avatarLeonid Hass


Mastering Discipline: The Surprising Secret to Real Success

Why Being Disciplined Beats Natural Smarts Every Time

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Many people think they can succeed significantly with specific skills and knowledge.

Even you and I so often judge ourselves and lose belief in ourselves.

Have you thought about the success of other people? I did. Usually, the person is brilliant and can do the work other people can’t.

Let’s look at good examples like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs, as well as writers like James Clear, Robert Greene, and Mark Manson.

These people are brilliant. But do you think the reason for their success is in their brain and skills?

I could find out for myself, which looks unusual for people like us.

These people have great discipline. They know the word consistency. These skills were necessary for everyone to know them and see their work.

That’s why, in this article, I’d like to discuss the matter of discipline with you, show examples, and understand why it is so important.

Thomas Edison and His 1,000 Unsuccessful Attempts

I want to start this article with a real story: a person who put much time, effort, and energy into the technology that builds our world today.

It’s a Thomas Edison. He is an inventor of a light bulb.

In his own words, this person and his company spend a lot of time, money, and human resources to create only one light bulb.

In the words of Thomas Edison, after people asked him about his attempts and so many failures, he said:

I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.

Do you understand how this person thinks?

Usually, people say they have failed five, six, or seven times. And almost nobody will try again for 1000 times.

But Thomas Edison thought differently.

These failures were steps toward his goal.

He knew that soon he would get what he wanted. The only thing he had to do was continue working.

Passing Exams Better Than Those Who Smarter

My Real Story

It’s not only my story; many people, including you, saw this in the school or university.

But let me tell you my own story.

I had two classmates; I won’t say their names but will describe their skills.

The one person was brilliant, with good knowledge and understanding of many subjects. Let’s name him Rick.

Another friend of mine needed to be brighter and had problems with many subjects. Let’s name him Tony.

So when we had one year before exams, Tony started doing the following things. Several times a week, he took extra classes to study subjects he knew terrible.

Also, he found unique literature, materials, and study videos on YouTube and regularly studied at his home, including weekends.

On the other hand, brilliant Rick was doing little work. He thought everything would be fine, and he just played video games and prepared for exams without effort.

Who do you think got good marks?

Of course, it was Rick. He put in so much time, energy, and effort. After all this time, he learned so many new things that he became, in many areas, much brighter than Tony.

And Tony got terrible marks. He could have passed it better despite his excellent brain and skills.

We all have similar stories, but it was mine, and it’s true.

Even after so many years since that time, I look at these two people and must say that Rick lives a much better life with better conditions than Tony.

Discipline, principles, and working on himself give him almost whatever he wants.

The Importance of Consistency

Image on James Clear

This image shows more than any words I can tell you. But let’s take a closer look at this.

This simple graph shows you two cases of self-improvement.

  1. Getting 1% Better Everyday
  2. Getting 1% Worse Everyday

The result shows in one year. So if you do minimal work daily to improve on only 1%, you will be better 37 times!

Imagine if you want to learn any skill and become a professional in any area. With such small steps, even if you don’t have time, you get an opportunity to get great results in only one year.

And the same story with bad habits. If you become worse every day by 1%, you will be worse in the long term compared to today.

The author of this image wrote a great book, Atomic Habits — James Clear. I highly recommend you read this book and check my article below, which contains my overview and thoughts.

As one great author said, don’t say more than you need, and don’t write more than the reader needs. I have given you great examples in the history and my own life.

You can get excellent guidance from the book Atomic Habits. If you want a good newsletter with great tips, subscribe to James Clear’s newsletter.

Usually, I don’t like to read too many letters. But this one gives you good value.

By the end of this article, share one more great quote on discipline from Tony Robbins.

“Discipline is the foundation of a successful and happy life. It’s the ability to control your thoughts and your actions, to stay focused on your goals, and to persevere through challenges and setbacks. Discipline is what separates the winners from the losers, the successful from the unsuccessful, and the happy from the unhappy.” — Tony Robbins.

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