People ask me all the time what I think the most important attribute for success is. I’m not a self-help guru by any stretch, but I know without question, my discipline pushed me further than any other trait. To me, discipline is simply the refusal to let yourself down. You can fool your parents sometimes, you can fool your friends, you can go through life acting out a charade and skate through life by pulling a fast one on others but:
At your heart’s core, you can’t BS yourself.
It bothered me to no end when I didn’t feel I was taking advantage of an opportunity. When I missed a workout or gave less than full effort through my drills, it caused me to stress that my competitors were gaining on me. That if I didn’t double down my efforts, the game would pass me by. I don’t know if this was the healthiest attitude, but it forged a discipline that was like a steel wall, impermeable.
This is not something that is taught. It’s something that I always had inside of me that burned. It sounds clichéd, but that’s what it felt like. It burned. When I find myself, as a parent, telling my own kids to work hard and do the best they can, I think back to my own childhood. I was the one who decided to shovel the driveway after a huge snow in Detroit to work on my game. I was the one who found a quiet corner of a dark stairwell where I could completely focus on getting ahead of my schoolwork. I was the one who literally broke into every gym, church, synagogue, and youth center in Southeastern Michigan just to get a few shots up. It was the burning sensation, the need to stay ahead of the game. And it was my discipline that held it all together.
If you can learn to stop fooling yourself, you are way less likely to want to fool others. And the authenticity that you create by living this way only serves to help you in whatever venture you pursue.