Elite athletes, top sports men and women, A-list artists and entertainers just to mention a few are usually celebrated, appreciated and even idolized by their adoring fans. We deeply appreciate the quality and value that they bring to their respective fields. Fans are often left dazzled by their unique talents and mind-blowing skills.
Household names like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Floyd Mayweather, just to mention a few, send a frenzy of excitement among fans who are so often awed by the somewhat superhuman and extraordinary talent of these superstars.
What we see are athletes at the peak of their powers who are constantly challenging and redefining what limitations mean in their particular fields. The floodlight beams on their exceptional talents, the media drools about each record they break or set with seeming ease!
Many people never bother to discover what really propelled these individuals to the apex of their life’s endeavor. It just feels like these superstars are the exceptions- people with unnatural talents and empowered with magical abilities!
Nevertheless, history reveals a clear image of the bigger picture. There have been countless number of teenage sensations who were super talented but then suddenly faded out of the scene before they could achieve much with their lives.
Then you have instances where people with average to seemingly zero talents end up doing so much with their careers that they enjoy successes only geniuses have a right to claim. For instance, world renown life coach Anthony Robbins, author of bestselling book ‘Awaken The Giant Within’ and many other amazing books, shares in his book, how his life felt meaningless and unfulfilling during his younger adult years. He wrote about being constantly broke and out of shape until he took a decision to take control of his life. What follows is a product of hard work, discipline and dedication. Robbins also shares of how he began to amass hours of coaching practice to the point where he had garnered years worth of practice in a couple of weeks what his colleagues were achieving in a year. Today he remains a success story of ‘grass to grace’ through determination and discipline.
Where am I driving to, you may ask? The point of this whole write up is to bring to the fore the very fact that talent and skill is not enough to sustain an individual’s success or ascent to the apex of their field. To make sustainable progress in life, you need to have DISCIPLINE.
Self discipline is the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work hard or behave in a particular way without needing anyone else to tell you what to do. It is bringing yourself to put in the hard work of preparation, training and self improvement behind the spotlight to the point that your output in the spotlight seems effortless.
As a matter of fact, research has shown that elite sports individuals and top shots in various industries though very skilled yet still usually put in much more time and effort in training/practice than their more average counterparts. No two individuals better buttress this research finding with their remarkable work ethics than the now retired sprinter Usain Bolt and current footballer Cristiano Ronaldo -they have both been able to push their abilities to peak levels through discipline and dedication to training which has resulted in outstanding performances alongside countless trophies and records.
In a nutshell, self discipline is necessary to keep you grounded irrespective of your level of talent and current achievement. It helps you to maximize your time, channel your energy and efforts, and also keeps you level headed when fame and money comes knocking.
Nothing destroys progress more than a lack of self discipline. Heavy weight boxer -Andy Ruiz who recently completed one of the greatest upsets in world boxing after he defeated Anthony Joshua in their first fight to make history as the first Mexican heavyweight boxing champion only to then lose in the rematch due to a lack of discipline. This he humbly affirmed himself when he confessed to constantly partying, gaining more weight and training less after the first bout -all of which led to his reign ending loss.
You see, self discipline doesn’t only get you to the peak of your endeavor, it helps you sustain success while you are at the apex. It helps you attain mastery and perform your trade excellently.
As a final note, the next time you think of the extraordinary performances of your favorite sports star, remember that it is self discipline that has brought them there! You need it too if you intend to achieve much with your own life.