How to Grow Self Discipline

self discipline

Learning the latest science + methods to improve your willpower is one of the best ways to create immense success.

At the base of all legendary performance in business, sports, music, relationships and life lies a strong character—born from well practiced self-control.

Study Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer. Gandhi and Zuckerberg. Darwin to Gaga. They all rose to where they are via the vehicle of inner strength.

You see it takes self-discipline to:

–put in the 10 years of practice research like Anders Ericsson’s has taught us is the minimal amount of training time needed before genius-level performances begin to present themselves.

–make the sacrifices needed to be made to get epic results. You can play video games for hours each day or become the undisputed master of your craft. But you can’t do both.

–to be relentless and display the grit needed to stay in the game and remain loyal to your vision long after the initial inspiration has vanished.

–keep learning each day, iterating your moves and optimizing your performance.

–remain focused, centred and devoted in the face of the inevitable ridicule and laughter that your aim for iconic will generate. People residing within The Cult of Average don’t like to see others rise. It threatens their security. And spotlights their low self-worth.

As well, it’s my humble observation that we live in a world that doesn’t value the development of willpower so much. We revere the over-selfied TV stars and pedestal the viral video “fails”. But…

…the crafts person quietly making art in her studio gets no due.

…the startup entrepreneur who gave up his luxuries to launch the dream is considered crazy.

…the mother or father who resists many social obligations to spend peak-quality time with their children is called an outlier.

…the manager who awakes at 5 am to run their morning ritual so they fly at work is labelled an eccentric.

Society invites us to pursue instant pleasure + fast bursts of joy + quick hits of feeling good.

To have the results only 5% have, you have to do what only 5% are willing to do.

And high on the list is the pursuit of self-discipline. So here are some of the keys (many confirmed by recent research and good science) to help you to install world-class willpower:

#1. Please know that self-control (scientists refer to it as “self-regulation”) has been found to be a lot like a muscle: the more you exercise it the stronger it grows. It’s pure myth that elite achievers are born with gifts you don’t have. And buying into that idea is a great way to avoid the discomfort of doing the work you need to do to enjoy the success you deserve to have.

#2. Research is also revealing that, every day, we draw willpower from the same reservoir. This means that checking your social notifications, watching the news, surfing the web and shopping online steals the self-discipline that could be used for developing a core skill, scaling your business, getting ultra-fit, nourishing a gorgeous family life or strengthening your internal world.

#3. As you exercise the muscle of your will by making decisions, taking actions and pursuing activities, your self-control “muscle” depletes. One of the world’s foremost researchers in this field, Roy Baumeister (definitely read his superb book Willpower) calls this phenomenon “ego depletion”. This explains the behavior of celebrities that have destroyed their careers by one foolish move: they used up so much of their self-discipline energy on their crafts/practicing/performing that they had none left to wisely handle a temptation.

#4. By installing a daily routine to ensure “willpower renewal”, you’ll avoid ego depletion–and perform at your highest level. I suggest you schedule practices like visualization, conversation, smart entertainment and even napping into your day to make that happen.

#5. By pushing yourself to do what’s important but not easy, your self-control reservoir will expand. The places where your discomfort lives are the places where your power lies.

#6. Science also confirms that when we are tired, under stress and depleted, we have low glucose in our systems. And low levels of glucose diminish our self-discipline. By eating low glycemic index foods like meat, vegetables and nuts, you’ll avoid that crash. And getting enough sleep also keeps your glucose levels where they should be. Sleep-deprived people don’t do beautiful work.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma #1 best selling author of “The Leader Who Had No Title”

How to Turn Ideas into Action

Being genuinely disciplined requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be too hasty, but you also don’t want to lose much time. The time to act is when the idea strikes us—when it is hot and the emotion is strong, before the feeling passes and the idea dims. If you don’t, you’ll fall prey to the law of diminishing intent. A month from now, the passion will be cold—a year from now, it won’t be found.                      take action

action

So take action. Set up discipline when the excitement is high and your idea is clear and powerful. You’ve got to take action—otherwise the wisdom is wasted. The enthusiasm will soon pass, unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation.  

The greatest value of discipline is self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.

There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect—neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease—and one neglect leads to another. Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now. Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

Climb that Mountain

climb that mountain

I rode my mountain bike the other day with my three year old son in the child’s seat. As we rode along the edge of the TPC golf course we noticed a boy running up and down these three little hills on the edge of the golf course. I knew what was coming next. My son said “Daddy, I want to run up the hill.” So, I stopped the bike, helped him get out of the seat and said, “Go ahead and climb that hill.”

He stood at the bottom looking at the hill. To him I could tell it seemed like a mountain. He started up the hill but then stopped. His momentum could not carry him up the hill. It was pretty steep and he looked nervous and scared.

