How to Gain Self-Mastery and Discipline to Reach Your Potential


The Olympic games are in full swing and with each event I become more astounded by the level of commitment and dedication the athletes have. There are not many people with the tenacity for the vigorous mental and physical training these athletes endure. Training twelve hours a day, year round, for the possibility of winning a medal is beyond my comprehension. What is it that leads these stellar athletes to pursue such greatness? The difference between these athletes and everybody else is that they have uncovered their WHY?!  They want to be an Olympic champion more than they want anything else. They have a deep burning desire and inspiring vision of success to keep them motivated. They know why they want to be the best and are 100% committed to that potential. I wrote a previous article about embracing your potential and the roadblocks to be aware of, but I didn’t provide tips to help you on this journey. (you can view the previous post here) So with this article I wanted to discuss how to develop self-mastery toward the pursuit of your potential. It will require uncovering your why, developing a plan, and remaining disciplined on a daily basis. Just like an Olympic athlete, you too have potential that can be developed in different domains of life. Here is how you can begin working toward your potential in whatever area it may be.

Uncover your “Why” or deep burning desire by asking yourself:

“What would I like to see different about my current situation?” “What would be the good things about changing my situation/behavior?” “Suppose I don’t change, what is the WORST thing that might happen?” “What is the BEST thing I could imagine that could result from changing?” “If I make changes, how would my life be different from what it is today?” “If I were to decide to change, what would I have to do to make this happen?”

Develop your training plan

The last question leads into developing a strategy or plan. Whether you want to better at golf, be a nicer person, manage your anger, or become a better spouse/parent, you must practice and train to become better. There are four areas to work on when it comes to reaching our potential. These are what Dennis Waitley refers to as K.A.S.H.

  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Skills
  • Habits

To develop in these areas we need to do an inventory of strengths and weaknesses so we’ll know where we are, compared to where we want to be. Based on what you want, list where you stand with each part of K.A.S.H. and chart out where you want to be and the steps to get there.   Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to do everything. Be realistic and focus on just a few goals that are manageable from your current level of development. Once you have set a few goals, include these tips for self-mastery to help keep you focused and on track.

Tips for self-mastery

Develop a daily practice of meditation and prayer – If there is one immediate habit to incorporate into your life I would suggest a meditative practice. Having time for quiet reflection can be a powerful source of discipline and emotional wellness. It can help with focus and concentration and allow you to have self-acceptance of where you are in your journey to be the best you can beLive with balance –  Self-discipline is all about balancing responsibilities and making time for a well-rounded life. To have a healthy mind, body, and spirit we need to stay balanced and dedicate time to all of these areas. Here a few things to focus on that can help with staying disciplined and motivated.

  • Manage stress –  When stressed we are prone to unhealthy coping. Deal with stress by exercising, getting enough sleep, practing mindful awareness, and doing deep breathing.
  • Exercise – Be active for at least 30 minutes a day. It can be as general as going for a walk. This will help keep your brain functioning at it’s best and keep you energized.
  • Get plenty of sleep – When tired we are less focused. According to Dr. Daniel Amen our brain works best if we get at least 6 or more hours of sleep. This will help with concentration and thinking more clearly.