Self-Discipline is better than IQ

There’s a lot of skills that are important to master if you want to be Successful.
Skills like creativity, innovation or persuasion deserved a lot of attention. However, there’s one skill that is often underestimated but without it you won’t be as successful as you could be. This skill is called Self-Discipline.

Steve Gutzler has a wonderful definition about what self-definition can do: “self-discipline helps you achieve what you really want… by doing things you don’t really want to do.

Without it you’ll find yourself chasing the latest passion, trend or the latest shinny technology that makes you so excited. While all those things can be really interesting, you need to stay focus on your plan of action to achieve your goals! Without this focus you’ll never finish anything worthwhile doing.

Just how powerful is self-disciple anyway?

It’s powerful enough to outperform IQ, according to a research called “Self-Discipline Outdoes IQin Predicting AcademicPerformance of Adolescents” by Angela L. Duckworth and Martin E.P. Seligman. “Highly self-disciplined adolescents outperformed their more im-pulsive peers on every academic-performance variable, includ-ing report-card grades, standardized achievement-test scores,admission to a competitive high school, and attendance” (Duckworth, Seligman, 2004, p. 941).

That’s the scientific reason why so many smart and talented people aren’t as successful as they could be. Tim Notke said that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. And it’s absolutely true. Don’t foul yourself. If you want to be successful in this global and highly competitive era, you have to constantly practice the right concepts to improve your performance daily!

Practice makes perfect, right? Not exactly according to business Master Harvey Mackay. You have to add one word. Perfect practice. Only by practicing the right concepts, not over a short but over a long period of time, you’ll get to the top. According to a study called “How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world” referenced by Luc Reid it takes 2 to 3 months do develop a new habit.

Ok OK! I got it! How do I develop more self-discipline?

Listen to your mind and body

I’m sure you’ll find to be a lot easier to follow your current habits as a starting point. So listen to what your body and mind naturally ask for.

Your mind and body work best together

Allow me to share my personal experience on this. When I wake up I don’t have much energy in my body.
I don’t have enough energy to produce new things (like new articles or new features for TheRabbitWay.com). However, I DO have enough energy to consume great content that my network shares with me! So I develop a habit of consuming great content in the morning, when I’m sleepy, and turn it into actionable ideas for my business later in the afternoon.

By listening to what my body and mind are naturally aligned to do, I’ve raised my productivity to it’s maximum potential.

Train your body and your mind will follow

In 2008 I’ve wrote an article that showed how I used my bodybuilding training to increase my productivity. Now I realize that my productivity increased because my self-discipline also increased.

This works with any exercise that you love. The main thing that you must do is to force yourself to go beyond your pain threshold. When you practice this ability everyday you’ll learn how to use it outside the gym! You’ll learn how to control that inner voice that says, while you’re training: “Hey! Why are you running for so long? Isn’t 10 minutes enough?” or “Why are you trying to do 20 repetitions? Aren’t 15 enough?”. It’s the same inner voice that says, while you’re working: “Why are you working so hard? Take a break. You deserve it!”

The great athlete Muhammad Ali answered the following when asked about how many repetitions he did for his abs:
Muhammad Ali on self-discipline
“Don’t know – I only start counting when it starts hurting”.

If you think about it, to reach anything worthwhile you need to go beyond your own boundaries and grow! Growth comes with one price: pain. It’s you choice to avoid it or embrace it. Remember that those who go where no one else dared to go before are the one we call leaders!

Is there a greater glory destined to men, when you find your inner strength and courage to never quit even in the face of great adversity? That’s why I love so much this quote from the movie 300.

King Leonidas: Spartans! Prepare for glory!
Daxos: Glory? Have you gone mad? There is no glory to be had now! Only retreat, or surrender or death!
King Leonidas: Well, that’s an easy choice for us, Arcadian! Spartans never retreat! Spartans never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every Greek assembled know the truth of this. Let each among them search his own soul. And while you’re at it, search your own.
See the video of the speech

What about you?

This is The Rabbit Way but I want to hear about YOUR ways!

What are YOUR methods to improve your self-discipline? What works and what doesn’t work for you?

Do you know a Master of Self-discipline? Invite them to this post to share their insight!

P.S: Techcrunch.com has a great article about the power of habits called “Hooking users in 3 steps” where they talk about a method called Habit Testing designed to create addictive experiences.

  • http://twitter.com/gingerconsult Jen Olney

     Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard – that quote is very true. For me, I believe self-discipline takes practice and has to be a habit that is formed out our ability to change our patterns. We have to create the ability to be mindful of our process and motivation over a period of time. If we keep our focus on how we wish to perform certain tasks, we will form the discipline it takes to create the habit that we wish to have and keep ourselves on track. Eliminating negative thoughts, distractions is also another way to keep ourselves focused. I discipline myself by not allowing to fall prey to these traps. If I know I’m going to get off track when I’m in the writing process, I just stop what I’m doing and take a break, get focused back on the work at hand, and I’m back in the zone. It takes practice and motivation to create the discipline for ourselves. Great post, Bruno. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/bcoelho2000 Bruno Coelho

    Thank you Jen for taking the time to comment and sharing how you keep your focus on your writing process! 
    I believe that you’re absolutely right: discipline is an habit. The great news about this is that everyone can become better at it.
    See you at #BeALeader :)

  • http://raylifeweb.blogspot.com/ Raylife

    Is it self discipline or sustained motivation. I think self-discipline is a Myth, because it is induced motivation which helped me act in spite of my awful mood.

  • http://twitter.com/bcoelho2000 Bruno Coelho

    Hi Ray! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your view on this important subject. Would love to hear more about the concept of induced motivation. Are you talking about NLP?

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