I’ve heard a famous entrepreneur say that to succeed in business, you must have discipline. That entrepreneur was David Rockefeller, one of the pioneers of the United States oil industry. How about you? Do you believe so too?
You may think that success is an overnight thing. Once you get that spark of inspiration – that billion-dollar idea – you’d be living like Bill Gates right away. All you need is inspiration.
Sadly, that is in no way true.
Success takes time, and it takes effort. There’s an old proverb that says “If you do not sweat, you shall not eat.” And it’s how reality works. You can’t be successful if you don’t make an effort to build your dreams.
Going back to inspiration. It’s a good thing, yes, but it isn’t the biggest thing that will guide you on the path to success. Inspiration is just an occasional boost to your productivity and creativity. You can’t expect to have it all the time. There will be a lot of moments when you’re uninspired, and you’ll feel like doing nothing.
The key here is not to give in to that feeling.
If you truly are driven to succeed, you will do what you have to do no matter what you feel. That’s what discipline is all about.
For example, let’s say you’re a content marketer in the UK who wants to build a site that will attract 10,000 readers a day. Of course, a huge part of this is writing valuable content. And if you’re like me, you’d want to do it regularly as well – let’s say twice a week.
So with this in mind, you really must come up with posts twice a week. Unfortunately, the fact of life is this: the more you’re doing something, the less you’ll want to do it. There will be those days when you feel absolutely no motivation to write. You’ll feel tired for no reason, and you’d just want to do nothing for the moment.
Don’t. If you do nothing, it’s like giving up altogether. And this feeling of “giving up” will carry over into your other tasks. A domino effect ensues, and you’ll no longer be willing to do anything else for your business.
Instead, just keep on doing what you have to do. In this case, get started with writing anyway. Eventually, you’ll be surprised that you’re already more than halfway done.
Discipline also takes time and consistency.
You can’t form good habits overnight. Need proof? Here’s a study by the psychologist Phillippa Lally of University College London. Lally examined 96 people and how long it took before new behaviours became automatic to them – in other words, forming habits. Lally found out that, on average, it takes 66 days for the people to form new habits. Sixty-six days. That’s more than two months.
So don’t expect yourself to change overnight, or even after a week. Give yourself time, and don’t give up because you feel like it.
In one of the Star Wars films, Ben Kenobi told Luke Skywalker to “trust your feelings”. I dare say the opposite: Don’t trust your feelings. They will likely bring you down. Instead, have the discipline to bring yourself to success. Do whatever it takes, even if you don’t feel like it.
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