“The elevator to success is out of order, but the stairs are always open.”
Almost a decade ago something dawned on me; I needed direction. I was traveling the road of life without a destination. It was blissful until I began to think about my future and where I wanted to be in life. All too often do we have vague ideas about where we want to be in life and no idea how to get there.
So how do we add clarity? How do we calculate the distance? First, we must start with a clear goal (destination).
Use the S.M.A.R.T acronym.
Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time based
S- Get specific as possible. There must be an exact ending. Don’t say you want a lot of money, say you want an exact amount.
M-How will you track your success? Start with the end in mind, and work backward. How would you like to run a 26-mile marathon of life without knowing when you’ve passed each mile? Give yourself life markers on the road to success.
A-It’s great to dream big it’s encouraged. But make sure it’s realistic. An example I always use is if you only make 1000 dollars a month, don’t make an overall goal to save $12,000 a year. Point being, don’t pin yourself in the corner of unrealistic expectations and set yourself up for failure. Leave room for flexibility. Nobody’s perfect.
R-Make sure your goals line up with who you are. If your overall destination is to become a doctor, don’t have sub-goals that take you off your timeline and detract you from that primary goal.
T-Know the timeline of achievement. Make your timeline achievable and realistic. Allow yourself flexibility. We all need breaks, vacations, or times to restart our brain. Allow for this. This can be equally as important and keys to your success.
Now that we understand how to develop goals let’s get to the real matter at hand.
BRIDGING THE GAP
One of the first steps to success I learned is what I’m here to talk to you about now. Without this single characteristic, no other success will happen. This is one of the most important traits to have which is why I call it the backbone of success.
What is self-discipline?
“Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
But developing self-discipline isn’t easy. It’s not an inherited trait. It must be nurtured time and time again as it is vital to your success. As you continue, you will learn it becomes even more challenging to keep this self-discipline as you grow in your success. Here are three characteristics, in my opinion, you will need to sharpen as you develop your mind for increased self-discipline.
- Accepting Responsibility
As you develop your willpower for increased self-discipline, you will put yourself in numerous situations that may deter you; this is when you must learn to accept responsibility for your life. Throughout doing these things you must remember, while we cannot control the actions of others, we can always control our reaction to them. Whether failure is a result of your miscalculation or the fault of others, we must accept responsibility. In this acceptance, we will forever leave our success to our duty and not at the fault of others. Because it is through your persistence to prevail through barriers and hurdles that you will finally achieve what you’ve dreamed.
- Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is defined as putting off satisfaction in the short term to enjoy greater rewards in the long term. In my earlier years, a lack of self-discipline and increased instant gratification was the most significant hindering factor to my financial success. How could I reap the rewards of hard work when I was giving in to short-term satisfaction? When I knew I should be studying, I was out having fun with my friends. I wasn’t thinking about my long-term success. I believed I could have my cake and eat it too. Little did I know; the more instant gratification moments I experienced, the less long-term gratification success I would have in the future. Building this single trait will change your life for the better. It will amaze you how unimportant some things are when compared to where hard work and dedication now, will take you later. If you have time for fun after you are done doing what you should do, then by all means, enjoy yourself.
- Long-term Thinking
Your ability to think long term is a developed skill. A study conducted by Dr. Edward Banfield on the upward mobility in America concluded that the single most important attribute to the success in life was “long-term perspective.” As you develop your skill for increased long-term thinking, you will begin to understand how these three factors find themselves to be of higher importance in your life. Having a clear idea of where you want to be in the future will make doing things like increasing your self-discipline, delaying your gratification, and accepting responsibility essential to your success.
Unfortunately, these three skills you must develop are finite within your mentality. You must continue to work on these skills day in and day out for other traits such as satisfaction and complacency will inevitably take over. Always remember the goals you put forth. Write them down. Look at them every day. This will keep you on the right track. Many people believe success happens overnight. Steve Jobs with the iPod. Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook. Elon Musk and Tesla. But no one sees the days of delayed gratification or unbelievable long-term goals that they set for themselves. Whether your goal is to have world renown success in life or quiet success at home, these traits that are given here will help develop the self-discipline needed to achieve your greatest dreams.