Keys for Success: Discipline and Patience

1/29/08


Last Saturday, Sammy, the dog, and I were running in the woods at Parvin’s State Park. It was icy cold, with the wind chill making the temperature in the teens. Frankly, a warm bed seemed like a better idea, but this was Saturday, one of our running days. So there we were, a chilly man and a dog running together along the paths.

As we warmed up during the first mile or so, I thought about my running history. I’ve been running for about 29 years, four to six days a week. Why has it lasted so long, and become such a part of my life? Discipline, for sure. There were some days that if not for the discipline of knowing “this is a running day,” I would have never gotten out the door. But, invariably, once I get out the door and on the run, I’m in a happy, thoughtful place. So discipline gets me started, and the pleasure I receive from a successful run reinforces the discipline for next time.

And there’s also patience involved. So many times, when five, six or more miles are scheduled, I tend to think: “Let’s get it over with quickly.” And I usually get tired early because the speed is too much, but when I slow down and regain my momentum, the miles glide along. Running marathons as well as the daily runs instills this thinking. You must be patient succeed on long and short runs alike. The ultimate goal for success in running is to finish. Always.

During last Saturday’s brisk run, I also thought a lot about a true role model for achieving success through discipline and patience. Cumberland County College recently received a wonderful $1million gift from a gentleman, Paul Navone, who worked in the glass factories all his life, earning hourly wages. But Paul amassed a small fortune by practicing discipline and patience. He wasn’t born rich, and he probably won’t die rich. But Paul is a remarkable man because he is sharing his wealth to strengthen the community. His donation to the college will help to ensure that we have a constant flow of trained healthcare professionals in our community. So Paul’s successful approach to savings through discipline and patience, and his generosity, makes life better for all of us.

You can learn a lot from a guy like Paul Navone. I sure have. In a world of rapid change and instant gratification, where a lot of things seem out of our control, it’s comforting to know that a couple of key characteristics for success can be learned, practiced and instilled into our daily lives. Discipline and patience. Learn discipline, practice patience, and who knows what wealth you may accumulate, professionally and personally. Just ask Paul Navone.