The four “Ds”
You can’t be successful without discipline, determination, dedication and drive. There will be long stretches of life you’ll need to navigate that will require all of these. It’s just that simple. If you want to overcome obstacles, be the best you can be and reach your goals, you must have the “four Ds.” And guess what; there’s no easy way to develop them. It takes hard work. It takes blood, sweat and tears. It takes time. So, let’s take a look at discipline first? Why is discipline so special? It’s the core of everything good. It’s what enables you to push away excuses and eliminate laziness. Discipline allows you to push on when your body and mind are screaming for you to quit. Discipline starts with training your mind to ignore discomfort, embrace the suck and move forward. Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.
External and internal
Please don’t conflate external discipline with internal discipline/self-discipline. External discipline is forced on you by someone else. It won’t last. In fact, it will probably melt away as soon as that person is out of your life. Internal discipline, on the other hand, is strong because it comes from within. It comes from you. Internal discipline is what makes you get up and go. It makes you willing to take the risk, get your ass in gear and take action. It’s what enables you to ignore that inner voice that’s telling you to quit. Discipline will enable you to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at you. As a famous American football coach (Vince Lombardi) said, “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”
Performing at maximum ability
Determination is forged in your mindset. It enables you to ignore pain, doubt and other distractions and keep performing to your maximum ability. It allows you to embrace suffering. It allows you to cope with and control anxiety. It enables you to stay positive and focused when situations seem hopeless. It enables you to use adversity to overcome obstacles and power your ambition. Determination is a combination of resolve, persistence, grit and resolution. It’s your long-term commitment to achieving a goal. Determination allows you to keep on keeping on and put more time on task.
Practice, practice, practice
Dedication involves commitment, devotion and allegiance. It’s what allows you to keep practicing a skill over and over. It’s knowing that not all practice makes perfect, but only perfect practice makes perfect! It’s knowing that whatever you want to achieve in life won’t happen by standing still and waiting for success to knock on your door. It’s knowing you must break down your journey on the path of most resistance into small, bite-sized chunks.
Drive is an urge, desire and need to attain a goal. It’s the ability to identify micro-goals and convert them into macro-goals and keep moving forward no matter what. It’s the ability to adapt and keep learning. It’s an inner fire that propels you forward because not trying is simply not an option. Drive is the motivation behind your habits. It’s a belief that you can achieve something extraordinary through your efforts. Drive is what allows you to be afraid yet move forward anyway. It’s what tells you it’s OK to be afraid. After all, fear is a fantastic motivator. Drive tells you it’s what you do with your fear that makes the difference.
Set free the adventurer
Combining the four “Ds” will empower you to reach out for and achieve your goals as you move forward on your voyage of curiosity along life’s path. The four “Ds” will set free the adventurer in you and allow you to steer your own ship. Heed the famous quote (often misattributed to Mark Twain), “Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off your bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Try to get a little better today, tomorrow and the next day. Then repeat, repeat and repeat. If you do this, you’ll find few boundaries you can’t push past and fewer goals that remain out of your reach on the path of most resistance. Indeed, it’s the lucky person who can say that he or she gave their all, pushed themselves to their full potential and accomplished most of what they set out to do because that individual will have lived a full life.