An essential ingredient to a lasting marriage is commitment; to a well-built house it’s a solid foundation; and to a healthy body it’s proper hygiene, a balanced diet, and exercise. I don’t think any of you have a problem in recognizing all these as essentials.

What’s the essential to success? Most of us, if not all, are in pursuit of success of some sort, whether it’s a high school diploma, a college or university degree, the establishment or growth of a business, the advancement of a career, or even the simple—but often difficult—task of balancing a budget.

Not knowing the essential ingredient makes it nigh on impossible to achieve success. You’d be like a builder not knowing about the need for a solid foundation, or a person seeking to build a lasting marriage without knowing the essential ingredient of commitment, imagining that all it takes is a little romance. Not knowing in these cases ends up in not doing, with failure as the result.

So what’s the ingredient essential to success? It’s discipline!!! Not discipline imposed from the outside, but self-discipline. It’s the ability to deny yourself—to keep your nose to the grindstone when others are having fun, stay the course when the going gets tough, resist self-indulgence so you can use your money, energy, and time in pursuit of your goal, keep the promises you made to yourself and others, and refuse to give up until the goal’s been reached. Difficult? Yes, it is, but to achieve the success you’re pursuing, that’s what has to be done. And now that you know the not-so-secret ingredient, I trust you’ll put it into practice.

Here are a few quotes from people who’ve walked the discipline road:

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.

—Jesse Owens, Olympic athlete

 

With faith, self-discipline, and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.

—Muhammad Ali Jinnah, lawyer, politician, and first Governor-General of Pakistan

 

Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.  —Proverbs 1:3

To learn, you must love discipline.  —Proverbs 12:1