The Grittier Side of Discipline We Pretend Doesn't Exist.

Make no mistake. Just putting in mindbending amounts of raw effort isn't enough to make your business successful.

You will get some things done. And perhaps the right things will get done.

But success isn't that simple.

It requires more than that.

You need daily guts.

And might just call that "discipline".

But no matter what you label it, being successful demands that you make hard decisions each day about what you will and will not do.

Usually, discussions around discipline focus on what you as a business leader need to be doing:

  1. You need to be planning for growth.
  2. You need to be prospecting for new opportunities.
  3. You need to be mentoring leadership candidates.
  4. You need to be budgeting and saving.

And all of these things matter. And 1000 more.

Doing the right thing many times means you just need to do the next thing.

Nothing happens overnight. Progress takes lots of time.

"If you stop doing the right thing before it starts working, you've just done the wrong thing..."

But discipline isn't just about what you are willing to do.

The harder, grittier side of discipline is about what you won't do.

The guts you muster to deny yourself what you desire.

And your brain isn't wired to help you.

It's not easy to say "no" to yourself..

It's not easy to talk yourself out of providing something for yourself that might make your life a little more comfortable.

In fact, out of all the massive computing power in your brain, only the tiniest portion is wired to help you deny yourself. On the sides of your brain, right about where you can touch your temple -- right above your ear -- there is a section of your brain about the size of a dime called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

That's one section of the brain that controls inhibition. It controls the higher reasoning that stops you from doing things.

And it's a highly moody section of the brain.

  • If you've been drinking, then it turns off.
  • If you've had too much caffeine, then it gets jumpy.
  • If you haven't eaten, it's slow to get to work.

It just shuts down.

And it's the only part of your brain stopping you from having the discipline to deny yourself immediate gratification.

You might have heard yourself in the past say that you "are willing to do anything to be successful". You might have found yourself bragging about what you are prepared to do in order to be successful.

But the gritty, unspoken side of discipline is about what you won't do.

"It is not what you are willing to do that will make you successful; it is what you are willing to do without until you get there..."

And that takes guts.

That takes daily guts.

Call it whatever you want.  Discipline is key to being successful.

Which begs the question -- what are you willing to do without?