How to Cultivate Self Discipline to Achieve Greatness
By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
When Michael Phelps broke Mark Spitz’s record of the maximum number of gold medals in the Olympics, they asked him how he did it. He said that for four years he did nothing in his life. He only did three things. He ate, he slept and he swam. He ate, slept, swam. That’s all he did for four years. He swam for Six hours a day every single day without taking a Sunday off. How many people would do it? Now this is Discipline and no one can achieve greatness without it.
If you really want to be only at the peak and you have a burning desire for that then a whole strategy comes in . So there is much harder sacrifice. It means focus, the determination and the will power involved have to be much more.
When I was making my movie Carve Your Destiny, a motivational movie for which I interviewed 18 Indian and international achievers over a course of Six years, I asked a lot of them on the subject of discipline. (You can watch the movie by scrolling down below). Read what Mr. Shiv Khera, a legendary Self Help Guru and Dr. Kiran Bedi, India’s first female Cop had to say on How to cultivate Self Discipline.
“”Mental toughness and mental conditioning is exactly identical to physical toughness and physical conditioning. How do you build stamina? How do you build muscles? With constant practice you keep building stamina. Today…an athlete runs a few hundred meters and gradually he keeps increasing his speed or distance and his stamina keeps building up. It is the same thing. You pick up weights, are you able to pick up huge amount of weights overnight?
No!! You gradually pick up little weights and then gradually keep increasing the resistance and you start building heavy muscles in your body. Similarly you mentally show toughness for an hour or one day and gradually that day stretches – “Alright today I did it and today I did it in small things! Okay now I am going to make sure I eat the right kind of food, no matter what temptation, I’m not going to have that that pizza. I’ll stick to this”, that one element of mental toughness stretches into other things You start with l little items and gradually you start doing the big ones. You start doing the big ones overnight, you’ll never do it, you will never be able to do it!””
“”It’s like everyday you want to sleep more in the bed because morning’s little nip in the air is very nice you want to continue cuddled in the little quilt and you want to sleep. But you also want to be fit and that’s the only time to do your fitness, so the desire to sleep has to be slightly lower than the desire to be fit. So the desire to be fit overrules the desire to sleep, and you throw off the quilt and you go for a run, and then you come back so happy saying to yourself you were able to do it.
Which desire overrules the other is the critical factor. Each day your better thought has to win over a weaker thought, there is no holiday in this. You may take a day off as a part of training but you have to see it does not prolong. There is no holiday in self discipline. There maybe a Sunday for us but there is no Sunday for a better thought to win over a lower thought which can deviate you or distract you from your goal.
The above were the views of two eminent personalities I interviewed for my motivational movie Carve Your Destiny. I am often asked by people how to stay disciplined and why they keep losing focus. To be honest, if you feel you lose focus and drift away from the goal, it means that at that moment the desire to win is just not enough. This is normal though. Very few can maintain a burning desire to succeed ALL the time. But the only way you can maximize the chances of being highly motivated most of the times is to only work on goals that drive you from inside, and not the goals that are imposed upon you.
So, first things first: Only pursue goals YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. Not the goals that society wants you to achieve but the goals that YOU want to achieve. If you don’t have a deep sense of purpose that constantly drives you towards achieving the goal, you WILL NOT make the sacrifice it takes to get there. Ask yourself – are you more driven or more distracted? If you are distracted far more often than you are driven, maybe it is time to step back and work on a different goal where you are likely to be driven much more.
However, if you believe you are more driven than distracted but still seem to have occasional lapses of sincerity, then it’s time to ASSESS YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
What do you spend your day doing? What kind of people do you associate with? What kind of books do you read? What kind of stuff do you watch on TV. Your environment plays a major role in determining how motivated you are. If you spend most of your time with people who do not share your dreams and aspirations, you will get distracted. Demotivated/distracted people will bring you down to their level. Motivated and driven people will make you push your own limits and force you to rise up.
Therefore, assess your environment, stay in the company of those who have common dreams. Constantly read and watch material that inspires you and keeps you focused on your goal. Treat this as a long term commitment. This does not mean that you should stop having fun altogether, it just means you need to shift your priorities and keep them in alignment with your objective.
Finally, keep in mind that habits do not change overnight. You can’t be a great martial artist by throwing a few kicks and punches. You need to practice over and over again for as long as it takes to become your second nature. Similarly, to adopt a completely new lifestyle, it takes immense commitment and perseverance. As always, the ultimate question boils down to this – How bad do you want it? 🙂
1) You can never achieve greatness in any field without involving discipline on some level
2) Mental Conditioning is like Physical Conditioning. Commit to doing little things on a daily basis that keep challenging you and over a period of time you will be able to do much tougher things.
3) The desire for your goal has to be greater than the desire for the distractions. Each day your better thought has to win over a weaker thought.
4) Only pursue goals you are passionate about. That makes practising discipline much more easier.
5) Assess the environment, attitudes are contagious. If you are around undisciplined and demotivated people, then find a different environment, you will feel a much more uplifting energy around them that will constantly motivate you.
6) Realize that habits do not change over night. You need to be committed towards your goal in one way or the other on a daily basis. The ultimate question to whether or not you will succeed is this – How badly do you want it?
About the Author
The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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