Why are some people more successful than others? Why do some people make more money, live happier lives and accomplish much more in the same number of years than the great majority? I started out in life with few advantages. I did not graduate from high school. I worked at menial jobs. I had limited education, limited skills and a limited future. And then I began asking,
"Why are some people more successful than others?" This question changed my life. Over the years, I have read thousands of books and articles on the subjects of success and achievement. It seems that the reasons for these accomplishments have been discussed and written about for more than two thousand years, in every conceivable way. One quality that most philosophers, teachers and experts agree on is the importance of self-discipline. As Al Tomsik summarized it years ago, "Success is tons of discipline."
Some years ago, I attended a conference in Washington. It was the lunch break and I was eating at a nearby food fair. The area was crowded and I sat down at the last open table by myself, even though it was a table for four.
A few minutes later, an older gentleman and a younger woman who was his assistant came along carrying trays of food, obviously looking for a place to sit. With plenty of room at my table, I immediately arose and invited the older gentleman to join me. He was hesitant, but I insisted. Finally, thanking me as he sat down, we began to chat over lunch.
It turned out that his name was Kop Kopmeyer. As it happened, I immediately knew who he was. He was a legend in the field of success and achievement. Kop Kopmeyer had written four large books, each of which contained 250 success principles that he had derived from more than fifty years of research and study. I had read all four books from cover to cover, more than once.
After we had chatted for awhile, I asked him the question that many people in this situation would ask, "Of all the one thousand success principles that you have discovered, which do you think is the most important?" He smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye, as if he had been asked this question many times, and replied, without hesitating, "The most important success principle of all was stated by Thomas Huxley many years ago. He said, 'Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.'"
He went on to say, "There are 999 other success principles that I have found in my reading and experience, but without self-discipline, none of them work." Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. It is the magic quality that opens all doors for you, and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him. But without self-discipline, a person with every blessing of background, education and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity.
In the pages ahead I will describe seven areas of your life where the practice of self-discipline will be key to your success. These areas include goals, character, time management, personal health, money, courage and responsibility. It is my hope that you'll find a few "nuggets" that will help make your dreams come true.
The article above was excerpted from the book "The Power of Discipline" by Brian Tracy. It is reprinted here with permission. You may share this story as long as you do not edit the content; leave the links and this resource box intact.
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"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. 4. Do it that way all the time."-- Bobby Knight, College Basketball Coach
"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. The key is discipline. Without it, there is no morale."--Tom Landry, NFL Football Coach
"I believe in discipline. You can forgive incompetence. You can forgive lack of ability. But the one thing you cannot ever forgive is lack of discipline."--Forrest Gregg, College & NFL Football Coach
"Why do I dominate the 400 meter hurdles? That's easy. Training. Just expertise. I know what I'm doing. I concentrate on this as much as I would engineering or physics or whatever I'd be doing. The discipline I had from engineering and physics got me through school and really stayed with me."--Edwin Moses, two time Olympic Champion
"Discipline is a part of the will. A disciplined person is one who follows the will of the one who gives the orders. You teach discipline by doing it over and over, by repetition and rote, especially in a game like football where you have very little time to decide what you are going to do. So what you do is react almost instinctively, naturally. You have done it so many times, over and over and over again."--Vince Lombardi, NFL Football Coach
"If my players work hard every day, then they won't have to worry about game plans, or where they play, or whom they play, or about rankings and so on. They have their daily behavior--their discipline--to fall back on."--Pete Carroll
"There are four parts of self that lead to success. The first part is discipline, the second is concentration, the third is patience, and the fourth is faith."--George Foster, MLB Player