Recently I had a chance to read Brian Tracy's No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline and I have to say, without any hesitation, that this book is a must-read. As I was reading it, I realized that page after page was filled with insights that applied to my life in so many ways. So many of the topics I like to write about and talk about on Positively Present were covered in this book. I had no idea this would be the case, as I was expecting the book to be completely about self-discipline. And it was -- but I learned that self-discipline (something I'd love to be better at but can't say is my strong suit) actually has to do with so many more aspects of life than we realize. In Tracy's book, he argues the point that, in order to succeed in life, you need self-discipline. Not money, not amazing luck -- self-discipline. The book shows readers why this is true (and after reading it, I really do believe it is!) and also how you can achieve personal success, business success, and overall happiness by mastering self-discipline. There are 21 chapters about self-discipline in the book -- on topics ranging from responsibility to leadership to marriage to courage -- and all of them taught me something new about the concept of self-discipline and how it can be applied to my life.
As I was sitting on the couch, reading the book, I kept reaching for my pen, underlining and underlining the parts that applied to me and that I found interesting. At some point -- about half-way through the book -- I put the pen down because I realized I would just be underlining every other line if I kept noting all of the things that interested me. Today I'm going to share some of my favorite insights from the book here, though, as I said, these are only a few of the many, many useful nuggets of information found in the book. If you're looking for a self-help book of any kind or if you're looking to make some changes in your life but don't know how, this is the book for you. Check out some of the quotes below and keep in mind the the book is filled with wisdom -- and absolutely worth a read.
Words of Wisdom from Brian Tracy
"Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. It is the magic quality that opens all doors for you and makes everything else possible. With self-discipline, the average person can rise as far and as fast as his talents and intelligence can take him [or her]. But without self-discipline, a person with every blessing or background, education, and opportunity will seldom rise above mediocrity."
"Success is possible only when you can master your own emotions, appetites, and inclinations. People who lack the ability to master their appetites become weak and dissolute... Your ability to control your actions, control what you say and do, and ensure that your behaviors are consistent with your long-term goals and objectives is the mark of the superior person."
"Successful, happy people are concerned with the positive, long-term consequences of their behaviors, whereas unsuccessful people are more concerned with personal enjoyment and immediate satisfaction."
"The more you practice self-discipline, the better your self-image. You see yourself and think about yourself in a more positive way. You feel happier and more powerful as a person."
"Success is possible only when you can overcome the natural tendency to cut corners and take the easy way. Lasting success is possible only when you can discipline yourself to work hard for a long, long time."
"Wisdom can be developed in private, through study and reflection, but character can be developed only in the give and take of daily life, when you are forced to choose and decide among alternatives and temptations."
“People always tend to behave on the outside consistently with the way they see themselves on the inside... When you see yourself as calm, positive, truthful, and possessed of high character, you behave with greater strength and personal power.”
"Accepting responsibility is one of the hardest of all disciplines, but without it, no success is possible. The failure to accept responsibility and the attempt to foist responsibility for things in your life that make you unhappy onto other people, institutions, and situations completely distort cause and effect, undermine your character, weaken your resolve, and diminish your humanity. They lead to making endless excuses."
"The good news is that, at any time, you can stop thinking about, discussing, and rehashing the past. You can let it go and begin thinking about your goals and your unlimited future."
"The very act of taking the time to decide what you really want in each area of your life can change your life completely." (Tracy provides an awesome 7-Step Method for Achieving Goals too!)
"Your thoughts create the conditions of your life. When you change your thinking, you change your life. Your outer world becomes a mirror-image reflection of your inner world."
"You have to make a firm, unequivocal decision that you are going to pay any price and go any distance in order to achieve the goals you have set for yourself."
The quotes above are only a few of the words from the pages and pages of insights that are in Brian Tracy's book. It truly is a great place to find wisdom on how you can change or improve almost any (and every!) aspect of your life. Toward the beginning of the book, Tracy writes, "Your success in life depends more on the person you become than on the things you do or acquire. As Aristotle wrote, 'The ultimate end of life is the development of character.' In these chapters, you will learn how to develop and use discipline in order to become an excellent person. You will learn how to develop greater self-esteem, self-respect, and personal pride." After finishing the book and writing this post, I reflected back on Tracy's words and realized that he is right: Self-discipline really does lead to a more positive life and a better acceptance and tolerance of one's self. That being said, I leave you with this question to ponder...
Tracy argues that self-discipline makes people think of themselves more positively,
but do you think all forms of self-discipline are positive?
Is there a line that can be crossed when self-discipline turns from a positive force
in one's life to a negative (perhaps obsessive...) one?