I wasn’t sure if he would be able to climb it and neither was he. Then I said, “step back and then run up it,” so he did fearlessly.

When he reached the top his face beamed with pride. He just stood there looking at the view from the top; his view and perspective changed by a few seconds and a climb up a little mountain.

From the look on his face, which I will never forget, I could tell his confidence was at an all time high. He proceeded to run up and down the three little hills like a human roller-coaster. When he reached the bottom of the third hill we walked back to the bike and went on our way.

I realized at that moment why we all need to climb a mountain every now and then. When we climb mountains, face challenges, hurdle obstacles and learn from difficult situations we are reminded that we have the strength and power to overcome life’s challenges.

At first even a little mountain may seem like a big insurmountable mountain. But when you step back and climb it you realize, “I can do this.”

The mountain, no matter how big it is, is no match for your faith and desire to climb it. Mountains are meant to be climbed. Wounds are meant to be healed and problems are meant to become learning experiences. They all serve a purpose. They make us stronger mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

While we often can’t control what happens to us we can control how we see and climb the mountains in our life. We can look at mountains as being in the way or as “the way” to growth.

We have a choice. We can stand at the bottom and say, “it’s too hard, it’s too high and I can’t do it” or we can dig down deep and find the very best in ourselves and fearlessly run up it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

The Real Reason We Fail

sussecc failure

#1. There’s a paradox of success: mostly, what we want isn’t really what we want.

Just one example: many make cash their God. But it’s not really the money they want. It’s the feelings of prosperity, abundance and freedom from fear they’re after. If they could only see that, and fill the hole within, they would play a different game. But too many don’t, and so they fail. Why? Because they live a life that just isn’t theirs.

My humble suggestion: dig deep and ask yourself, is what you think you want truly the thing you want or is it a deeper feeling you’re really after?

#2. Disappointment is better than regret.

I believe that the heartbreak of regret is always 100x bigger than the pain of trying and failing. So much smarter–as you lead and grow–to have the guts to go for epic…who cares if you fail? That just makes your life richer, more colorful and much cooler.

I get society doesn’t think like this. But you wouldn’t be following my work and be with me on this ride if you were building your life around what society thinks.

…Personally, I’d rather live FULL-ON–and play full out–versus joining the timid souls who never risk and arrive at their ends with hearts full of regret.

#3. Fear offers a shot at fearlessness.

The vast majority of human beings run from fear. An opportunity to dare is resisted. A chance to stand in the fire is denied. But here’s the powerful idea: each of the situations that frighten you are–in truth–special gifts for bravery training. The more you get knocked down by fear and then rise above it, the more fearless you become.

#4. Success is less about luck and more about character.

Look, there may be some luck in it all. I just happened to be in the right bookstore at the right time when the then-president of HarperCollins, Ed Carson, saw my self-published version of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and gave me the break that changed my life. Maybe it was pure luck. Not sure. Forever grateful though.

But here’s what life has taught me so far: a strong character always beats waiting for luck to visit…

–hard work profoundly makes a difference

–gritty persistence vastly raises your chances

–optimism amid adversity grows your results

–treating people with respect yields blessings

#5. Your daily habits matter more than your natural talents.

What made Musk and Edison and Beckham and Mandela were more their habits than their talent. The world is full of misused genius…

Take care of your days and a legendary life will take care of itself. What makes the best performers the best, are really their routines. And if you’ve followed my work for a while, you know some of the ones I teach. Like The 20/20/20 Formula, The 90 Minute Rule, The Daily 5 and, of course, The 5 am Club.

Practice them until they become your default. Then mastery will become your normal.

#6. Be More Loving.

Yes, my work is with leaders. The FORTUNE 500. And elite entrepreneurs. And top producers. And game-changers. And titans…

But I have zero issue reminding you to be more loving to every person you’ll meet today. Love is the glue that keeps us together. It inspires, uplifts and affirms the value of each human being walking the planet today.

We live in a world where so many of us are putting up walls around ourselves. I was in a coffee shop yesterday. People had headphones on their ears and eyes riveted on computer screens. Not much conversation. Very little connection. What has happened?

When you show love to others, you not only remind them of their truest nature. You access that greater part of yourself. It’s there for you this moment. Longing for you to honour it.

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma

It Couldn’t be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

An inspiring poem by Edgar Albert Guest.

Love Your Irritations

The things that drive you crazy are actually giant opportunities. The people who press your buttons are actually your greatest teachers. The things that make you angry are actually your greatest gifts. Bless them. 

irritiation

The people or circumstances that take you out of your power have extraordinary value: They reveal your limiting beliefs, fears and false assumptions. How much would you pay someone who promised they could pinpoint exactly what is holding you back from your greatest life? How much would it be worth to get intimate information on why you are not exactly at the place where you’ve always dreamed of being?

