No two people are the same, not even twins (I should know, my wife is one of twins!). When posed with the same challenge, big or small, each of us tackles it differently. A large fraction of very successful individuals did not start out with an innate ability in the area of their success. Some interest followed by repeated progression in the field is what did it for them. The 10,000 hour rule has been bandied about a fair bit especially after the brilliant book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. Few people know that there are academics that actually study experts. I’ll say that again – there are experts who study what make experts experts! And, what they report is that rather than just do something for 10,000 hours, what makes one person improve more than another is how those 10,000 hours of practice are spent.
In our era of internet search engines, knowledge should never be a barrier to individual achievement. Just about everything that you need to know to become significantly better at anything you enjoy is out there at zero cost. If so, then, what creates the distinction between one person’s improvement and another’s?
Leaving aside luck, or acts of God, the improvement comes solely from one overarching factor – discipline!
Given that improvement comes from practice, and practice in areas of weaknesses, it is discipline that forms the key ingredient to success.
Look around you. Whenever you see that someone has outshone themselves, it is self-discipline that got them there. In any sphere of human endeavour, whether in business, sport, science or in creative fields like music and art too. Those gifted artists who got frustrated and stopped because they weren’t getting anywhere quickly never made it. The ones, even if without much talent to begin with, who had the self-discipline to stick with it often ended up with success.
“Without discipline, there’s no life at all”, said Katharine Hepburn a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years! She died in 2003, but the truth in what she said never will.
Dr Purnendu Nath spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.