve them, and then following your plan.

The formula is the same for athletes, businesspeople and students: Have a no-nonsense attitude, work hard and improve every day. Arrive early and stay late if that's what it takes to get the job done. The more you put in, the more you get out.

"You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good," said Jerry West, the former Los Angeles Lakers great who was nicknamed "Mr. Clutch."

Good intentions aren't enough. People have good intentions when they set a goal to do something, but then they miss a deadline or a workout. Suddenly it gets a lot easier to miss again and again and again.

Golfing great Byron Nelson said: "The only way one can become proficient at anything is self-discipline and dedication. The people who succeed are the ones that really do not let personal feelings get in their way from giving their all in whatever they choose to do."

The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi maintained: "A player's got to know the basics of the game and how to play his position. Next, you've got to keep him in line."

That's discipline and what every good manager must have. It's not enough as a manager to teach your employees how to do the work. You also have to provide the motivation that keeps them moving forward. Perhaps most importantly, a good manager must model self-discipline.

To me it is better to prepare and prevent instead of repair and repent.

I like the way Jim Rohn described discipline: "It is the bridge between thought and accomplishment ... the glue that binds inspiration to achievement ... the magic that turns financial necessity into the creation of an inspired work of art.

"Discipline is the master key that unlocks the door to wealth and happiness, culture and sophistication, high self-esteem and high accomplishment and the accompanying feelings of pride, satisfaction and success. Discipline will do much for you. More importantly, though, is what it will do to you. It will make you feel terrific about yourself."

Mackay's Moral: If your willpower doesn't work, try your "won't" power.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman and author. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or send e-mail to harvey@mackay.com. His column is distributed by United Feature Syndicate.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters