Why you need both of these for success

I know many of us are in search for happiness and success.  The question is how do you get both.  There is a quote that sums it up best by one of my favorite authors Dale Carnegie:  “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”  So how do we get what we want and like what we get?

We all must learn two things:  Self-Discipline and Self-Control.  If you are like me, I have used these two terms interchangeably for all of my life.  I have recently studied the difference between the two, thanks to my new mentor Marshall Goldsmith.

Mr. Goldsmith says it this way in his book Triggers: “Creating behavior that lasts; Becoming the person you want to be.” Click on this link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Triggers-Creating-Behavior-Lasts–Becoming-Person/dp/0804141231/

Self-discipline: Achieving desirable behavior.  When we are disciplined we do what it takes to be successful and happy.  We commit to things that will allow us to have both.  Things such as working out everyday, making time for friends, making sure we leave the office at a certain time everyday, etc.  These are tasks that we commit to repeating over and over.  We are displaying discipline.

Self-control: Avoiding undesirable behaviors.  This is when we deny ourselves of things we enjoy.  Such things could be drinking alcohol, eating dessert, speaking up when we should be quiet, making a comment that doesn’t add value.

Typically we are good at one or the other.  We have a bias to one or the other.  I can speak for myself.

I am a very disciplined person when it comes to working out.  I just get up and do it.  I very seldom miss more than a day at best, that is even if I do miss a day.  As I am typing out this blog, I am thinking about other areas of my life that I am very disciplined in.  Things such as writing, reading, eating breakfast, etc.

Now on the flip side, I am thinking of areas where I may lack self-control.  Without being too transparent here, but there are times where I may have one to many drinks.  I may eat dessert, I may spend more than I should on a particular item, or over a long weekend.

So without a doubt I can say for me that I have a stronger preference to self-discipline  than I do to self-control.

Now that I know this, what can I do to work on my self-control weakness.  I say weakness in comparison to my stronger preference to self-discipline.

To work on this I am going to start holding myself more accountable to areas where I lack self-control. I am going to create some environmental changes and accountability metrics that force me to have more self-control in the areas where I tend to not have self-control.

In Marshall’s book he provides a lot of resources to assist us in this process.  In two weeks, I will become a certified coach in these processes. I look forward to possibly working with you if you desire.  We can pursue these endeavors together.

Which one do you have a bias towards, self-discipline or self-control?  How can you focus some efforts to develop the weaker one of the two?

To your success and your future.




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