Any karate master knows that discipline is the key to success. If he loses his focus for even a moment, his opponent will get the better of him and triumph. He was not born with that discipline, so how did he develop it? It begins with sacrifice. Indeed, without sacrifice, discipline is nothing more than an empty word. He abandons his distractions and focuses himself solely on victory. That raw concentration brings him to triumph. Financial success, like karate, requires keen focus, razor-sharp wit and unrelenting discipline.
That tantalizing diamond ring in the jewelry aisle has drawn your eye. Will you buy it? Perhaps if you lack discipline. But the karate master and the financial master both know that these distractions must be put to the side. Instead of buying the diamond, you could put that same money towards the lurking credit card debt that you’ve tried and failed to keep out of your mind.
It’s not just about refraining from taking on new pleasures, either. Discipline really is about sacrifice, and it’s about giving things up, too. Instead of playing video games, watching television or reading the latest fashion magazine, you could spend that same time budgeting out your expenditures for the month. Instead of using that empty room as a home movie theater, you could rent it out and make a tidy profit.
These small things slowly add up in a big way
Of course, discipline doesn’t develop overnight. These financial decisions might present you with large obstacles to overcome. Just as the karate master trains with blocks of wood and catching flies, you can train with simpler and smaller sacrifices. Do you really need that candy bar after work? What about the gourmet coffee you drink every morning? It could even be as simple as buying a cheaper brand of cereal. Whatever it takes, progress is progress.
As you hone your discipline and train that invaluable skill, you can move closer and closer towards overcoming those great obstacles: repaying your debt, saving for your retirement and living independently. From the outside, they must seem overwhelming and even insurmountable. Standing upon pile after pile of abandoned chocolate, you’ll be able to look these seemingly terrible hurdles in the eye and challenge them as any true karate master might.
Sacrifice might not be the most attractive headline. No one wants to be told to give up things that they enjoy or to stay in when their friends go out. Even hearing that it’s for your own good might not be convincing enough to compel the sort of change that discipline demands. But it’s that willingness to sacrifice for success that separates the master from the apprentice.
At the end of the day, not everyone can be a karate master. Can you?