"Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline." Bertrand Russell
Most inspirational messages tell us that every great achievement was once the dream of somebody. This is undoubtedly true but so is the fact that every achievement is the result of discipline.
Think about it. Every successful endeavour has required the application of some sort of discipline. This is particularly true in the world of sport; the top athletes spend many, many hours practising. They give up diversions and activities that are incidental to their goal. They make major sacrifices in order to achieve the result they have set their hearts upon. In reality the champions are those who have the discipline to do the things the ordinary person would not do.
Jonny Wilkinson kicked the England Rugby team to a World Championship in 2003. Prior to the competition he would be found practicing kick after kick after kick long after his teammates had gone home.
Such discipline can also be seen in the world of business. It is all too easy to see a person become successful and believe he or she has been an overnight success but in reality that person will have worked hard and disciplined to gain the results we see.
Such discipline is true of other fields too: all the great musicians, writers and inventors have had to persevere to make their mark in their particular fields. Such persistence requires discipline.
Fred Astaire made 31 movies in his life and his reputation as an actor and dancer is still strong now. His success was undoubtedly due to his discipline and perfectionism. He would spend two weeks constantly practising the steps for a routine before shooting the film and studio executives tell of finding Astaire practising the same step for hours before he was satisfied with it.
But nobody is born with discipline: it is an art that has to be learned. Once we determine what we want out of life, what is our dream, we must focus on that dream until we achieve it. Often inspirational messages are needed to keep going but true success needs absolute focus on the end result and not just words of motivation.
Just as success means something different to different people, discipline varies according to who we are and the goal we want to achieve. It may require completing homework on a daily basis or completing a daily physical regime. It may involve being at the right place at the right time or altering habits to comply with specific goals. Whatever we need to do, it is very obvious that our failures can be traced back to a lack of discipline.
So how do we go about becoming disciplined?
The first requirement is to understand what is our dream. We have to understand where we want our disciplined actions to take us. What do we want to focus upon? To many obsession is a dirty word and yet it infers a focus on a particular goal and this could easily guarantee the achievement of that goal. Such focus can be helped by the adoption of regular visualizations and listening to or reading words of motivation every day (another discipline).
Once we understand what it is we want to achieve, we need to understand what will get us there. There is no point, for example, joining a mountaineering club if you want to sail the Atlantic Ocean single-handed! Instead the need here may be to undertake sailing courses, find a mentor and crew for a yacht skipper to gain all the skills, experience and contacts you may need.
This is true no matter what it is you want to achieve in life: identify your goal and how you will get there.
But it is the persistence to get you where you want to be that will get results. This is the discipline to keep going no matter what: to keep breaking through the obstacles until you reach your destination. To be single-minded.
It is said that most of the world's millionaires have been bankrupt before they found success. They have had the discipline to keep going and do what needs to be done even when times were hard.
But do not think that discipline means ruining your life for one idea. Many entrepreneurs and sportsmen have found that a rest period is important to success too. One of the most important aspects of discipline involves time management and the inclusion of rest periods, family time and sleep.
After all, to many, success involves a balanced life and enjoying the good things in life. Strong disciplinarians know when they should be entirely committed to their work and when they need to take time out.
So never be afraid of discipline. Good discipline will get you wherever you want to go and will bring you happiness beyond what you can dream. If you want a great inspirational message, it is this: make discipline your friend.