“To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.” ~ Steven Pressfield
You’ve found this article, so you have it. Ambition, that is, and it’s something that you shouldn’t dare waste, yet that’s what most of us do.
That’s what I did for years.
I had big dreams, goals, and the energy that comes from a strong desire to accomplish something grand, even if this grand quest is daily self-improvement.
Year after year, however, I was far from where I wanted to be.
That’s the thing with ambition, it’s always growing. It never stops. When you accomplish something big, your sights are immediately set on something bigger. Which is why I keep journals. I write in them religiously and I actually review them.
About a month ago, I was going through an older journal, one where I was describing my ideal day and life. As I read the words that the younger me had written I saw some powerful similarities between what I was describing back then, and the life I have now.
Okay, it’s more than just similarities…
A few years ago, before my thirtieth birthday, I bought a wonderful house with a porch and porch swing and a good backyard. It has a custom, wood office, lined with book shelves and a wood-burning fireplace.
Six months before I bought the house I got back from a 3 month trip, and I brought back a dogo Argentino, a dog I’ve always wanted. Now, Teddy (the pup) and I live in this wonderful house. I’ve got a great new pick-up truck in the driveway too.
All of this, to the detail, is in the description of my then ‘ideal life’ that I’d written years earlier.
But it goes deeper…
I wake up every day, early, and do work that I love.
I walk the pup in a provincial park that’s 30 seconds from my house where I see deer in the woods and fields every day.
The pace of the day is one that I’d always wanted.
But again, it goes deeper.
I fish every week (something that I didn’t do 10 years ago when I wrote this ideal day). I shoot shotguns, I get out hunting every season, I hike and camp. And again, when I wrote this ideal day I didn’t do any of that.
I wanted to. I wanted to earn more, live more, and experience more, but back when I wrote that ideal day, and for years before that, there was something that was lacking from my life that prevented me from creating this life a lot earlier, and that thing is discipline.
Had I discovered the power of discipline, how to use it to shape my thoughts and actions, my habits and routines, I’d be living in my dream house by now, on acres of land and I’d be reaching a hell of a lot more people than I am now.
THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS IS DISCIPLINE
There are truths in life that we cannot ignore. The fact that discipline – in one or all of its many forms or nuances – is necessary for success of any kind cannot be disputed.
Discipline, however, is becoming a lost art.
Never before have distractions and excuses been more rampant, and they’re easy to fall into, and even easier to become habitual, ripping any chance of the accomplishment you desire so dearly from your story.
Five years ago or so I found myself wallowing in self-pity.
I didn’t like where I was, who I was acting like, or what I was accomplishing.
I genuinely see life as a gift, and one that cannot be wasted in idleness or laziness. That, to me, is a profound sin. So few get the opportunities we get, even reading this on a computer or being alive at the age you are is a gift.
The talents you’re blessed with are gifts that have to be developed, to waste them is a tragedy.
Thankfully, at this down point in my life, I saw that it was my fault.
It wasn’t a lack of talent. I wasn’t failing because I wasn’t helped enough or because I didn’t have the right mentor or a mentor at all or that I didn’t get the right breaks in life.
I was failing because I lacked discipline.
But this discipline wasn’t confined to my habits and routines.
I lacked discipline in how I thought. I knew through reading history, reading about the life of men like Napoleon, James Cook, Theodore Roosevelt and so on and so forth, that discipline helped every man who accomplished anything of value, achieve what they desired…
…And here’s the kicker…
In every historical example I’ve ever studied, discipline helped these great figures in history achieve more than they ever thought possible.
I realized that if I actually wanted to improve and achieve more and live a better, more grand and audacious life, that I would have to understand discipline far more profoundly, deeply, and intimately.
I needed to study it.
I understood that having better habits was at the core of the discipline I needed to adopt, but I also saw that it was deeper than that.
I grew up in a generation that, largely, felt entitled to that which they did not earn, a trend that has only gotten worse.
We carry more debt than ever before. We buy without being able to afford it, and we spend money on things not for our own peace or power, but because of how we think others will see us.
We lack discipline in every aspect of our lives, not just our habits.
And so, I set out to study discipline, not so I can become a monk, a man who sits and thinks and hums, but so that I could gain the freedom that discipline brings…
The freedom to accomplish what I so dearly want to accomplish…
The freedom to be able to live a more adventurous life, both from developing the courage to do so, the physical conditioning to be able to endure what adventure actually entails, and the financial freedom to be able to afford the journeys I want to embark upon…
Also the freedom to have peace, knowing that my work is done well, and I can exist where I am not on some screen in my hand or envying the life that someone else is living.
Five years after I set out to do this, everything I learned about discipline that has helped me go from an envious, stressed out guy who was failing in a very subtle and boring fashion, a guy who was sliding into a life of mediocrity, to traveling the world, to Africa, South America, and Europe for months at a time, experiencing everything that they had to offer and coming back from every journey with more money than when I left.
A guy who couldn’t focus, couldn’t appreciate what he had, to a fella who just does what needs to get done, but it isn’t accidental.
Discipline demands strategy, and everything I’ve learned about this powerful tool is found in my new book, the Lost Art of Discipline…
Discipline is the necessary path to everything you want in life.
And I know you may not believe that.
In the book I go through examples from history of men who’ve used discipline to rise from slavery to wealth, from being conquered to conquering, from being born poor and average to rising to status that didn’t happen when classes were pre-ordained.
All of this because of discipline.
Discipline can make a poor man rich and a lack of it can make a rich man poor.
Please, get my new book for free, and let’s start bringing back discipline and living the free and powerful lives that we’re put here to live.
Get after it brother.