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Self Discipline and Consistency The Habits of Success

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other thing.” —Abraham Lincoln

I’ve yet to read a single long-term success story that doesn’t have consistency and self-discipline attached to it. Consistency and self-discipline are the power twins behind successful people. John Maxwell says, “Success is a journey not a destination”. I believe that to be correct, remove the self-discipline to remain consistent and the success journey comes to a halt.

It takes both consistency and self-discipline to win in life. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people aren’t gifts and talents, the difference is being consistent with doing your best and that takes self-discipline.

Winning in Life Doesn’t Always Require Speed

I’m thinking of the children’s story of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” (1) which demonstrates self-discipline and the Law of Consistency. The Law of Consistency says, “Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you growing”.

In the Tortoise and the Hare, the Hare is poking fun at the Tortoise because he moves so slow. The Hare in a mocking tone asks the Tortoise “do you ever get anywhere?” to which the Tortoise replies “Yes.” The Tortoise challenges the Hare to a race to prove he can get to the finish line sooner than the Hare thinks.

When the race begins the Hare is off like a flash and leaves the Tortoise in the dust, attempting to add insult to injury, the Hare decides to take a nap along the road allowing the Tortoise to catch up. The Tortoise, moving along at a steady pace ever so slowly eventually passes the sleeping Hare. The Hare awakes and once again is off in a flash but couldn’t catch the Tortoise before the finish line.

The Rat Race Never Had a Winner

We mistakenly measure ourselves against our competitors when we should measure ourselves against our prior performance. When I was younger the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” was popular illustrating the pressures of gauging success by how well our friends and neighbors were doing. Keeping pace with earning an equivalent income, homes and cars were part of the status symbols giving an appearance of success.

I’m amazed by people caught up in the rat of striving to outdo one another both personally and in business. Success isn’t about outdoing a competitor, it’s about consistently outdoing ourselves over time. The Tortoise kept his eye on the finish line and by having the discipline to stay the course step by step wins in the end. The Hare is faster but fails to win because his eye was on his competitor instead of the finish line.

John C. Maxwell writes, “If you want to grow, don’t try to win big. Try to win small. Andrew Wood asserted, “Where many people go wrong in trying to reach their goals is in constantly looking for the big hit, the home run, the magic answer that suddenly transforms their dreams into reality. The problem is that the big hit never comes without a great deal of little hits first. Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” (2)

Consistency with daily priorities even when nothing appears to be changing is vital. To stay the course when it appears that others are way out in front requires self-discipline. The Tortoise believed he could win and took the race one step at a time.

Your long-term plan sets your daily priorities.  How well are you handling your daily priorities today? The following 4-point checklist may be of help with keeping you on pace in your success journey step by step.

Once you have set your daily priorities:

#1 – Make a quality decision to handle your daily priorities on time.

#2 – Have a daily checklist with two columns: Left Column –   What item is planned? When is it scheduled? Right Column – What took place? And Why?

#3 – Are you on schedule to hit your next targeted objective? If not, explain why?

#4 – Weekly review and revise daily priorities as necessary


(1) “The Tortoise and the Hare” An Aesop Fable (Reading Rainbow Books) (2) “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C. Maxwell (pg. 74)

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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