The importance of Discipline and Drive

This post is meant to be a reminder and “sharpen the sword” type piece for myself. If you get value from it, that’s awesome. If not I apologize for wasting your time with statement of the obvious.

I have always wanted to know how successful people are different from others. I define successful people at a very broad level. I would call Michael Phelps a superhero, beyond successful. I derive immense inspiration (for both software and startups) from him. I have read close to 120 different articles and news mentions after his 8th gold medal win. What I gathered about his success, was 2 defining characteristics:

1. Drive (passion, intense obsession) and setting goals: He lives, breathes and dreams swimming. I know this is a very abused term now (especially passion) and finding one’s passion is very difficult. A few lucky ones either stumble into it or have an innate sense of what’s in store for them. For the rest of us its what we enjoy doing. The goal setting process is the difficult one. Translating the passion into tangible, measurable milestones is very hard for a startup. Empty goals like make a million dollars in revenue or the new favorite – “make users happy” is easy to state and very hard to accomplish.

2. Discipline: Seth talked about patience, a few days ago, but its more than just being patient. Its having the discipline to “keep at it”. Day in, day out. Endlessly, consistently and without fail. Showing up to make 10 calls, making those calls, handling the nos with aplomb and still showing up the next day to make a fresh set of new 10 calls with a revised pitch.

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