If there was one character trait that could guarantee a person’s success, it would be self-discipline, closely followed by hard work. But you know what they say about putting in the effort. It’s not so much about blind hard work as it is about disciplined perseverance in the right direction that can help you become successful and achieve your objectives.
In this course, we’ll look closely at how self-discipline is the single most common trait among successful people from all walks of life. For this, I have chosen some eminent and highly accomplished individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective fields through their success.
Their achievements have made their names synonymous with their respective professions/industries. And don’t worry, I’m not going to do a subjective analysis of how they excelled in their chosen field, but rather how self-discipline has helped them become who they are today and how much they value self-discipline.
These chosen individuals come from various parts of the world and work in politics, business, sports, technology, and entertainment. All of this serves to emphasise the importance of self-discipline and how it is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable assets you can have regardless of your profession or area of expertise. So, let us get started!
This man is, quite literally, one of the most vocal proponents of self-discipline and hard work. He has stated numerous times that his success is due to his self-discipline and commitment. He was a well-loved governor of the state of California, the Governator, as he was affectionately known; he excelled in every challenge he took on.
Mr. Schwarzenegger has repeatedly stated in videos and articles that self-discipline was the single most important aspect of his journey. In the context of his professional bodybuilding career, it is quite easy to see the benefits of self-discipline. The sport necessitates total dedication to the cause, and self-discipline is the glue that holds everything together.
The fact that he won more titles in his career than many of his competitors combined demonstrates that he had a strong sense of self-discipline.
And his success does not stop there. Mr. Schwarzenegger pursued a career in Hollywood after retiring from professional bodybuilding, which presented him with a new set of challenges. As an immigrant and newcomer to the acting world, he faced prejudice and outright rejection.
But he persisted, and with his hard work and self-discipline, he rose to become one of the biggest action movie stars. Schwarzenegger went on to prove to the world that limitations exist only as challenges to be overcome when he changed careers and entered politics.
Once again, his dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline propelled him to the highest public office an immigrant can hold in the United States – that of Governor of the State of California, which he held for multiple terms.
Jack Ma, Season 9
If there is one name that has become synonymous with the current era of Internet-based business models, it is Jack Ma’s. This Chinese business mogul, born Ma Yun, is the founder and CEO of Alibaba, a conglomerate of various businesses founded on the Internet. Jack Ma’s storey of success is based on his strong sense of self-belief and self-discipline, even in the face of multiple rejections and failures, and he is frequently named one of the top five most influential business icons of our generation.
His beginnings were far from humble.
He had a difficult time getting into college right after graduating from high school. It took him three attempts to pass his Alma Mater’s entrance exams. Fresh out of college, he applied for 30 different jobs and was turned down by each and every one of them. In fact, he applied to Harvard ten times and was turned down each time.
As you can see, he was a man with boundless self-belief and perseverance. His first few business ventures were also failures before he struck gold with the online market place he founded, and the rest, as they say, is history.
According to friends and acquaintances close to Jack Ma, he has been an avid practitioner of meditation and the Chinese martial art form known as Tai Chi, which is more of a practise of self-discipline than anything else.
In fact, Ma has praised the virtues of Tai Chi, helping to raise awareness about the benefits of this martial art form and expressing his desire to be known as a Tai Chi practitioner and teacher rather than an Internet business mogul.
He is yet another excellent example of an individual who, thanks to his strong sense of discipline, overcame all odds and challenges.
Serena and Venus Williams, Serena and Venus Williams, Serena and Venus Williams, Serena and Venus Williams
Any list of successful people would be incomplete if the Williams sisters were not mentioned. They have truly made a name for themselves in tennis and have become cultural icons, serving as a source of inspiration to millions of people around the world.
Every aspect of their life and game is awe-inspiring, and the only keys to their success, aside from their abilities, are sheer hard work and self-discipline.
At the ages of 35 and 36, Serena and Venus are rewriting history every time they step foot on a tennis court. They have consistently tasted success in a game that, ironically, is notorious for exhausting even world-class athletes in their twenties due to the physical toil it necessitates. And the fact that these sisters haven’t given up is incredible and inspiring.
The Williams sisters have a whopping 30 Grand Slam titles between them, not to mention Olympic medals and Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles. The game of tennis has never been the same since the Williams sisters made their debut, without a doubt. And they are still dominating their games at this age, when their opponents would have long retired.
Overcoming extreme physical injuries and illnesses (Venus has Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Serena has knee and back injuries), and refusing to give in to cultural and gender inequalities, they have made it clear on multiple occasions that they owe all of their success to the countless hours of hard work and self-discipline behind each game.
Often hitting the court before the sun comes up, it is their sheer dedication to the sport and extreme amounts of discipline in practise that has earned them the distinction of being true game changers in the world of tennis.
Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 Olympic medals to his name, 23 of which are gold. He is also arguably the greatest athlete. And beneath the veneer of success and accomplishments is a man who, according to his own admission, once went five years without taking a single day off from training and the rigorous schedule of a competitive athlete. That’s 1825 days of nonstop hard work and practise! And if that isn’t the very definition of self-discipline and commitment, I’m not sure what is.
Phelps’ coach has described him as someone who complements his extraordinary athletic abilities with insane levels of focus and commitment on multiple occasions.
His unwavering focus and determination have been lauded by both teammates and opponents. His almost obsessive pursuit of perfection has been widely publicised, and he truly lives up to it.
He is said to have trained for up to 8 hours a day, every day, without missing a single day, and spends the rest of his time resting and meditating. All of this for a man who, admittedly, suffers from ADHD is truly inspiring. It once again demonstrates that being naturally gifted with a certain skill can propel you to great heights, but only if those abilities are complemented by hard work, self-discipline, and perseverance.
Warren Buffet is the CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and he is widely regarded as the greatest and most successful investor of our time. Buffet is regarded as an investment wizard by the financial sector, having large stakes in many of the world’s largest public companies. Buffet has often been asked what the secret to his success is, and he has attributed it to prudential investment tactics and self-discipline, which have helped him choose wisely and reap the greatest benefits from his investments. Discipline in financial matters is critical for long-term financial stability, as he has demonstrated over the years!
Known as a man who invests in a company rather than just its stock, Buffet has earned widespread respect and admiration for his disciplined and humble way of life despite his billionaire status. He has spoken on numerous occasions and forums about the importance of self-discipline and honest hard work as key ingredients to business success.
I hope that these success stories inspire you to begin disciplining your mind and body.