​Discipline is Destiny: 25 Habits That Will Guarantee You Success

Ryan Holiday
11 min readSep 14, 2022

The ancients were fond of an expression: Character is fate.

It means that character is deterministic, that who you are determines what you will do.

Self-discipline is one of those special things that is both predictive and deterministic. It both predicts that you will be great, AND it makes whatever you are doing great. It is not a means to an end. It is not just something we value until we get something we think we might really value — this job title, that amount of money, winning the biggest game, landing the best opportunity.

No. Discipline is the win. When you are disciplined about your craft…you win. When you know you put your best into something…you win. When your self-worth is tied to things you can control (effort, for example)…you win.

This is what I mean when I say, as I titled my latest book, Discipline is Destiny. Who we are, the standards we hold ourselves to, the things we do regularly — in the end, these are all better predictors of the trajectory of our lives than things like talent, resources, or anything else. So here, adapted from my latest book, Discipline is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control, are 25 habits that will put you on the best trajectory possible.

1. Attack the dawn. The morning hours are the most productive hours. Because in the morning, you are free. Hemingway would talk about how he’d get up early because early, there was, “no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.” Toni Morrison found she was just more confident in the morning, before the day had exacted its toll and the mind was fresh. Like most of us, she realized she was just, “not very bright or very witty or very inventive after the sun goes down.” Who can be? After a day of banal conversations, frustrations, mistakes, and exhaustion.

2. Quit being a slave. On an ordinary afternoon in 1949, the physicist Richard Feynman was going about his business when he felt a pull to have a drink. Not an intense craving by any means, but it was a disconcerting desire for alcohol. On the spot, Feynman gave up drinking right then and there. Nothing, he felt, should have that kind of power over him. At the core of the idea of self-mastery is an instinctive…

Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ http://amzn.to/24qKRWR