 

Here’s the powerful idea:  The things that irritate and annoy and anger you are entry points into your evolution and elevation as a human being. They are signposts for what you need to work on and the fears you need to face. They are gifts of growth. You can blame the people who trigger you and make it all about them. Or you can do the courageous thing and look deeply into yourself to discover the reason for your negative reaction. The fears you don’t own become your prison bars.

 

And as you begin to shed light on your personal weaknesses and take responsibility for them, you actually begin the process of shedding them. You become stronger. More powerful. More of who you were meant to be.

 

So the next time a co-worker sets you off or the next time your teenager gets you going, walk over to them, give them a hug and thank them for the gift they just gave you. Because they did. 

Reproduced with kind permission from Robin Sharma 

Character is Your Masterpiece to Build

character buildingCould creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture? I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work. Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can’t change. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character, and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life—whether it’s winning every game, losing every game, getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself—just like you would plant and water a seed, or gather wood and build a campfire. You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them, just like chiseling away the rock to create the sculpture that previously only existed in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you’ll not only create those qualities, but you’ll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself as it is being put to work, tested and challenged. Once it is formed, character will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn

9 Ways to be a Great Team Leader

team leader  While watching the Oscars I noticed that almost every award winner said they couldn’t have done it without their team, family, and the support of others. The fact is no one achieves success alone. We all need a great team to accomplish great things. We are at our best when we are surrounded by those who want the best for us and when we are bringing out the best in others. In this spirit I want to share 9 ways to be a great team member.

  1. Set the Example – Instead of worrying about the lack of performance, productivity and commitment of others you simply decide to set the example and show your team members what hard work, passion and commitment looks like. Focus on being your best every day. When you do this you’ll raise the standards and performance of everyone around you.
  2. Use Your Strengths to Help the Team – The most powerful way you can contribute to your team is to use your gifts and talents to contribute to the team’s vision and goals. Without your effort, focus, talent and growth the team won’t accomplish its mission. This means you have an obligation to improve so you can improve your team. You are meant to develop your strengths to make a stronger team. Be selfish by developing you and unselfish by making sure your strengths serve the team.
  3. Share Positive Contagious Energy – Research shows emotions are contagious and each day you are infecting your team with either positive energy or negative energy. You can be a germ or a big dose a Vitamin C. When you share positive energy you infectiously enhance the mood, morale and performance of your team. Remember, negativity is toxic. Energy Vampires sabotage teams and complaining is like vomiting. Afterwards you feel better but everyone around you feels sick.
  4. Know and Live the Magic Ratio – High performing teams have more positive interactions than negative interactions. 3:1 is the ratio to remember. Teams that experience interactions at a ratio equal or greater than 3:1 are more productive and higher performing than those with a ratio of less than 3:1. Teams that have a ratio of 2:1, 1:1 or more negative interactions than positive interactions become stagnant and unproductive. This means you can be a great team member by being a 3 to 1’er. Create more positive interactions. Praise more. Encourage more. Appreciate more. Smile more. High-five more. Recognize more. 
  5. Put the Team First – Great team players always put the team first. They work hard for the team. They develop themselves for the team. They serve the team. Their motto is whatever it takes to make the team better. They don’t take credit. They give credit to the team. To be a great team member your ego must be subservient to the mission and purpose of the team. It’s a challenge to keep our ego in check. It’s something most of us struggle with because we have our own goals and desires. But if we monitor our ego and put the team first we’ll make the team better and our servant approach will make us better.
  6. Build Relationships – Relationships are the foundation upon which winning teams are built and great team members take the time to connect, communicate and care to build strong bonds and relationships with all their team members. You can be the smartest person in the room but if you don’t connect with others you will fail as a team member. (Tweet This) It’s important to take the time to get to know your team members. Listen to them. Eat with them. Learn about them. Know what inspires them and show them you care about them.
  7. Trust and Be Trusted – You can’t have a strong team without strong relationships. And you can’t have strong relationships without trust. Great team members trust their teammates and most of all their team members trust them. Trust is earned through integrity, consistency, honesty, transparency, vulnerability and dependability. If you can’t be trusted you can’t be a great team member. Trust is everything.
  8. Hold Them Accountable – Sometimes our team members fall short of the team’s expectations. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they need a little tough love. Great team members hold each other accountable. They push, challenge and stretch each other to be their best. Don’t be afraid to hold your team members accountable. But remember to be effective you must built trust and a relationship with your team members. If they know you care about them, they will allow you to challenge them and hold them accountable. Tough love works when love comes first. Love tough.
  9. Be Humble – Great team members are humble. They are willing to learn, improve and get better. They are open to their team member’s feedback and suggestions and don’t let their ego get in the way of their growth or the team’s growth. I learned the power of being humble in my marriage. My wife had some criticism for me one day and instead of being defensive and prideful, I simply said, “Make me better. I’m open. Tell me how I can improve.” Saying this diffused the tension and the conversation was a game changer. If we’re not humble we won’t allow ourselves to be held accountable. We won’t grow. We won’t build strong relationships and we won’t put the team first. There’s tremendous power in humility that makes us and our team better.
Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

