Your Greatest Obstacle

Posted by Todd Smith

Yesterday, I outlined a simple, easy-to-follow step-by-step formula for achieving success at anything that is important to you. Today, we will explore what will be your greatest obstacle to achieving any goal on your list. I will also challenge you with a solution that, when acted upon, can accelerate your results.

While there are many elements that will play a role in your ultimate success and happiness, if I had to identify the single most important of them—the one you could not be successful without—it would be discipline. I hate to say it, but not even integrity ranks higher because you can be successful in a specific area of focus without integrity. I have seen people succeed with all kinds of weaknesses, but I have never seen anyone achieve any great accomplishment without discipline.

Brian Tracy, a leading author on the development of human potential, said, “If I had to pick the #1 key to success, it would be…self-discipline. It is the difference in winning or losing; between greatness and mediocrity.”

Discipline Speeds Up Results

Not only is discipline critical to your success, but it is also the ultimate accelerator to any great accomplishment.  Here’s what I mean.

When I started selling real estate, I was 23 years old.  As with any 23-year-old, I was young and inexperienced in both business and in life. As you can imagine, I was at a great disadvantage when going head-to-head with more experienced and successful Realtors. After all, how likely would you be to select an immature, unproven Realtor to sell your home?

While I focused on all the little things I could do to improve the impression I made on people, the one thing that turbo-charged my income more than any other single element was my discipline.

Every day, I sat down in my little cubical. Struggling to breathe with my heart beating out of my chest, I picked up the phone and made phone call after phone call. I was scared to death. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone day after day was the one thing other Realtors were unwilling to do. While they sat and pondered about what they should be doing, I was doing it! At the end of my first full year as a Realtor, I sold over 60 homes and earned over $250,000. In today’s economy, that would be over $500,000.

Yes, I wore a suit.  Yes, I showed up to my appointments on time. Yes, I was prepared.  But no other single factor influenced my success as much as my discipline. In hindsight, no other factor was even a close second.

Even though you may not be in sales, discipline is still equally important to your success and happiness.  If you were disciplined to do all the little things you knew you should do to advance your career, don’t you think you would be more successful?

Overcoming the Obstacle

If you want to become more disciplined, here’s what you must do. The process of becoming disciplined starts by doing the small things. Things like picking up your coffee mug and putting it in the dishwasher, making your bed, returning your calls and emails in a timely manner, being on time for your appointments, getting your project done on time, and so on.

As you practice being disciplined by doing small things, you will then have the discipline to do the big things. This is why the process of becoming disciplined begins by doing the little things—simple things you can do.

Here is my challenge to you: from this point forward, when you need to do something you don’t feel like doing, say to yourself, “If I don’t feel like doing it, then I MUST DO IT NOW!”  Then immediately, without further delay, do it.

As you implement self-discipline into your daily life, you will begin to feel like you are in control of your life. You will feel confident and motivated because you’re moving toward your goals and you will feel proud of the person you are becoming in the process.

The single most important key to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.

About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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