“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn
Years ago, I experienced an earth-shattering failure of epic proportions. I lost everything. And I mean, everything. Not only did I lose it all, I also lost all semblance of hope in life. I’m not quite sure where I found the strength to go on. I really felt like it was the end. But, somewhere, deep down inside, the flame of hope burned inside of me. But that in and of itself wasn’t enough to keep me moving forward.
Somewhere, in the deep fathoms of my mind, not only did I find the will to survive, but I also mustered up the energy to instill an enormous amount of self-discipline into my life. It was Jim Rohn who once said that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. And I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I couldn’t dig myself out of that deep hole without some serious discipline in my life.
Since then, things have turned around. And that’s no understatement. But rather than gloat on the accomplishments, I wanted to reflect on the past. I know that a lot of people turn to this site for inspiration. They turn it to when things look bleak or when they’re grappling with unprecedented failure in their lives. The question is, how do you turn it around when it seems like there’s no way to “save the day.”
Discipline can save your life
For me, it was a life or death scenario. And I don’t say that lightly. Without instilling discipline, and without some serious life-altering changes that I had to institute into my life, I likely wouldn’t be around. It was so bad, it pains me to even think back to that time. However, you realize something along the way when you’re dealing with failures of such catastrophic proportions. You realize that life is more about the journey than it is about the destination.
However, for a long time, I was obsessed with the destination. It was money and success and status above all else. That’s all I cared about. Not about contribution or adding value to the world, much like I care about today. No. Not even remotely close to that. I was plagued by shiny-object syndrome. Winning was my credo. And nothing else really seemed to matter to me. It hurts to say it, but it’s true.
Of course, I also feel that everything happens for a reason. Had it not been for that dark time, this site, which now reaches millions of people, would not have been born. In fact, it would have been more of the same for me. Now, I’m not saying that money and success and achieving big goals doesn’t matter. All I’m saying is that there is a rhyme and a reason for what you’re going through.
Through failure, I reached some serious understandings in life. I grew as a human. I matured. Came to new conclusions about love and humanity and the purpose that we’re put here on earth. I’m thankful to God for taking me through that darkness and bringing me out on the other side, whole and still in tact. But in all sincerity, God picked me up while discipline helped pave the way forward.
As I’m thinking back to the time when I locked myself up in a room for 6 months and wrote like the wind, I now realize that it was part of my journey. There was a purpose for those failures. As much as it hurt at the time and as much I was completely out of control and spiraling downward, it was discipline that saved my life. Without it, I would be cast out to sea during a turbulent storm and I definitely wouldn’t have found my way back.
The bridge between your goals and accomplishment
Discipline has played a major role in my life. It likely plays a major role in your life as well. Whether you’ve achieved big or small goals in the past, to get there, you needed discipline. Although you’ve had discipline in the past, you might lack it today. So how do you go about instilling discipline in your life, especially when things look so dark and bleak? The ability to turn this on and off like a stream of water could be the difference between true success and constant and never-ending failure.
I’ve thought a lot about this question. Especially recently as I’ve begun putting the finishing touches on a course called Discipline Secrets. While the word discipline is straightforward enough, actually instilling the right amount of discipline into your life is far more complex. There are so many moving parts and pieces to the success equation that it’s not a matter of just deciding and doing it.
Considering that a large part of human behavior is driven by our habits, there are things that can certainly hold us back. But as I’ve built out the content for the course, I’ve relayed some of the hacks and strategies that I’ve used to almost trick my mind into doing what bidding. It’s not too complex or convoluted. It just takes some serious focus and a bit of determination. However, it all starts with setting real and meaningful goals.
Now, when Jim Rohn said that discipline is the bridge between your goals and accomplishment, he zeroed in on something so important that has the power to shift and alter the state and quality of all our lives. It’s not just the matter of being disciplined for a short period. You have to wield that discipline for long periods if you want to accomplish big goals. Whether you want to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life, or make a million dollars, start a business, get a PhD or whatever it might be, discipline is the bridge that will take you to your accomplishments.
1. Set deep and meaningful goals
The first trick into instilling the right amount of discipline into your life is to go through and set goals the right way. If you set goals the wrong way, you’ll find yourself giving up. You have to go 7-layers deep. That’s something Joe Stump teaches. I met Stump while in Arizona with Dean Graziosi and Joe Polish at their 100k Group. But how do you actually do this 7-layers deep exercise?
Well, the point is that most goals start out in our minds. They are logical as to their purpose. We might think we want more money to buy a bigger house or a nicer car. But that’s not the reason. The real reason is in your heart. And if you can zero in on that reason, then you can achieve those monumental goals as long as those reasons are not superficial. You see, the real reason, the one that goes 7-layers deep, often has to do with love, freedom, contribution, security and the like.
