“If you ain’t first, you’re last. You know, you know what I’m talking about? “
– Ricky Bobby
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
– Vincent Lombardi
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
– Michael Jordan
My morning run typically ends at a park. Given that summer has just started more than a few dozen kids can be found running around and playing on any given morning. In between sets, (pushups/pullups) I notice that seemingly everywhere kids are competing; racing on foot, racing on bikes (one tiny kid had a bike that didn’t even have peddles and was racing!) everywhere I looked kids were playing tag, soccer, etc. Then, it spilled out of my mouth; jaw dropped, ipod blaring in my ears, “duh, (i said to me) competition IS natural.”
News flash! It’s human nature to compete. However, somewhere between when I was six years old and my daughter turned six we became “NICE”. You know, no winners and no losers. “Don’t worry Jimmy, just feel good.” Sarah, (who scored 3 goals) looks confused as we explain why she didn’t actually win. “there are no winners Sarah.”
While there are many larger societal challenges at the moment this one is on my radar. When and WHY did we decide we could reverse thousands of years of competitive evolution and teach kids NOT to compete? Does anyone think Sarah really believes there are no winners? Who thinks the Olympic games are going to disappear anytime soon? Guess what, kids know better instinctively.
Our attempts to shelter our kids from this NATURAL and very REAL existence of competition (yes, there are actually winners and losers) is doing them a disservice and I think our collective good intentions are misdirected. First, it’s the wrong message. we shouldn’t be telling them there are no winners or losers. We should be teaching them and coaching them about HOW to compete, HOW to win, and yes, HOW to lose and even WHY competition is healthy and positive.
“No person is free who is not master of himself. “
Feeling stuck? Unmotivated?
Does it seem as though you’re drifting, not really achieving your goals or making progress in life?
First, you are not alone! Second, if you’re reading this you are on to something,
Discipline is both the key and the bridge to take you from where you are right now to where you want to be in life… and, here’s something you’ll rarely if ever hear, it doesn’t have to be difficult!
I’m going to repeat that, “Discipline can be simple once these key ideas are understood and then applied!”
Belief almost always comes first.
There’s almost no point in trying to become better and more disciplined at anything if you don’t believe it’s truly possible. Too often people will say, “Well I’m just not that disciplined.” With that sort of self-talk and mindset where can a person truly go from there?
Believing / knowing you can be a disciplined person is the first step!
Do you believe?
See your ideal self in your mind’s eye. What would a more disciplined you look like? Rather than trying to encompass every possible disciplined aspect of your life, focus on ONE simple discipline and say to yourself, for instance:
* I see myself passing up the cookies
* I see myself reading every night before bed
* I see myself controlling my reactions/anger
Track Your Behavior
How can you tell if you’re making progress if you don’t track your behaviors (your habits)? How are you going to know if you’re eating better, losing weight, etc.?
Plus, there is a great secret bonus to tracking— self efficacy! It simply means that you are able to produce a desired result. Then, guess what happens? That’s right, you become happier (because you are controlling directing your behavior/producing a desired result AND you gain momentum! ; )
Tracking your habits produces discipline or to be more accurate the discipline habit. The Habit Factor provides this FREE handy, PDF tracking sheet or a free app (Google Play store and iOS) — it is amazingly effective.
Patience can not be over-stated! All too often people bail on the process of self-improvement because they fail once or twice. You can and will “fail” a few dozen times… but that doesn’t matter. The most disciplined among us have just kept trying. EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY!
Change is simple but not necessarily easy, and patience is the difference maker. Those that succeed are patient with themselves and keep trying. They keep plugging along, keep moving forward and of course that bring us full circle to Key #1…. they keep believing!
So there you have it. Four simple keys to improving your self-discipline. Abide by these tenets and you WILL find success.
“It’s like Muhammad Ali used to say, when people asked him how many sit-ups did you do: I only start counting when it starts hurting.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
When Do You Start Counting?
By: S. Kelley
Let’s be frank (or Joe for that matter).
Most of us don’t like pain. Arnold Schwarzenegger, champion bodybuilder and erstwhile Terminator, viewed Muhammed Ali as a great role model for success. He recounted a terrific story about The Greatest in an interview in the ‘70s.
As Schwarzenegger explained it, Ali was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t know”. “I don’t count my sit-ups… I only start counting when it start to hurt! When I begin to feel the pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”
More Schwarzenegger and his “Six Rules of Success” can be found in our previous post here! But stick around first and try to FOCUS! ; )
So, what do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali and even great Olympic curlers have in common? Yes. They may all seem to be strange bedfellows, but they embody a basic tenet of success and goal-achievement:
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
While watching the 2018 Olympics the other day, I found myself mesmerized not by snowboarders or skiers and their death-defying leaps. No, it was curling that fascinated me. An ordinary-looking guy was sort of ice-bowling a disk while his partner furiously swept alongside the sliding granite stone. It almost looked . . . easy.
The announcer must have been reading my mind. “Don’t forget, folks. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.” Turns out that hurtling a 40-pound rock down a sheet of slippery ice while trying to hit a small target takes (certainly) some level of athleticism, patience and an enormous amount of SKILL.
In short, becoming an Olympic curler is likely to take years of hard work, training, sacrifice and involve some pain.
