Cultivating Self Discipline and Success

When it comes to the field of personal development the key focus is on inspiration and motivation. We all struggle with the motivation part and even inspiration on some days. Most leaders of the personal development movement have the false belief that people can and need to be externally motivated to create a better life for themselves. I don’t believe that for a moment. If we want something bad enough, you betcha we’ll work for it.  Right? It has been my experience that such extrinsic motivation and inspiration are short lived because after a while, if deep down in your heart of hearts, it’s not something you really want, there isn’t much to keep you motivated now is there?

There’s even a name that was coined for this momentary height in motivation, the seminar high. The seminar high is when a person attends a motivation seminar or inspiration seminar and they leave with a high that lasts for a few days and a conviction this IS WHAT I need to do and want.  But after a few days that person’s level of motivation drops back down to whatever it was before they attended the seminar. When you are exposed to that kind of energy, you respond in kind. Take that energy away, and your energy returns to its normal state.  We are energy and we respond to energy around us.

You will find that this is true for sport, religious events as well as business events. In college, I remember attending a home baseball game.  The energy of the crowd was infectious and I found myself cheering with the crowd. Trust me I don’t behave the same way watching the same game in the comfort of my living room.  I find baseball boring on television (I’m sorry baseball fans … it’s just not the same).

Also, the energy at any retreat is designed to get you pumped up. The problem I have with most retreats is that they pumped us up so high that by the end of the seminar I’m usually exhausted. What was intended to pump me up left me deflated. Fortunately, not all seminars or retreats are this way!

What I will say next is a bit vanilla and plain so many won’t like it: They key to success at anything is discipline!

It is discipline that is forcing me to write this article while I am on vacation. It was discipline that forced me to work 80 to 100 hours a week to start my business. It was my own internal inspiration and motivation image that gave me the drive to achieve these things. Not anyone around me!

Quickly, let’s go back to motivation. In psychology, there are two forms of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic is the form of motivation that comes from within you, it is your internal flame that propels you into action. Extrinsic motivation comes from other people and it is temporary in nature.

For me, motivation is only useful at getting you started but it is self-discipline that will keep you going.

Discipline is not something that comes natural to me, but I thought it came natural to most people. What I found is that self-discipline has to be cultivated by the individual. You have to go to war with yourself and be determined to claim victory over yourself … and it is war (some days even more so than others — as a matter of fact the beach is calling me right now!)

Lack of discipline is why you haven’t achieved your goals. Self-discipline is a skill that can make you successful in any area of life. The first step to cultivating self-discipline is to focus only on those things that will bring you closer to your goals. Stop wasting time on things that don’t matter, stop seeking entertainment and distractions.

This is the first step and most important step to cultivating self-discipline and success. Once this step is in motion, you will then have to continue to fight with yourself to stay on track and to pursue your goals. Just remember IT IS WORTH IT! Self-discipline is KEY!

However, when you accomplish a goal, celebrate! Celebrate knowing your self-discipline made it happen and treat yourself to a victory dance, a nice meal, or movie night with the family.  Self-discipline makes the celebration even sweeter and the next goal achievable as well.

Until next time…


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