“Time is God’s way to keep everything from happening at once” — George Carlin

I believe that the most critical factor to individual success is the highly developed sense of discipline. It enables one to generate an enormous amount of valuable results, to get the necessary work done,to maintain one’s self-esteem and the sense of well-being.

When I started in solo consulting, many people told me that they wouldn’t be able to work on their own because they’d spend days looking out the window, playing with their dog and browsing the Internet. We see this often enough in organizations too. Despite the structure and discipline that corporate life imposes, whole department keep themselves busy by working on tasks that have no value.

In IT, as an example, you will routinely find great redundancies that have been instituted to “service the internal clients better” – the many layers of project and portfolio managers, reporting analysts turning up heaps of reports with performance metrics that no one cares about, and enforcers of procedures.

Success in life and in business is defined by results of one’s work, not by the tasks one performs.  The sense of discipline enables talented individuals to channel their energy to achieving these results, away from the “tasks” that have marginal, if any value. 

Personally, I understood this early in the game and it has made a world of difference in my life and work.