Discipline over Hustle

Ryan Frederick
5 min readJul 25, 2019


Hustle is on fire. It’s everywhere. And it seems to represent a new perspective on how to be successful. Almost epiphany level. I hope we’ve reached peak Hustle because it sends the wrong message.

I see a lot people, startup founders and beyond, wearing Hustle as a badge of honor. You should be hustling to accomplish what you want. Hustle is not a destination. Additionally, there is no need to tell other people you are hustling. Just hustle and let the results represent the Hustle.

But there is something larger at play here that is more harmful than people bragging about their Hustle. Because of the Hustle mantra people are running around spending time, energy, and money with little regard to the purpose, direction, and results of their Hustle. It’s easy to Hustle. Just be busy and share the busyness on social. Now you are hustling and and you have the pics to prove it. You might have even purchased a Hustle T-shirt, notebook, or sticker to represent your Hustle to others. But Hustle without intention, prioritization and discipline is inconsequential. Hustle alone will wear you out and accomplish nothing…Hustle fatigue.

Discipline is the true measure of your ability to execute on what matters most, now. Where Hustle represents the busy, discipline demands proper intention and action. Where Hustle invokes positivity and optimism, discipline ignores emotion and feelings to do what needs to be done most right now. And then tomorrow, the next day, and in perpetuity. Discipline teaches us we don’t have to like it and no one will probably know but us, but when we act in a disciplined manner over time, we are becoming a results juggernaut.

The challenge is we are undisciplined as a species. Here is how I know…I give a talk on building software products at conferences and to prove a point about people being undisciplined even when we know the principles to something I ask the audience if everyone agrees the keys to being fit and healthy (outside of disease or chronic illness) are to eat well and get consistent, strenuous exercise. Everyone agrees with these two principles to produce the outcome. Then I ask how many people are as fit and healthy as they want to be and 1–2% standup. I follow-up by asking the audience if they want to be fit and healthy and they all say yes. So they want the result, they know the two principles (that’s it, two!), and yet they are too undisciplined to do it.

I’ve been fortunate to get to know many people across all walks of life. The most successful and happy ones are the most disciplined. Yes, being disciplined makes you not only productive, but also happy. The most successful people figure out what they want. Why they want it. What they are willing to forgo to get it and then show up everyday to make it happen. Irrespective of what is happening around them or to them and how good or bad they feel. I’ve come to call this ruthless, daily level of discipline, “The Discipline of Execution.”

The Discipline of Execution in one area of your life is good. Having the Discipline of Execution in all areas of your life is game-changing. You will accomplish more than you could have ever imagined and develop a confidence to take on new challenges and opportunities because you will have proven to yourself that you can execute, consistently no matter what else is happening.

So how do you become more disciplined and less focused on things like Hustle? There are two key strategies you can start now. First, don’t focus on getting as much as you can done in a day for the sake of volume. Instead, focus on the getting the most important, highest value things done each day. The principle of 3 seems to work best. In the morning, before you get involved in doing anything, document the three things that are the most important for you that day. Maybe you will get all three done in that day, but what matters most is whether you know these are the three most important things and make progress in completing them that day. I’ve found a journal (and app) to help with this piece everyday. It’s called “The 5 Minute Journal.” It also has gratefulness and affirmation aspects that we can all benefit from. Second, do at least one thing everyday to prove to yourself you can be disciplined and to strengthen your discipline muscle. It has to be something that will challenge you and give you value for doing it. Showing up to work on time, letting someone into traffic, or waiting for the walk sign before crossing a street don’t count. If you want to read more to expand your world or to learn something, then reading qualifies. So does eating well and exercising. Or learning to play an instrument or to speak a new language. Here is the secret. Whatever it is, and you can pick more than one, you must do it/them everyday for 90 days. If doing more than one, puts even one at risk, then only do one. If you can commit to and do more than one, then you will strengthen your discipline muscle that much faster and it will become that much stronger. I picked reading, eating well, and exercising intentionally. It is imperative that what you choose can be done anywhere with no special equipment or circumstances. You’re probably thinking doing something everyday for 90 days sounds like an unreasonable expectation. It’s not. Don’t set unrealistic expectations initially. It’s one of the reasons people fail in remaining disciplined. They set the expectation they have to do something for at least an hour or longer for it to count. I don’t know why we think this, but we do and it hampers our ability to be disciplined around things that matter. I recommend starting with 15 minutes per day. If you can do something meaningful for 15 minutes a day, for 90 days, you will become a more disciplined person.

Discipline is undeniable. Discipline breaks through barriers and overcomes obstacles. The most talented don’t always win and don’t always accomplish more than others in their field. But the most disciplined do. The New England Patriots do not have the most talented roster of players compared to other teams. The Patriots are however the most disciplined team. They execute with greater discipline and that is the result of preparing with more discipline. The Patriots Discipline of Execution is what wins them championships, not superior talent.

Leave the Hustle mantra behind and be disciplined. Hustle will leave you exhausted, unfulfilled, and unaccomplished. Discipline will help you to accomplish more and in some cases things you never thought possible. Discipline produces results. The world respects and pays for results.



Ryan Frederick

Building & Funding Digital Innovation