SCOTT REED: Rule No. 38: Discipline is rewarded


Elvis was asked in an interview in 1958, “How does it feel to be an overnight success?”

He answered, “It feels like a heck of a long night.”

Of course it had been years since Elvis had gone into Sun Records to record a song for his mother. He had been traveling the Louisiana Hay Ride Circuit and played anywhere someone would have him. Then it all hit the nation at the same time and he looked like an overnight success.

Lou Holtz once said to me (well, it was actually me and 200 other people in the room), “It’s funny how those that work the hardest seem to be the luckiest.”

On “The Today Show” recently they were talking about how Mark Zuckerberg works 50-60 hours a week directly in his job but that he spends his whole life trying to make Facebook better.

I know there are exceptions. There is the person at the slot machine that wins $10 million or that guy who invented the Pet Rock. Sometimes you just fall into a win but those times are few and far between. For the 99 percent of us who have to earn what we have, discipline is the foundation for success.

It is one thing to want it and something completely different to go out and get it. Archie Manning said that he would go out to the practice field with Peyton, Eli and Cooper at 5 a.m. and work on their football skills. There is no doubt that they had good genes, but good genes isn’t enough. The discipline to do what you have to do, especially when you would rather be doing something else is what gets you across the finish line first.

Investing is no different. You have to have a disciplined approach.

If you wander around the investment world changing your strategy often and simply hoping something will work out, it probably won’t. Even the high-risk investment strategies demand discipline. It takes great discipline to see the down side of a strategy and continue to stick with it until you recognize the upside.

In order to do that you must understand the strategy you are implementing and you must have confidence that it will work. If you don’t have that, you will make mistakes – sometimes over and over again.

Jim Parker “Living with Volatility, Again” said, “The market volatility is worrisome, no doubt. But through discipline, diversification and understanding how the markets work, the ride can be made bearable. At some point, value re-emerges, risk appetites re-awaken, and for those who acknowledged their emotions without acting on them, relief replaces anxiety.”

It is the discipline to learn about what you are doing, the discipline to create a proper investment strategy and the discipline to implement that strategy correctly that will make the difference in your investment life.

If you can’t do that yourself, then you need the discipline to hire an expert to do it for you. If you can get that right then you will be well on your way to a successful financial overnight success.

Scott Reed is CEO of investment advisory firm Hardy Reed in Tupelo. Contact him at (662) 823-4722 or

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