Contributed by Brian Kite, an entrepreneur, trainer, keynote speaker and EO member at Charlotte, NC. Brian Hall is the founder of the Daily Discipline, through which he shares strong mindsets and explores personal skills that help accelerate your path to achieving your highest priorities. In her work as a trainer, she has helped teams simplify and implement leadership, culture, and discipline.

Today is the most important day of your life. What will you do today that will put you in a better position for future success?

Here are five behavioral skills that have always been essential to a productive and fulfilling life and are now even more valuable.

Each of these skills provides a unique advantage. Either you need it to excel in the current and future environment, or it is rarely run so well that you get an advantage when you do it. Probably both.

1. Focus

I hope this is obvious. That is why I am highlighting it first. So you don’t ignore it. Lots of scattering. Every device is screaming for your attention. There are also apps, channels and brands. Companies invest billions of dollars in the best way to get your attention, to capture it and to get it back when they lose it. None of them are responsible for your life. If you pay attention to them, it will take you away from your real purpose and real priority, but none of them care. You either build the skills to focus or fall into a pattern of spending designed to get someone else to do what you want them to do.

2. Patience

Human growth and development requires the same basic processes that it always requires: time, effort and patience. Think. Even as mountains of books, podcasts, workshops and blogs pile up in the sky, we are no longer meaningfully better as a society of behavior change than we were before all this content existed. Why? Because people are impatient. If you notice, people are less patient than in the past. Adolescents are now addicted to instant gratification. Adults are better off telling themselves the same thing all their lives and pretending to believe in public. Personally though, they feel remorse for impatience. You either build endurance skills or repeat the same depressing patterns for the rest of your life.

3. Listening

Everyone wants to talk. No one wants to hear. Everyone wants to prove a point. No one wants to hear it. Everyone wants to understand. No one wants to understand. Hyperball, yes, but not too much. See, you know that hearing is the most essential aspect of good communication. You also know that excellent communication is the most important aspect of every relationship and interaction in your life. So while everyone acknowledges how critical listening is, very few people commit themselves to being an incredible listener. Most are just qualified or trusted listeners. You either build up listening skills or miss the most important things to understand in life.

4. Empathy

This skill is needed and deserves more space than this format, so I’ll keep it short and sweet here. Taking care of people is a choice, not a feeling. If you care about those whom you feel good about, congratulations. Everyone does that. Empathy is the reason for choosing to care when it will be easier not to care. Whatever the reason, it is common at this moment to justify the lack of empathy for people for whatever reason. Don’t be that person. The most important thing is to take care when you don’t really want to. You either build empathy skills, or you treat someone badly who doesn’t deserve it from you.

5. Discipline

You had to see this one coming. You have more reasons and excuses for lack of discipline than those who have come before you. You can follow the crowd and see discipline as the strict, loyal, obedience-based command that you grew up believing in, or you can shed that perspective for the truth. Discipline is your salvation. Discipline is your foundation. Discipline is your accelerator. Discipline is your shortcut that you want the most. You either build discipline skills or you arrive a moment later in life and you had the desire.

What happens when you develop unusual skills in focus, patience, listening, empathy, and discipline?

You will not receive any guarantee from me. Life does not go that way. I certainly don’t have the ability to make that prediction.

If two versions of my future exist, one where I get much better at these uninterrupted skills and one I can’t improve too much, I know which of these futures I want.

You can decide what future you want for yourself.

Answer the call. Do the work.

This post was originally published in the Daily Discipline and has been republished here with the permission of the author.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out more articles from the EO and EO blogs at Inc.

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