Everyone wants to know:
“How can I be successful?”
“What do I need to do to be the best at what I do?”
“How do I get an edge to beat our my competition?”
What’s the answer? Well, there’s an entire industry built on telling you the answer. There are so many resources available to answer your questions.
The list is endless. There are many more I’ve included in my Reading List, check them out HERE. Or check out the 2,275 books that come up in Amazon when you search “How to be successful” HERE.
But it doesn’t matter how much you know or how much you’ve read if you don’t act. There are many things that you need to do and things that need to come together for you to be successful, but I know that one thing you need to be successful is discipline. Today I have been thinking about something I call Alarm Clock Discipline.
The more I read, the more I see thoughts and ideas overlapping with different authors. Recently I’ve had three different resources that have made me think about this topic.
In October I wrote a post about The Slight Edge. In that post I wrote:
Out of all the great things that I have learned from this book, there is one concept that stands out more than the others. “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they are also just as easy not to do.” This concept is hit on throughout the book. It’s the simple, little habits that you do every day that lead to success. The simple, little habits that are easy to do, but just as easy not to do. This phrase runs through my head every single morning now if I want it to or not. I set my alarm for 5am. When it goes off I have two choices. I can slide out of bed, put on my running shoes and go for my morning run. Or I can hit the snooze button, curl up in bed and fall back asleep. I’ve really done both quite a few times in my life. I’m pretty disciplined so getting up early to run or workout usually isn’t a big deal. But I’m not as disciplined in going to bed at a good hour. So some mornings when the alarm goes off at 5am and I’ve only been in bed for a few hours it’s pretty easy to justify skipping the workout that morning and usually hitting the snooze two or three more times after that. But now each morning when my alarm goes off, before I have the opportunity to realize how tired I am, the words, “Easy to do. Easy not to do.” are running through my head. That’s motivation enough to get me going.
Jeff talks about the “little things” a lot. If I hit the snooze and skip my run it likely isn’t going to kill me or have a drastic impact on my health. But the compound effect is always working. It’s either working for us or against us. So as I get out of bed for my workout those actions are compounding with all the other times I take those positive actions. That one workout might not have much of an impact on my health, but compounding them all together will. Just like when I hit the snooze, that action compounds with all the other times I take those actions and works against me.
Basketball is a big part of life in our family and Alarm Clock Discipline is a big deal when we are getting teenagers up at 5:00am for a workout. As would be expected with kids, some days are easier than others, but over the past five years I’m proud to say that Tia and Daxon have put hundreds of hours into working on their game before most kids their age would even consider being out of bed.
I recently sent them the following video to watch from PGS Basketball: 5 Ways to Build Mental Toughness.
Number one on the list: Wake Up Early & Get Out of Bed
I love in this video when he says that by “hitting snooze you are giving into your feelings. When you give into your feelings you will never be special at anything.”
I don’t care if you do or don’t like the sport of basketball. Take five minutes to watch this video, it’s worth your time.
The most recent resource that got me thinking about this topic again was a book that I just finished by Jacko Willing and Leif Babin. The book is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win
In the book they say that discipline starts every day when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. The moment the alarm clock goes off is the first test and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is simple. When the alarm clock goes off do you get up out of bed or do you lie there in comfort and fall back asleep.
They go on the explain that if you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win, you pass the test. If you are mentally weak at that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, whichever decision you make will translate into more significant and substantial elements of your life.
My favorite quote in this book is, “Discipline is the difference between being good and being exceptional.”
How do you become successful? There are many answers to that question. But having Alarm Clock Discipline is a good place to start.