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Habits and Leadership Success

By Orrin Woodward

I once read a quote that struck me as a key principle for personal growth:

“Bad habits are easy to learn, but hard to live with and good habits are hard to learn, but easy to live with.”

Think through this principle in your personal life. No one ever has to announce to the world that they are going off their diet and focusing on eating whatever they want.

Another example is that few announce to the world that they have decided to get out of shape. This is easy and many of us have accomplished this at different points in our life.

The simple fact is that personal discipline to develop the right habits is an against-the-stream activity. The direction of life is to chaos and it takes personal discipline to form the right habits against the chaos.

What Habits Are You Reinforcing?

I read another quote on habits stating,

“Tell me a person’s habits and I will tell you a person’s future.”

The overwhelming majority of people in life pick up habits similar to how one pick’s up a common cold. There is no rhyme or reason to the exercise.

If they associate with this person they pick up the habit of swearing, with another person the habit of negative thinking, griping or complaining.

What if a person took responsibility for their habits? What if they became proactive with developing the right habits in life? Do you think over the long term their life would significantly change?

I believe with everything in my heart and soul that this is the difference maker. I have developed my share of bad habits in life and had to live with the negative consequences.

I have also leaned to discipline myself with good habits and have enjoyed the positive consequences. The key principle here is for you to take control of the habits that make up your life.

Are you happy with all the consequences you are living with in life? If not, what habits have caused the negative consequence and decide today to form a new habit?

Winners consistently control their environment to ensure they are forming the habits that will lead to the long-term results they desire in life.

Breaking Free

When a person is getting started in our personal development system they are beginning to form new habits.

You probably have heard, “Listen to a couple of CDs a day and read 15 to 30 minutes every day.” These are habits that may take some time to form, but how enjoyable are the results when you find you have a different perspective on life.

You will find that problems are no longer issues that cause emotional meltdowns and you actually look forward to problems. Challenges are seen as opportunities to grow.

No I do not promise anyone easy when it comes to success. Discipline is never easy, but you will be disciplined anyway. The only question is do you choose self discipline or external discipline.

You will pay the price of discipline either way. Yes the consequences of developing good habits have been more than worth any price of personal discipline.

How about you? Have you decided to pay the price of personal discipline and root out any bad habits in your life? You know what they are and you know the price you are paying to “enjoy?” this bad habit.

Why not make today the day to change? All it takes is a big enough reason to relentlessly attack this bad habit. Your life is too precious to live small. I dare you to dream a big dream and develop the necessary habits to accomplish it.

Many people live with their bad habits and wonder why they never accomplished their dreams. Laurie and I decided that good habits were better for us no matter what we ultimately accomplished in life.

We found that the more we disciplined ourselves the better we felt inside and the easier it was for us to attack our next bad habit. Begin today, pick some habit that you know is not consistent with your long term goals and replace this bad habit with one more in line with where you are going.

Yes it will be a challenge, but the rewards of a life well lived will more than make up for any temporary hardships.


Orrin Woodward is the co-founder of Team, a leadership development and training company, and the New York Times best-selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution.

Named by the International Association of Business as a Top 10 Leadership Guru, he is dedicated to building leaders and entrepreneurs and promoting freedom and prosperity.

Orrin blogs regularly at Orrin Woodward. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with his wife and four children.

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