Even the most talented people with the most potential can fall short if they aren’t willing to work. Today, we’re talking about the concept of building grit and discipline to keep going in life. We often illustrate this with the idea of rowing upstream. Simply stated, this means putting in the work to get where you want to go, no matter how tough things get.
If you followed the Launch Well series, either by listening to the Uncommon Freedom Podcast, reading the blogs, or both, we hope you’re in the 30% of people that haven’t given up on their goals for 2023.
That’s right; research shows that seven out of ten people quit on their new years goal before the end of January. We could go into all the reasons behind that phenomenon but for now we’re going to focus on one of the biggest factors: discipline.
When do you lose discipline?
Discipline can be defined as an activity, exercise, or regimen that develops or improves a skill or habit. Essentially, discipline is the grown-up version of the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Most of us know the importance of discipline, but identifying when and why you lose your discipline can be a valuable way to avoid those pitfalls and stay on track with your goals.
For us, lack of discipline often shows up when we aren’t getting enough sleep and when we’re feeling overwhelmed by challenges with our kiddos. In those moments it’s easy to ignore (intentionally or unintentionally) the good habits we’ve developed, which we know are crucial to the continued health of our mind, body, and relationships. Once we start making those suboptimal choices, they snowball quickly.
If you haven’t yet identified the circumstances that cause you to lose your discipline, the acronym HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) is a good place to start. Those four states are pretty close to universal triggers for most people before they start lacking in discipline.
How to avoid losing discipline?
Your best tool to combat the loss of discipline is simply being aware of what you’re feeling and intentional about how you deal with those triggers. It’s also important to arm yourself with grace in those moments, because the fact is, we all deal with challenging situations. It’s how we react that defines our potential for success.
Once you become aware of what puts you at risk for losing your discipline, don’t beat yourself up! Challenge yourself to address the situation with healthy responses directly related to what you’re experiencing. Choose to react in a way that will support rather than undermine your goals, such as eating a healthy snack if you’re hungry or calling a friend or family member if you’re lonely. You will thank yourself later!
What is the equation for success? Grit!
In the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, author and psychologist Angela Duckworth shares valuable information about the equation for success.
- Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill isn’t something you’re born with; it’s the product of talent and effort.
- Skill x Effort = Achievement
Once you’ve put in the effort to develop the skill, even more effort is required to achieve success, so effort is twice as important as talent.
- (Talent x Effort) x Effort = Achievement.
Even the most talented athlete in the world would not be successful without putting in the work and the having the grit to keep going. Similarly, there are some things in life that not everyone can achieve, no matter how hard they work for it. It’s the intersection of both talent and effort, plus even more effort, that leads to success.
How do your priorities affect your effort?
We talked about this in a couple episodes of the Uncommon Freedom Podcast’s Launch Well Series, but it’s so important to be able to honestly assess your priorities when it comes to deciding where to invest your time and effort.
If something isn’t important to you, healthy habits that support those related goals are going to be the first to go. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by zeroing in on what matters most and investing everything you’ve got into those areas. By the way, tracking your habits is a great way to identify which goals you’re most willing to really work for. If you haven’t already we highly recommend using our FREE Interactive Habit Tracker.
In one of our recent blogs, Find Your Purpose to Maximize Your Potential as well as this episode of the podcast, we discuss questions you can ask yourself in order to help identify your true purpose in life. One of those questions addresses the importance of doing something that comes naturally to you, that is, something you have a talent for.
Another one of the questions asks you to identify an activity you don’t easily tire of because the fact is, no after what you do in life, you’re going to have to work for it. What better way to succeed than by investing in something you actually enjoy?
Are you willing to row upstream?
An analogy we often use to describe mainstream society is the image of boats on a river with a strong current. For many people, they don’t even feel the need to ever put their oars in the water. Why should they when they’re already moving downstream and they don’t see many other people rowing? Riding the current is the path of least resistance, but the path to health, financial freedom, strong relationships, deep faith, and the achievement of true Uncommon Freedom is going to require the hard work of rowing upstream, against the current. If that’s what you want for yourself and your family, start rowing and let’s get to work!
Can you identify areas in your life where you are willing to double down on your effort, apply some grit, and start rowing upstream to achieve success? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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