Monday, July 25, 2016

Dumb & Disciplined BEATS Smart & Lazy!

A little discipline goes a long way.

Am I allowed to use the word “dumb”? If you’re a regular reader it won’t surprise you. I’m known for keeping it real and getting a point across. Don’t worry, I would never call anyone “dumb”, but I will talk about many of the dumb decisions I’ve made across the years.

Last week I wrote about the leader’s biggest area of self-deception: Believing that if I know the right thing to do, then I’ll do it. Research destroys that myth! Doing the right thing takes energy, time, discipline and a higher level of commitment than doing nothing at all. Doing the right thing isn’t a matter of knowing what to do—it’s a matter of actually getting it done. Smart people know how to do it—but disciplined people accomplish the task! I recently discovered this outstanding research by reading Tim Elmore’s blog

Two very reputable PhD researchers studied a large group of students over a period of time. They tested them for smarts (IQ tests) and for several other skills, including self-discipline. They went a couple of steps further by getting input from family members and teachers to ensure their data was accurate. Here’s what they discovered: students with the exact same IQ varied drastically in their academic success. The disciplined students excelled versus the others.

But it gets better—those successful disciplined students started on their homework earlier in the day, then spent more time on the important stuff instead of mindless activities. And they had fewer sick days. (I’m certain that no one reading this blog ever took a sick day because they didn’t finish an assignment on time, right?).

Here’s the kicker, the big discovery that really convinced me . . . Self-discipline was the best predictor of grade improvements in the future—IQ was not!

So being smart does NOT mean that you’ll have a better future, but having discipline usually does. That research is awesome, because you can’t control your IQ, but you can control your effort towards self-discipline! When you do the work, you will reap the reward. The authors of the study concluded that we should teach students the benefits of self-discipline and short-term sacrifices for long-term gains.

Being smart does NOT mean that you’ll have a better future, but having discipline usually does.CLICK TO TWEET

Now for you. Dumb people don’t read blogs like LeaderTribe, so I’m going to treat you as a smart person. Are you smart and lazy or are you smart and disciplined? On a scale, with 1 being lazy and 10 being super disciplined, what’s your score? This will shock you, but I don’t really care what your answer is! But I care deeply about you choosing to improve your score by one number this next week. Moving your score up one notch would make it a worthwhile week for you and I’d consider this post a huge success! So how is that going to happen?

Former Marine, pilot, leader, and podcaster extraordinaire Richard Rierson taught me a great lesson when I was in his Mastermind group. He said, “Rob, you know that thing that you really need to do, that thing that you hate doing, that thing that you’ve been putting off? —Do that.”

The Bottom Line: Choose that activity for you. Pick an area where discipline has been nonexistent and go after it this week. This is your week!!! You are going to close The Knowing/Doing Gap. You know the right thing to do—now go do it! Prepare now by sending yourself an email with one or two things you need to do to prepare for success. Then do it—everyday—over and over. You can hit it head-on this week! Enjoy the fact that YOUR effort is going to move you up one number on the discipline scale.

If it doesn’t kill you, I’ll see you next week when we’ll see how laser-like focus helps our brain make us more disciplined. Let me know how you are going to rock it this week.


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