The Way to Success – Story of Self-Discipline and Determination

Reflecting back to 2016, I recall of the time when I had to decide which college to choose. Driven by my passions and interests at the time, it decided to apply for the Wrocław Academy of Physical Education. I have never trained professionally neither was I keen on any specific field, but I knew that sports were what I loved. I recall with a smile my first classes and the feeling of excitement when I wondered if I would be able to meet new challenges. At the end of the day, it was not easy for me, I had to keep up with people who had been training in various sports since the age of three. It is safe to say that it was a real survival. Even though I am not working in my profession today, this does not mean that I have deleted that time from my memory.

When I had a recruitment interview with my current Team Leader, I was asked to give an example of a situation where I had demonstrated high motivation – as I had strongly emphasised this aspect in my CV. Without hesitation, I recounted the sporting challenges that had influenced the strengthening of my character and how it impacted my daily life.

A Testimony of Motivation

Well, in my second year at the college, demanding athletics classes appeared on the horizon. One of the exams was to pass the 1,500-metre run in the specified time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds. On the first attempt, I nearly passed it, but at the end of the race, I was exhausted and stepped off the track. Subsequent attempts were not successful either, I was already very frustrated with the whole situation. The semester was coming to an end and I had not passed the subject on time. And so for nearly a year I attended consultations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each time I was three seconds short of the time threshold. Those three seconds were the deciding factor in whether I would be allowed to defend my undergraduate thesis. In addition to the consultations, I trained outside the college; I used to run for practically the whole week.

The doctor in charge of the subject did not give up. At the time I was furious with him, but today I know it was meant to show me that I was able to manage it. I passed this exam in my final semester without missing a single consultation. When my sneakers crossed the finish line on time, the instructor was happier than I was. What did it give me? I have learnt self-discipline, gained persistence and doggedness, the ability to prepare my ‘head’ to achieve a goal. You’re probably wondering now how this is possible when I had such a disastrous start and all attempts failed. I’d love to tell you a story about my journey, my struggles, my difficult moments, so without further ado, I invite you to read on briefly.

My first step was to consult my instructor on areas for improvement. I asked for honest opinion, without beating around the bush. You can do the same with regard to work and simply go to your supervisor to ask for feedback.

Overcoming Challenges in Pursuit of Excellence

Awareness of weak points is nothing less than a signal for us to act. So I started to take action by planning each day. It probably sounds like a cliché, but it just works. I was a full-time student and commuted to Wrocław, so my schedule had to be buttoned up to the last button. I developed training habits: interval training on Mondays, long-distance training on Wednesdays, etc. and rigidly stuck to it. At some point, I noticed it became ingrained in me. What was the most important at the time? Even if everything was falling apart or the city was hosting the best student festival, I kept my eyes on my goal, prioritizing it over going out with friends. I pushed out all the things that might have put me further away from achieving success. You simply have to be consistent with yourself, because after all, by skipping training, who are we really trying to fool? 😉 Of course, there were days where things didn’t go according to plan, but I didn’t worry about it, I just did my job.

Strategies for Success and Personal Growth

The second thing I did was to take care of my mental hygiene, as this is what helps to deal with stress, uncertainty and problems that will occur along the way. I simply believed that I would manage it and I always stuck to that belief. If something wasn’t working out for me, I tried to look for the positives, which I put together in my head, like the best lego set. In addition, I’ve included a break and recovery time into my plan so there was no excuse that I was overtrained. I also had a notebook where I recorded my progress and in the evenings analysed further strategies.

Then, when the first progression appeared I was overwhelmed with joy. On the other hand, if I could travel in time I would go back and tell myself not to get distracted by small successes. The longer we rest on our laurels, the harder it is for us to get back into action later and find motivation again.

And finally, when the climax came, I was prepared and totally focused on victory. I achieved the goal and worked on self-discipline ‘seriously’ for a full year and when I passed the exam, suddenly I wanted more. I started to get into developing new habits – physical activity has stayed with me as always, and I added a diet, regular language study and relaxation practices. In hindsight, I can say that nothing promotes growth and determination better than setting more challenges for yourself.


To sum up the whole story, as a ‘guinea pig’ I unhesitatingly acknowledge that learning self-discipline will bring you many positive values, including the ability to manage your time, overcome obstacles, strengthen your character, resilience to stress and control distractors. I know that sometimes it is difficult to motivate yourself to take the first step, but once you have started, it will start the most important marathon that will lead you to the finish line of full satisfaction in your personal life as well as in your professional life.

text written by:

Ewelina Partyka, People & Culture Specialist