I tend to get a bout of inspiration, work like a mad man, then burn out.
I also get down about where I am in comparison to where I want to be.
Neither are good.
Let’s be real, we’re not here – and ‘here’ is earth – to merely exist. We want something more, to matter, to be of value, to even become ‘great’ at something.
When we set goals and when we dream – be it at night or in the day – we’re never average. There’s no mediocrity in our dreams. We are the creators of the Sistine Chapel, the conquerors of new lands, the men who sacked Rome or the men who expanded it.
I absolutely love reading about history, mainly historical figures who’ve left an imprint on this planet. Men who’ve done great things – be they good or bad, in the end – have similarities in their stories.
When you study Da Vinci, you realize that the Last Supper, his first masterpiece, came only after decades of failure.
When you study Michelangelo you understand the effort and pain and time he put into each one of his works.
When you study Napoleon you learn about his discipline, how he would study while other men would drink and philander. His mistresses were his books, not loose women.
Our current view of obtaining success is horribly wrong. It’s ignorant. We’ve become a society that praises youth. We’re the first of our kind. It’s marketing. When you hook a buyer early in their purchasing life, you can have them for life. So marketers prey on the ignorant. They glorify youth, make our young feel special, as if they’ve earned something.
As a result, we expect success within a year or two of embarking upon our quest.
We expect fame and praise and wealth without spending the decades that it should entail.
It’s not incredibly difficult to make money. To become great at something, however, is. It takes years, not months of discipline. It requires that you play the long game, the life-long game of early mornings, work while others play, meticulous study and out of the box thinking that can only come from learning the rules, understanding them deeply, perfecting them, and then breaking them.
I have to remember this often, that what I want isn’t at the end of a 2 year or 3 year or 10 year quest, but often at the end of a decade-long singular pursuit.
The Lost Art of Discipline teaches this long game.
It isn’t what you can do that gets you what you want, but what you do every day.
It isn’t who you can be that will get you to live the life you dream about living, but who you are daily.
It’s your habits. It isn’t some grand action, a masterpiece you create on your first day on the job, but the little things, the study, the discipline.
It’s who you are when no one is watching that will create who you dream about becoming.
Be that guy.