Lead With Your Strengths

logo with the best in the business Vince Lombardi once hosted a four day football clinic for coaches and devoted two full days to just one play, the Power Sweep. If you know football history Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers won five league championships, including the first two Super Bowls because of that one play. 

The Utah Jazz only ran eight plays during the years they were an NBA powerhouse in the 90’s. Carl Malone and John Stockton ran the pick and roll so well they were almost unstoppable. The Utah Jazz had a culture of execution. 

I recently met one of Canada’s top military strategist and historian, Dr. Angelo Caravaggio who told me that Alexander the Great won his three major battles because of one maneuver; a right flank. 

In-N-Out Burger has become wildly successful and created a huge cult following with just a few menu items that they do amazingly well. 

Apple has made billions of dollars with just a few products that are wonderfully designed and easy to use. 

In a world that says you have to provide more choices, create more products, run hundreds of plays and be everything to everyone if you want to be successful, there is something very powerful about simplicity, clarity and leading with your strengths. 

There are a million things you can choose to do each day. There are many of the latest and greatest fads that you can partake in. You possess many weaknesses that you can choose to focus on. But I want you to know that you and your team will be at your best when you develop and lead with your strengths. 

Everyone including Green Bay’s competition knew the Power Sweep was coming and yet they still couldn’t stop it. Coach Lombardi and his team developed a strength that became an unstoppable force of positive momentum and so will you when you identify, develop and lead with your strengths. 

What are your strengths? What do you do best? What are your best selling products?

Where can you be the strongest? What do you want to become known for? 

Once you know the answers to these questions then you’ll want to spend your time, energy, focus, practice and effort simplifying, mastering the fundamentals, developing your strengths and creating a culture of execution. 

The more time you spend developing and leading with your strengths the more you will become known for them. The stronger your strengths become the greater impact you will have.

The world doesn’t need another average business. The world doesn’t need an average you. The world needs your BEST YOU. And when you lead with your strengths you can share YOUR BEST with the world. 

Reproduced with kind permission from Jon Gordon

Why You Need to Feed Your Mind

Pity the man who has a favourite restaurant, but not feed your minda favourite author. He’s picked out a favourite place to feed his body, but he doesn’t have a favourite place to feed his mind! 

Why would this be? Have you heard about the accelerated learning curve? From birth, up until the time we are about 18, our learning curve is dramatic, and our capacity to learn during this period is just staggering. We learn a tremendous amount very fast. We learn language, culture, history, science, mathematics… everything.

For some people, the accelerated learning process will continue on. But for most, it levels off when they get their first job. If there are no more exams to take, if there’s no demand to get out paper and pencil, why read any more books? Of course, you will learn some things through experience. Just getting out there—sometimes doing it wrong and sometimes doing it right—you will learn.

But can you imagine what would happen if you kept up an accelerated learning curve all the rest of your life? Can you imagine what you could learn to do, the skills you could develop, the capacities you could have? Here’s what I’m asking you to do: Be that unusual person who keeps up his learning curve and develops an appetite for always trying to find good ideas.

One way to feed your mind and educate your philosophy is through the writings of influential people. Maybe you can’t meet the person, but you can read his or her books. Churchill is gone, but we still have his books. Aristotle is gone, but we still have his ideas. Search libraries for books and programs. Search magazines. Search documentaries. Search the Internet. Each resource is full of opportunities for intellectual feasting.

In addition to reading and listening, you also need a chance to do some talking and sharing. I have some people in my life who help me with important life questions, who assist me in refining my own philosophy, weighing my values and pondering questions about success and lifestyle.

We all need association with people of substance to provide influence concerning major issues like society, money, enterprise, family, government, love, friendship, culture, taste, opportunity and community. Philosophy is mostly influenced by ideas, ideas are mostly influenced by education and education is mostly influenced by the people with whom we associate.

I’m asking that you feed your mind just as you do your body. Feed it with good ideas, wherever they can be found. Always be on the lookout for a good idea— a business idea, a product idea, a service idea, an idea for personal improvement. Every new idea will help to refine your philosophy. Your philosophy will guide your life, and your life will unfold with distinction and pleasure.

 Reproduced with kind permission from Jim Rohn