Did you know that the world’s smartest people share many similar traits and habits? Even when they come from incredibly different backgrounds, many of our most brilliant thinkers and leaders exhibit certain behavioral patterns. This month, we have begun to examine some of these habits, such as reading and setting goals.
Self-discipline is another common trait of the world’s smartest people. Although it may seem unsurprising that self-discipline can help geniuses to succeed, it is surprising how that sense of self-discipline plays out in every area of their lives.
Even though brilliant individuals are often consumed by their intellectual pursuits, they usually apply the self-discipline that allows them to excel in their field to their personal lives as well. Naturally, too much self-discipline could become problematic, but in general, it allows smart people to be more proactive about their lives.
For instance, a person’s IQ level is often a solid indicator of whether or not they will have sex as an adolescent. When students reach college, statistics say that 87% of them have had sex. However, at top schools, that percentage drops. At Princeton, only 56% of the undergrads have had sex, while MIT boasts an even lower percentage of 51%.
Self-Discipline = Happiness
Recent studies have begun to demonstrate a link between self-discipline and happiness. Despite the fact that we tend to think that self-disciplined people have less fun and perhaps gain fewer life experiences, their self-discipline actually allows them get more enjoyment out of their lives.
For instance, self-discipline might lead a smart individual to simply avoid situations where they would be tempted to make a bad decision. Even if that means missing a party or not going out to dinner, that person is likely to feel happier with themselves thanks to their self-control.
How to Enhance Your Self-Discipline
If you’re trying to improve your own self-discipline in order to enhance your skills as a businessman, it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Self-discipline tends to slip when you are tired and stressed, so make sure to care for yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, and spending time with your loved ones.
In the business world, one of the best ways to improve your self-discipline is to set more concrete goals. Think about what outcomes you want to see and write them down. Recording your goals allows you to begin developing intelligent plans to help you reach those goals. When you are more aware of your goals, you are more likely to use self-discipline to stop yourself from making choices that would detract from your success in those areas.