How self-discipline shapes success

Discipline is the difference between winning and losing; and success or failure. You must have discipline to reach your goals and dreams. Without a consistent internal barometer and accountability, most of us tend to do very little. We take the easy way out or short cuts, which rarely lead to success.

I can tell when I’m slacking, because my soul feels like it has been eating Skittles instead of Clif bars. I’m mentally sluggish and have difficulty focusing on where I want to go and how I’m going to get there.

However, in a warped way, being able to tell when you’re off course is the first way of getting back on the right path.

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves. Self-discipline with all of them came first.” ~ Harry S. Truman

Discipline is an inside job. While it is true that having external boundaries can help mold and shape individuals, ultimately, it is the decision of each of us to carry out what we know in our hearts to be right for ourselves.

It’s true: we do have to live with ourselves. If our actions cause others pain or annoyance, they can and may leave our lives. Friends, partners, teachers, bosses, spouses – all of them can cycle in and out of our existence. We are the only people who will be with us the entire time.

What can we do to build a satisfying and productive life? Discipline.

“No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.” ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

How do begin to build? How do you harness, mold and focus your energies? Over the course of the next three blog posts, we’ll explore the following in greater detail, but for now here are the essentials:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Like who you are.
  3. Respect yourself in others.

The paradox is that by investing and building in oneself, others benefit. There is a difference between selfish and self care. Learning how to invest in ourselves and understanding how to direct intent can influence outcomes. Together, we’ll explore how discipline contributes to the foundation of a life well lived.

As an exercise, think back to a time in your life where you achieved a goal, mastered a skill or succeeded. What were the steps you took to get there? Can you recall the arc of the journey (ie. immersion, frustration, acceptance, practice and proficiency)? As you go about your days over the next week, allow your brain to sift those questions. Scribble down your thoughts or otherwise record your answers as they float to the surface. They will help you grow and develop new habits.

Recognizing these thoughts are the first step in self-discipline!


Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive)


  1. lynn says

    I would submit two books for study. ‘Purpose Driven Life’ ~ ‘Rick Warren and Living on Purpose’ ` Dan Millman

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