"The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than achieving the goal itself."
Maria Sharapova, the former number one tennis player in the world and multiple Grand Slam champion, spoke about one of the most important things she learned as a young girl. As a child, her mother would read passages from books and novels that were over hear head. She would also make her spend an hour memorizing poems every night. She hated it at the time. She would think, "when am I going to use this." But she realized as she got older that " discipline never comes easy and you have to build it's foundation and build it's trust with the people that help you with it."
Sharapova believed this discipline came into play as a tennis player. She began to understand that whether it's a good day or a bad day, discipline beats everything.
Her interviewer, Tim Ferris, said he noticed three particular patterns of parents or children who were exceptional at an early age. First, parents talked to them about subject matter, at least part of the time, that was over their heads. Second, they gave them a lot of exposure to books. And third, they helped them develop a tolerance for repetition.
I thought of this to be of an invaluable lesson for myself, and especially as a parent. Discipline in anything and learning to tolerate the monotony and dullness may be one of the most difficult, yet separating skills when it comes to success.
Today our minds are distracted by a million things. We have to constantly be entertained or doing something to stimulate ourselves. I feel this hinders our ability to focus and be in the moment. And as technology continues to consume our lives, our children are even in a worse situation.
To be great at anything you have to build the muscle of discipline and learn to tolerate repetition. Anything you can do for yourself or teach your children this will help pay huge dividends in the end. Sharapova said, "It's the persistence you are building. There are projects we love but then there is the tedious work that you have to get done. It's in the numbers, or repetition, that when you eventually get there you start to feel it and don't have to think. And that's done in time. That mental persistence, you can develop at an early age."