“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.”—Roy L. Smith
Discipline—it’s the most important resource to have in life. Beyond money, skills, or connections, discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability. When you have discipline, you can create an extraordinary life, build a colossal business, and achieve any goal you set your mind on.
No matter who you are or what walk of life you come from, discipline is the bridge that will take you to the island of your dreams. However, what Roy L. Smith likely would say to you if he were still alive would be that while discipline is the refining fire, belief are the underlying coals.
Because, without belief in yourself, it’s near-impossible to turn your talent into ability. When you lack belief, you fail to pursue your dreams. You stagnate and sit idly while life passes you by, too afraid to take a chance and put things on the line.
Too many people discount the importance of discipline, allowing their bad habits to take control and lead them into negative spirals in life. It’s so easy to let this happen. Habits are 95% of what you do. And they have enormous power over us.
How To Increase Your Discipline
Discipline is a learned behavior, but it can also be depleted if you’re not careful. It’s easy to be disciplined to a certain point, right? For example, you go on a diet and you avoid that chocolate cake for a while. Then, something happens that knocks you off-kilter and you cave.
You can see the examples of this clearly when it comes to addiction. The trouble is that until things get really bad, it’s hard to change course. That’s because habits are very powerful. Not only is it 95% of everything you think, say and do, but it’s also non-conscious behavior.
The non-conscious mind is one million times more powerful than the conscious mind. No joke. The conscious mind processes environmental data at 40 bits per second. The non-conscious mind does it at 40 million bits per second.
So it’s like trying to swim backwards from edge of Niagara Falls. It’s incredibly difficult to do. However, creating discipline is not an impossible feat once you learn some of the strategies and tactics behind how the human mind works.
Working Hard To Create Discipline Versus Working Smart
We’ve been told our entire lives that we need to work hard and hustle. So we go out there, get a good job, launch a business, or go for that degree that we know will move the needle. We toil relentlessly, burn the midnight oil, but still struggle to achieve our goals.
Eventually, our discipline wears off. And like any other muscle, it weakens when it’s not used. What happens next is that familiar feeling of frustration sets in and you realize you’re working hard for nothing. And after a while, you throw in that proverbial towel and give up.
As time passes, you look back with regret. You wonder what would have or could have happened had you kept going, right? If you’ve ever felt this way, I assure you it’s natural. It’s because working hard to build discipline is not enough. You must work smart.
I believe that’s what Roy L. Smith meant when he said that discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability. Note that he said refining, which means that you bring something to its purest state. Discipline, at its purest state, is effortless. But life itself is what creates the impurities.
So you must work smart to create discipline. Working hard is not enough. You’ve been doing that your entire life and now it’s time to change things up. You can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result, right?
Step 1—Gain Clarity
The first step for creating rock-solid self-discipline is to gain clarity. If you’re not clear on where you’re going, how difficult do you think it’ll be to remain disciplined? Your journey will take you in many directions unless you get hyper-clear about what you want.
What does this mean? Simple. You need to set clear expectations for your life. In other words, you must set your goals the right way. If you avoid doing this or fail to do it on paper and follow proven processes, then you’ll continue to feel frustrated.
Discipline cannot be created without clarity. Plain and simple. Gain clarity by setting empowering goals and you’ll find yourself moving in the right direction instead of giving up. Big goals take a lot of discipline, but without setting them the right way, you can forget about ever achieving them.
Step 2—Eliminate Bad Habits
Bad habits have gotten in the way many times in my life. They’ve sent me on one tangent after another. They have not served me at all. Instead, they’ve held me back. But the hard part is actually getting rid of those bad habits. How do you do it?
Look, there’s no magic pill you can swallow to do this. Bad habits are powerful because they’re non-conscious. Meaning, they’re automatic and done on autopilot. The only way to really get rid of a bad habit fast is to create enough self-awareness to do so.
That involves admitting that there’s a problem. Because, after all, if you’re not honest with yourself, how can you possibly ever get rid of a bad habit? It won’t happen. And when you do try, you’ll face plenty of friction. There’s a proven process to follow.
Step 3—Find A Coach Or A Mentor
It’s hard enough to accomplish things on your own when you have so much going on. But most people fail to find a mentor or hire a coach because they think it’s too expensive. That’s a scarcity mindset. And I can assure you that this is one of the surest paths forward.
Getting a coach or a mentor, or even joining a mastermind, is an investment in yourself and in your business. It’s so much easier to have someone help guide you towards your goals who’s already been there and achieved the level of success you’re after.
If you want to turn your talent into ability, discipline is the refining fire, but a coach is the person who will help guide you in the right direction. Why do you think people hire fitness trainers to get in shape or sales trainers to help them make more sales? They help provide skill and knowledge so that we don’t get frustrated and give up along the way.
Step 4—Guard Your Time Like A Hawk
Your time is insanely precious. So you must guard it with your life. Become a steward of your time. Don’t waste it. Instead, invest your time wisely into the things that count. I know this is hard to do. But if you’re serious about creating your dream life, you must follow this credo.
Find a good system for managing your time and follow it astutely. Don’t indulge in time-wasters. Rather, invest your time into places that will pay back dividends. It takes real discipline to do this. But there are many ways to better manage your time. You just have to pick the ones that are right for you.
Remember that time is your most precious resource. There’s no way to get more of it. Once you use the time you have, it’s gone forever. So you must use it wisely. As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is where you finish. And that’s done by guarding your time like a hawk.
Step 5—You Are What You Eat
The reason why some people lack the energy to create real discipline is because they eat foods that destroy their energy levels. Understand that 5% to 15% of your energy is consumed through food digestion alone. And depending on what you eat or drink, it could be far greater.
For example, alcohol takes an immense amount of energy to digest. So do certain proteins. If you’re eating heavy-caloric meals that are difficult to digest, you will feel lethargic. And when you feel lethargic, it’s hard to create the discipline to do the things that matter in the little time you have.
Eat raw foods, healthy fats and lean meats. Reduce the amount of toxins that you put into your body and watch how your energy levels skyrocket. If you have to reset your body, consider doing the master cleanse. Remember, you literally are what you eat. Your body is converting those foods into energy. So be wary of what you consume.
Step 6—Avoid The Opinions Of Others
When Roy L. Smith talked about discipline being the refining fire by which talent is turned into ability, surely he took this into account—namely that you must ignore the opinions of others. While you work to turn your talents into abilities, you will face friction, both internally and externally.
You’ll be told to quit, give up, and that you don’t have a chance to create the life of your dreams. They’ll tell you to stop dreaming big and get realistic with your life. You must ignore these naysayers like the plague because they will zap you of your zeal and enthusiasm for life.
To build real discipline takes time, and so does creating your dream life. Don’t be afraid to dream big. But don’t just dream. Go out there and fight for your dream life. It won’t just magically come to you. You must take action and invest in yourself for it to happen.