5 Principles Only The Most Focused People On Earth Know

Discipline is the gateway to greatness. Let me help you open that door.

woman in sunglasses Adriana Marteva/ shutterstock

Discipline is a trait that everyone wants to build.

But what is discipline really?

  • It’s training your mind and body to do what you want them to do.
  • It’s keeping the promises you make to yourself.
  • It’s a way to stay focussed on the long-term goal you have and ignore your short-term desires.

RELATED: 5 Unsexy Signs You Have Impressively Powerful Discipline

In essence, it’s a powerful force that helps you drive toward greatness. But most people have no idea how to build and protect their discipline. I hope to change that with this article. Understanding these five principles will help you be much more disciplined. Let’s dive in.


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Here are 5 principles only the most focused people on Earth know:

1. They know they're not fully in control of their lives

Most people think they are 100% in control of their lives. But they aren’t. Here’s proof.

There was a study conducted in a hospital cafeteria.

  • Scenario one: For a few weeks in the cafeteria, soft drinks were both on the menu and on display in the refrigerator.
  • Scenario two: Then, for a few weeks, soft drinks were replaced with water bottles in the refrigerator, but they were still on the menu.

This is what they found. The sales of soft drinks dropped significantly in scenario two. This means the cafe manager had the power to influence a lot of people’s health choices without them even realizing it.


The point here is this: your environment influences your decisions much more than you think. Hence, if your environment goes against your discipline, it’s a constant war that you’re going to fight — some battles you may win, but some, you’re definitely going to lose.

Hence, the only way to truly win is to end the war altogether. Design your environment to support you.

  • Never have junk food in your kitchen. If it’s not there, you’re just not going to eat it.
  • Delete all or, at least, all but one subscription to OTT platforms.
  • Stop being roommates with the person who has eight beers a day.

2. They choose the enjoyable path, not the shortest path

Whatever your destination might be, there are many ways to reach it.

But here’s the mistake most people make.


Since they want super-fast results, they go for the shortest route. But they don’t like this route. However, they think they can push through — and this is not true for 98% of the people. They eventually quit the path — and the journey altogether.

A better alternative is to choose a path that may be a bit longer; however, it’s prettier. Choose the one that you’ll actually enjoy walking on. That’ll make your journey more sustainable and, paradoxically, get you results faster.

For instance, if you want to lose weight — quit the super-strict no junk food diet. Instead, choose a diet that allows for a little bit of indulgence here and there while still maintaining a caloric restriction. Choose the diet you can stick to for the longest.

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3. They train the people around them 

More often than not, people (especially people who are super close to you) can turn out to be distractions in your life.

And it’s not necessarily their fault.

Their goals, schedules, and work ethic cannot always align with yours. And hence, people will act as distractions in your life, and you in theirs.

Hence, it’s a good idea to try to train people around you to support your discipline, and not try to break it. For instance, people around Tim Denning know that they’re not supposed to call him on his writing days — which are two days a week.

When I read about it, I tried to do the same. In passing, I mentioned to my then-girlfriend that I’m gonna have two writing days in a week — and on those days, I’ll not use my phone at all. I didn’t specifically tell her not to call me. I just conveyed the importance of being distraction-free on those days.


And on those days, she never called me during the day. We talked only when the workday was over. And even when she forgot and called to ask me, "Hey, what’s up?" I’d say, "Oh, nothing. Just writing an article because it’s my writing day." She’d say, "Oh, yeah! Write away! Let’s talk in the evening."

It’s not manipulation. It’s just you conveying to the people around you the importance of your discipline. And it can be direct as well. For instance, I’ve told my mom never to cook unhealthy food when I’m visiting. And so she doesn’t.

4. They go easy on themselves 

There are two ways to go easy on yourself:

  • Number one: You make reasonable promises to yourself — but always keep them. "Boy! Going to the gym 6 days a week is turning out to be tiring. But well, I said I’ll go today, so I’ll go today. But from next week, I’ll try out a 4-day split."
  • Number two: You don’t keep the promises you make to yourself. "I know I said that I’ll go to the gym today, but it’s been a tiring day at work; it’s okay if I skip."

Get your head out of your a**. It’s not okay. It’s not okay at all.


In scenario one — you respect your word. In scenario two — your word turns out to be s***. Discipline is all about respecting the promises you make yourself.

Hence, if you want to go easy on yourself, make easier promises — but always keep them.

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5. They know their mind tries to break their discipline — and fight against that urge

Your reptile mind is the most cunning son of a gun ever.

It knows exactly how to break your discipline and turn you into a "wakes-up-in-the-afternoon-and-snacks-on-fried-chips-all-day" guy. Here’s how it does it.

Let’s say you’re waking up at 6 AM every day for a month now. It’s not like your brain’s suddenly suggesting that you wake up at 11 AM. You won’t entertain that! So what it does is make a request that you will say yes to.


At 6 AM, it will say, "Let’s just sleep for five more harmless minutes."

And you think, "Well, it’s just five minutes. It does seem harmless."

And it does this again and again. And you say yes because you think these micro-requests to break your discipline are benign and harmless. However, they are anything but harmless.

Because over time, these keep hammering at your discipline until one day, it breaks wide open — and you find yourself waking up at 11.

That’s why you need to stay vigilant of these micro-seemingly-harmless requests to break your discipline. They’re not harmless. They’re a gateway to self-destruction. Don’t give in to them.

  • Design your environment to align with your goals.
  • Choose the path you can walk the longest on.
  • Train people around you to not distract you.
  • If you want to go easy on yourself, make easier promises. But never break them.
  • Your mind breaks your discipline by asking for micro-seemingly-harmless requests. Stay vigilant. Don’t give in.

RELATED: The Unsexy Mindset You Must Develop If You Want To Achieve Difficult Goals

Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.