Piers Steel, author of the Procrastination Equation, talks about an elite cyclist’s trick for pushing past the pain threshold: micro-goal-setting. “Ivan Basso (aka Ivan the Terrible) is one of the best mountain bike riders of all time. One of his motivational tricks is to set a series of targets for the race, each one within sight and as short as thirty secondsif negotiating a series of bends. One at a time, he focuses on finishing each one.”
Steel recounts a similar story about micro-goal-setting— but one with life-or-death consequences.:
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard. How powerful is this mantra?
Joe Simpson, in one of mountaineering’s greatest survival stories, used it to save his life. Left for dead at the bottom of a crevasse in an isolated Peruvian mountain with a shattered shinbone, he had three days to pull himself to a base camp through five miles of truly treacherous glacier field or be really dead.
He was already utterly exhausted from an arduous marathon of an ascent, with no food and only a little water, so this journey should have been impossible, except for one critical survival tool: his wristwatch. With it, he set goals. Setting the alarm for twenty minutes at a time, he made for a nearby rock or drift — he was elated when he reached it in time and he despaired when he didn’t. Battling exhaustion, pain, and eventually delirium, he repeated the same process hundreds of times and ultimately reached the perimeter of the base camp just hours before his friends’ intended departure.”
It ALL comes down to pain. Or, to be more accurate, your pain threshold. How much pain and frustration can you endure before you give up? Can you be like Ali and Schwarzenegger and use pain as the signal to BEGIN counting?
Challenge yourself every day — starting today. Become uncomfortable with comfort. Brian Tracy likes to say that “Comfort is the great enemy of success.”
Become comfortable with discomfort AND pain. DO the work until it hurts AND THEN START COUNTING!
More PAINful advice here:
A great article in Runner’s World, “Tricks To Push Through Midrace Pain,” (https://www.runnersworld.com/psychology/mental-tricks-to-push-through-midrace-pain) offers some advice for making it through a seemingly impossible challenge, with techniques that can be applied to any discipline, not just running. The author discusses how to stick to the grind despite the pain by recalling past sacrifices, practicing gratitude and even meditating.
Another insightful article similarly discusses the idea of “training for pain.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/fashion/29FITNESS.html). Pushing your training in intervals, it points out, increases your tolerance for pain and exertion naturally. Tricks such as external distractions and relaxation exercises can help nudge you farther on your quest (be it a race or another type of goal achievement. If all else fails, we are advised to: “Suck it up.”
So, dear reader, one final time, when do you start counting?
How do you develop it? Check this out — the answer is a bit of a no-brainer but bears repeating. Here’s a clue – how do you develop any HABIT? Plus, why writing yourself a letter is a good idea and how you process feedback is essential. All good messages shared by Dr. Ivan Joseph in his Tedx talk, The Skill of Confidence.
Remember, if you aren’t going to believe in you… who is?
Sam, YOU are the man… Thank you! What an inspiring young man!
You are/were the perfect example of how anyone can overcome ANY obstacle. You taught us where to put our attention, energy and focus. You understood the importance of setting goals, not letting circumstances dictate your attitude and the value of positive relationships.
The thing you (the reader) should know is this, Sam insisted that above all, he was HAPPY! Yet, here was a guy suffering from an incurable, debilitating disease.
“I’m HAPPY!” He would say again and again – and that he wants to change the world. The funny thing about changing the world (as I’m sure you recognize) is you first have to change yourself, then influence another– and, another and so on. The process is rather slow to start but catches steam pretty quickly. With 2 Million plus views – his message isn’t going unnoticed.
Sam’s Secrets to a HAPPY LIFE:
#1) Focus on things he CAN DO vs. the things he can’t do
He might not be able to ride a roller coaster but he could read comic books
He might not be running a marathon but he could watch his favorite sports teams
He couldn’t carry a snare drum but they found a way to work around the obstacle!
Q: What do you want to accomplish and think you can’t because of a “real” or made up obstacle?
#2) Surround yourself with people you want to be around
Sam recognized and appreciated his supportive family and friends.
He loved his great friends and called themsleves “band geeks”
He would insist that the music they created together was bigger than any disease and allowed him to transcend his condition
this happened BECAUSE of other people – great relationships!
MUSIC served as an escape and made him feel good.
Q: What are you doing to appreciate and express love for your family and closest friends? How are you acknowledging and appreciate your mentors and community?
#3) Keep moving forward.
Sam shared a Walt Disney quote “we keep moving forward opening new doors and doing new things.” Sam believed keeping your eyes on the horizon helped to keep his spirits up. Perhaps it was an upcoming family trip or ball game.
Now, there may be some “confused” people who might judge this mindset and accuse it of not being present or in the “now” (not zenlike perhaps) if he’s constantly looking forward. However, they would be a bit off base since one of the great values in setting goals is it helps to bring your present into focus and alignment. For instance, if I have a marathon I’m looking forward to my present will be more focused on good choices. And, there is another terrific benefit. With any future event, the seed of “HOPE” is always planted and this helps us through those moments of great challenge. As Sam said, “A bright future ahead may get me through some difficult times.”
Always remember, where there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.
Sam’s words again, “I always try to have something to look forward to.”
Q: “what are you looking forward to?”
Finally, Sam insists that YOU shouldn’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself… accept it /acknowledge it and then move past it. “Being brave isn’t supposed to be easy.”
“I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself.
I surround myself with people i want to be with.
and i keep moving forward!”
Finally, Sam ends it with this little gem and you get a sense just how he looks forward to events and leave’s us with, “Never miss a party if you can make it!”