Do You Have The Discipline To Rinse Your Cottage Cheese?

Posted on May 15, 2013 by


There is obviously an analogy here and it comes from the Jim Collins book, Good to Great:

A world-class athlete who won the Hawaii Iron Man Triathlon 6 times, trained intensely and was very disciplined – biking 75 miles, swimming 20,000 meters, and running 17 miles per day. He burned approximately 5,000 calories a day in training but believed a low-fat high carbohydrate diet would give him that extra edge to win.  So he would literally rinse his cottage cheese to get the extra fat off.  While there was no evidence that rinsing his cottage cheese alone made a difference in him winning the Iron Man, but it was one more small step that he believed that, along with the other things he did, created a super consistent program of discipline to help him be the best. (Collins, 2001).

Being the best is not simply about beating the competition just once.  Being the best is about being a consistent achiever.  To get there, you must have some level of discipline in doing those things on a consistent basis that you believe will help you be the best at what you are doing.  First, identify the core competencies or critical skills that are necessary for your area.  Second, benchmark those who are already successful.  Look for insight into what makes them successful – habits, practices;  listen to what others say about them and make note.  Third, do an honest self assessment. Look honestly at yourself and identify those things you excel at, those things you have an opportunity to improve and those things you would like to learn how to do or learn more about.  If you have a mentor, seek their feedback as well to help you.  Take these items and create a realistic, actionable plan to improve yourself.

What “rinsing your cottage cheese” daily will look like will differ based on what you are seeking to excel at. Whatever you choose to focus on, be sure to have the discipline to engage and the commitment to be consistent, otherwise your efforts will be a waste of time.  So after you’ve decided what you want to be the best you can be at, we have to ask…. do YOU have the discipline to rinse YOUR cottage cheese?

Collins, J. (2001).  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t.  New York, New York: Harper Business.