If there is a single ingredient for ensuring success, that ingredient can be summed up in one word: discipline.

According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, to discipline is to ‘train in habits of obedience; to bring under control; [to] drill’.

Discipline, by its very nature, runs contrary to the human nature; which gravitates towards indiscipline and sloppiness. If let to run its course, free will always seeks out the easy option; where obstacles are either sidestepped or completely ignored.

To be disciplined, we must ‘drill’ into our psyche habits that will cause us to obey thoughts and take actions that will lead us towards our desired objectives. To ‘drill’ the right habits into our psyche (the part of our mind that is responsible for our behaviours and actions), we must bring under control all thoughts and actions that prevent us from moving in the right direction.

But this is easier said than done. Discipline has more to do with ‘action’ than ‘talk’. No amount of positive affirmations or motivational and subliminal tapes and seminars will make you disciplined. Yes, they will motivate you and point you in the right direction, but motivation alone will not ‘move’ you. You will have to ‘do’ what needs to be done to achieve the results you desire.

Anyone can set desired goals and have the motivation to achieve those goals. However, only discipline can ‘take’ you to your goal. This may mean working consistently and assiduously for long hours; doing tasks that you would rather not do, but which are essential in the attainment of your goals; foregoing or putting on hold current comforts and pleasures, etc.

None of us is born with inherent discipline. Discipline is acquired through training. We must train ourselves to take the right action at the right time and in the right way. The keyword here is ‘training’, which implies that discipline is learned. But what makes this ‘training’ unconventional and more challenging than other conventional forms of training is because it must be drilled at the thought level.

It is in the realm of thoughts that behaviours are born, and which in turn lead us to act in one way and not the other. If we can have the right thoughts, then we will behave in the right way and take the right actions. It is the latter aspect of this process that will determine whether we are disciplined or undisciplined; whether we succeed or fail.

Nearly all successful people, especially the self-made super wealthy, can attest to the importance of discipline in the attainment of goals. They did not get where they are today on a roller coaster: they had to ‘force’ themselves to take the right actions on a daily basis. They stepped out of the ‘comfortable’ and ‘convenient’ and ‘trained’ their mind to take the right actions. To do this, they chose to ‘disobey’ the part of their mind that told them to ‘take it easy and let it be’ and ‘obeyed’ the part of their mind that insisted that they ‘take the right action’. They did not just make decisions; they acted on those decisions.