Deep and meaningful goals are the ones that you will pull out all the stops for. They’re the goals that will help you avoid distractions in life. You can’t sincerely achieve very big goals in life if there isn’t something deep-rooted enough driving you. Yes, discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, but that bridge is impassable without a deep-rooted meaning to your goals.
2. Manage your time properly
It’s very easy to get distracted these days. There’s plenty to get in the way of our progress. We all know the prevalence of social media and our always-on, real-time society where we have to know what’s happening at every moment in the lives of others and in the world. Yes, instant communication is an effective tool that has substantially changed all of our lives. But it’s also very easy to get sucked into what’s going on with others and feel like you’re in a constant state of lack.
While there are plenty of time management tools out there for managing your time, including apps, the best one you can use is the quadrant time management system. If you really want to be efficient with your time, this is the system to use. However, you should really audit your time first. Where are you spending the bulk of it? Are you wasting the precious time that you have or are you expending it on those long-term goals you set?
Before I started managing my time using this system, I constantly felt lost. I constantly felt like I didn’t know the path forward. I dealt with the feeling of overwhelm and grappled with an overall uneasiness that was likely attributed to some major failures in life. But when I started to properly manage my time, everything changed. I no longer felt lost or confused or overwhelmed. There was real clarity and precision in my thinking.
3. Remove distractions
Is it possible to be disciplined while also indulging in distractions? Definitely not. While everything should be done in moderation, most of us are unable to moderate. In fact, most of us partake too deeply in distractions. But when you remove these things from your life, that’s when true progress occurs. Just look at any of the world’s most successful people. Rarely do they indulge in distractions.
They’re not distracted. They’re supremely focused. But if you have something taking your eye off the so-called prize, that’s when you begin to lose sight of things. It’s really easy to allow this to grow and fester and build momentum. It starts small then expands and eventually it becomes a problem. So how do you remove distractions from your life? Well, that’s easier said than done. But, when you have a deep-rooted meaning to your goals, you’ll do what it takes.
For example, I was never much of a partier. But I partied for roughly 5 years of my life. I allowed money to get to my head and it became a problem. When I failed, and everything came crashing down all around me, I decided I need to remove every possible distraction. That included all socializing, drinking, partying, going out late at night and so on. Since then, I haven’t looked back. And everything has literally changed.
4. Surround yourself with successful people
It’s funny. I never used to surround myself with successful people. In fact, I did the opposite. I surrounded myself with unsuccessful people. Probably so that I could feel better about my life. It was so I could feel better that I hadn’t accomplished some of those bigger goals or hadn’t made all the money I’ve ever wanted to. That was a big mistake. I had no one to look up to. I had no mentors who were truly successful nor any friends that were.
Today, that’s very different. The people that I surround myself with are wildly successful. In fact, they are some of the most successful people in the world. And I can’t tell you just how much that motivates and pushes me forward. There’s a saying that goes like this. You lay down with dogs and you come up with fleas. While those close to us think they’re helping us when they tell us we don’t have the money, skills, talent or resources to achieve our goals, it completely deadens the spirit.
That’s also a scarcity mindset. But when you move into a state of abundance, that’s when the real magic starts to happen. And there’s no better way to have an abundant mindset than to surround yourself with people who are living an abundant life. That doesn’t mean that you should only have rich friends. It just means that you should have friends who have big hopes and aspirations and are playing life on a higher level.
5. Deal with failure and setbacks the right way
One way that we lose sight of our discipline is when we fail or experience a major setback and we don’t get right back up and keep going. We fall off the proverbial bandwagon and it’s all downhill from there. Why is it that if we have a cheat day or we fail in some other capacity, that we can’t just keep going the next day? Momentum is a very powerful thing that we need to cope with and it can either work with us or against us.
However, Jim Rohn would likely tell you something similar. In fact, he would probably say that while discipline is the bridge between accomplishments, when that bridge erodes or needs repair, we shouldn’t try to find another road. We should stick to the bridge, repair it and use it to reach the so-called promise land of our hopes and dreams and accomplishments. So how do you cope when you’ve experienced a serious setback or a failure?
Staying disciplined in the face of failure is tough. That’s why you need deep-rooted meaning behind your goals. You also need a serious dose of inspiration. For me, I know that when I struggle with setbacks, I dig deep, search for audios, videos and any other material that can really inspire and motivate me to move forward. That’s really the trick. At the end of the day you really have to ask yourself how much you actually want something in life. If you want it badly enough, you’ll get it. If you don’t, you’ll just find a great excuse.