The Absolute Secret To Success- But Be Warned, It Can Hurt!
The telecommunications executive looked at me expectantly, awaiting my answer to the most critical question of all: “How do I drive my career to ‘success’?” Oh- I knew the answer. And shared it. He was disappointed. As I knew he would be. Bet you will be too- because it is NOT EASY, though very, very simple. Here it is.
Many of us think about what ‘success’ means- what it looks like for me and how I’ll know when I get there. It’s one of life’s tough questions, and often takes years- if ever- for us to get clarity on ‘what’s it all about?’- for us. There is good news though. While nailing what ‘success’ means can be a long journey, the answer on how to get there is right in front of our noses. Seriously. Achieving ‘success’ is built around one very simple habit. And here it is.
The most critical single quality for success is self-discipline.
“Ho hum” you might well say. “Is that it? Surely there is more to it than that?” Truth is, there isn’t.
As Elbert Hubbard defines it, self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
According to Brian Tracy, there are three steps in Hubbard’s approach.
Step One: Making yourself do what you should do. Easier said than done. You have to use strength and will power to force yourself into motion, to break the power of inertia that holds you back.
Step Two: Doing what you should do when you should do it. Yes – you have to take action. But you have to take it at the right times. You have to make plans, develop a schedule, then do what you’ll say you’ll do. You have to keep your promises to yourself and others.
Step Three: And you have to do it whether you feel like it or not. The true test of character, says Tracy, is when you do something you know you must do whether you feel like it or not. This is the greatest test of self-discipline. Fitness guru Michelle Bridges has a great tool to help on this. She calls it “J.F.D.I” . When you know you need to get started but really, really don’t feel like it, then “Just ‘F**king Do It”, she says. But there’s a twist. You must J.F.D.I…. but, do it for just 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes you don’t want to continue, then stop. According to Michelle, it’s extremely rare people stop after 10 minutes. Once you get started, you get the momentum and away you go. Give it a go. It works!
What Is ‘Success’ To Me?
So- keep thinking about and evolving what ‘success’ looks like for you. I have thought about it long and hard, and am still trying to figure it out. But I reckon I am very close to nailing what ‘success’ is for me. And like most of my realisations and insights, it’s not original. I stole it from somewhere else. In this instance, a movie: “Papadopoulos and Sons” The failed business tycoon, now working in his brother’s fish and chip shop, when asked what success means to him, answered: “Success is the amount of joy you feel in your life.” Powerful.
So for me it’s about where I get my ‘joy’ from…. From a new Aston Martin?- NO, pleasure yes maybe if I had one, but joy? NO! From watching my son running towards me on a Friday night from the sausage sizzle stand at the local rugby ground where we are watching his sister play touch, sausage and sauce in his hand? YES! Pure, unadulterated joy fills my heart. Once you get clarity on where the joy comes in your life, then work with relentless self-discipline to do what you need to do to increase those moments. That’s my conclusion anyway about success, and how to get there.
The message today, stolen from others and rebadged here, is about achieving the success you seek through self-discipline, summarised in these wise words of Brian Tracy: “Your ability to endure….. to continue taking action step by step, in the direction of your dreams, is what will ultimately ensure your success. If you keep on keeping on, nothing will stop you.”
This applies equally to short term projects- striving for a promotion, winning a major new client, losing 10 kilos, running that marathon. It is not just about the big picture issues, but is absolutely all about the small steps along the way. If you want to achieve your goals and ‘success’ in whatever you are doing, get clear on the outcome, and then focus all your energies on the self-discipline. And- make no mistake- it is VERY HARD to do. Well- I find it so. I know what I need to do, but struggle to push myself over the line to genuine self-discipline longer term to get it done.
Keep on keeping on- NOTHING will stop you if you do that. Good luck!