No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline

1. Resolve today to “switch on” your success mechanism and unlock your goal-achieving mechanism by deciding exactly what you really want in life. 2. Make a list of ten goals that you want to achieve in the foreseeable future. Write them down in the present tense, as if you have already achieved them. 3. Select the one goal that could have the greatest positive impact on your life if you were to achieve it, and write it down at the top of another piece of paper. 4. Make a list of everything you could do to achieve this goal, organize it by sequence and priority, and then take action on it immediately. 5. Practice mindstorming by writing out twenty ideas that could help you achieve your most important goal, and then take action on at least one of those ideas.

Courage is not absence of fear; it is control of fear, mastery of fear.” —MARK TWAIN

Discipline is what you must have to resist the lure of excuses

Discipline is what you must have to resist the lure of excuses. It is self-discipline that enables you to “vote yourself off the island.” It is the key to a great life and, without it, no lasting success is possible.

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself and be lenient to everyone else.” —HENRY WARD BEECHER, NINETEENTH-CENTURY CLERGYMAN

How shall we live in order to be happy?” Your ability to ask and answer that question correctly for yourself—and then to follow where your answer leads you—will largely determine whether you achieve your own happiness, and how soon.

If it’s to be, it’s up to me!

People invariably seek the fastest and easiest way to get the things they want, right now, with little or no concern for the long-term consequences of their behaviors.

Perhaps the most important insight of all with regard to success is that to achieve greatly, you must become a different person. It is not the material things you accomplish or acquire that matter so much as it is the quality of the person you must become to accomplish well above the average. The development of self-discipline is the high road that makes everything possible for you.

Priorities versus Posteriorities Setting priorities requires setting posteriorities as well. A priority is something that you do more of and sooner, whereas a posteriority is something you do less of or later. You are probably already overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time. Because of this, for you to embark on a new task, you must discontinue an old task. Getting into something new requires getting out of another activity. Before you commit to a new undertaking, ask yourself, “What am I going to stop doing so that I have enough time to work on this new task?” Go through your life regularly and practice “creative abandonment”: Consciously determine the activities that you are going to discontinue so that you have more time to spend on those tasks that can really make a difference to your future.

Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.

Talent Is Overrated,

The Law of Forced Efficiency says, “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important things.

The most important success principle of all was stated by Elbert Hubbard, one of the most prolific writers in American history, at the beginning of the twentieth century. He said, ‘Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.

THE PAYOFF IS EXTRAORDINARY I was giving a seminar in Detroit a couple of years ago when a young man, about thirty years old, came up to me at the break. He told me that he had first come to my seminar and heard my “3 Percent Rule” about ten years ago. At that time, he had dropped out of college, was living at home, driving an old car, and earning about $20,000 a year as an office-to-office salesman. He decided after the seminar that he was going to apply the 3 Percent Rule to himself, and he did so immediately. He calculated 3 percent of his income of $20,000 would be $600. He began to buy sales books and read them every day. He invested in two audio-learning programs on sales and time management. He took one sales seminar. He invested the entire $600 in himself, in learning to become better. That year, his income went from $20,000 to $30,000, an increase of 50 percent. He said he could trace the increase with great accuracy to the things he had learned and applied from the books he had read and the audio programs he had listened to. So the following year, he invested 3 percent of $30,000, a total of $900, back into himself. That year, his income jumped from $30,000 to $50,000. He began to think, “If my income goes up at 50 percent per year by investing 3 percent back into myself, what would happen if I invested 5 percent? KEEP RAISING THE BAR The next year, he invested 5 percent of his income, $2,500, into his learning program. He took more seminars, traveled cross-country to a conference, bought more audio- and video-learning programs, and even hired a part-time coach. And that year, his income doubled to $100,000. After that, like playing Texas Hold-Em, he decided to go “all in” and raise his investment into himself to 10 percent per year. He told me that he had been doing this every since. I asked him, “How has investing 10 percent of your income back into yourself affected your income?” He smiled and said, “I passed a million dollars in personal income last year. And I still invest 10 percent of my income in myself every single year.” I said, “That’s a lot of money. How do you manage to spend that much money on personal development?” He said, “It’s hard! I have to start spending money on myself in January in order to invest it all by the end of the year. I have an image coach, a sales coach, and a speaking coach. I have a large library in my home with every book, audio program, and video program on sales and personal success I can find. I attend conferences, both nationally and internationally in my field. And my income keeps going up and up every year.

There are a thousand excuses for failure but never a good reason.” —MARK TWAIN

You can make excuses or you can make progress. You choose.

Your ability to think, plan, and work hard in the short term and to discipline yourself to do what is right and necessary before you do what is fun and easy is the key to creating a wonderful future for yourself.