Self-discipline appears in various forms, such as perseverance, restraint, endurance, thinking before acting, finishing what you start doing, and as the ability to carry out one’s decisions and plans, in spite of inconvenience, hardships or obstacles.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Rule your mind or it will rule you.” author=”Horace”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-discipline is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.” author=”Joseph Addison”/]
Self-discipline also means self-control, the ability to avoid unhealthy excess of anything that could lead to negative consequences. One of the main characteristics of self-discipline is the ability to forgo instant and immediate gratification and pleasure, in favor of some greater gain or more satisfying results, even if this requires effort and time. The term self-discipline often causes some discomfort and resistance, due to the erroneous notion that it is something unpleasant, difficult to attain, and which requires a lot of effort and sacrifice. Actually, exercising and attaining self discipline can be fun, does not require strenuous efforts, and the benefits are great.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The first and best victory is to conquer self.” author=”Plato”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.” author=”Bertrand Russell”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” author=”H. Jackson Brown, Jr.”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”This quality of self-denial in pursuit of a longer-term goal and, indeed, the willpower to maintain the denial, is excellent training for the boardroom.” author=”John Viney”/]
Self-Discipline separates us from our ancient ancestors and the rest of the animal kingdom, thanks to our large prefrontal cortices. Rather than responding to immediate impulses, we can plan, we can evaluate alternative actions, and we can refrain from doing things we’ll regret. Animals lack self-discipline.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” author=”Thomas á Kempis”/]
Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives oneself to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even if one would rather be doing something else. For example, denying oneself an extravagant pleasure in order to accomplish a more demanding charitable deed is a display of self-discipline. Thus, self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be synonymous with self control. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reason to determine a best course of action that opposes one’s desires. Virtuous behavior is when one’s motivations are aligned with one’s reasoned aims: to do what one knows is best and to do it gladly. Continent behavior, on the other hand, is when one does what one knows is best, but must do it by opposing one’s motivations. Moving from continent to virtuous behavior requires training and some self-discipline.
Being a slave to ones emotions Self Mastery
Vice………………………………………………………………..…………..Virtue[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else. ” author=”Henry Ward Beecher”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.” author=”Epictetus”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” author=”Mark Twain”/]
The Importance of Self Discipline
By Samuel L. Smith
Do you know the actual meaning of self-discipline? Lots of people talk about discipline but they rarely know the meaning of this term. Being self-disciplined means that you train yourself to accomplish a particular task and maintain a good pattern of behavior. The behavior must be such that it will help you reach your goal. People who are successful all over the world follow a great amount of discipline in their life. On the other hand the people who are not at all disciplined remain unsuccessful in life. You must always remember that discipline is the master key to success. It is quite difficult to teach a person how to be disciplined. The person needs to learn it.
One of the best ways to learn is to follow a role model. You might surely have a person in mind who you admire and you want to be like him or her. Check out the kind of personal discipline that person maintains. The role model might be someone from your family or a teacher or coach.
If you are interested in dominating each and every sphere of life then you need to learn this virtue. You might set certain targets and goals in your life but only these things cannot help you reach your goal. You will rarely find any person who has achieved success without personal discipline. Whether the field is business, academics, sports and so on this quality is very much necessary. Once you have this quality in yourself you will also learn how to become successful. Do you want to take a leap in your career?
There are people who want to change from employees to entrepreneurs. Are you one of them? One of the most important qualities of successful entrepreneurs is self-discipline. When you take a leap and set a high goal there are lots of challenges and obstacles that might come your way. It is very important to fight those challenges to become a successful. One of the most essential qualities that you need to have at this point of time is self-discipline. The first thing that you need to do is stick to your plans. Other than this, it is also important to have self-control. Time is also an important factor. You need to focused as well as disciplined for the rest of your life. You must always remember that your key to success is present in this quality.
Practice is very important if you want to master this quality. One of the best ways to develop this skill is by saying no to the pleasures and the desires that are unnecessary in your life. Stick to the key to success for better results in life.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is not enough to have great qualities; We should also have the management of them.” author=”La Rochefoucauld”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind-you could call it character in action.” author=”Vince Lombardi”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”There are no short cuts to any place worth going.” author=”Beverly Sills”/]
How to develop Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is important in any endeavor of life. It’s best defined as the ability to regulate one’s conduct by principle and sound judgment, rather than by impulse, desire, or social custom. People who have the ability to concentrate, focus on their goals, and consistently stay within their priorities tend to succeed. Whether in academics, the arts, or athletics, success generally comes to the self-disciplined.
Since self-discipline is so important, how do you develop it?
Start with small things. Clean your room at home or your desk at work. Train yourself to put things where they belong when they are out of place. Make the old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” your motto. After you’ve cleaned your room or desk, extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your house and workplace. Get yourself to the point where orderliness matters. Learn how to keep your environment clean and clear so you can function without a myriad of distractions. Such neatness will further develop self-discipline by forcing you to make decisions about what is important and what is not. Learning self-discipline in the little things of life prepares the way for big successes. On the other hand, those who are undisciplined in small matters will likely be undisciplined in more important issues.
Get yourself organized. Make a schedule, however detailed or general you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. Using a daily planning book or a personal information manager program on your computer would be helpful. But get organized, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of scrap paper. The simple reality is that if you don’t control your time, everything (and everyone) else will.
Don’t constantly seek to be entertained. When you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely entertaining. Read a good book, listen to music, take a walk, or have a conversation with someone. In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating, and creative. Things that are of no value except to entertain you make a very small contribution to your well-being.
Be on time. If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. Being punctual marks a life that is organized. It reveals a person whose desires, activities, and responsibilities are under control. Being on time also acknowledges the importance of other people and the value of their time.
Keep your word. “Undertake not what you cannot perform,” a young George Washington exhorted himself, “but be careful to keep your promise.” If you say you’re going to do something, do it—when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. When you make commitments, see them through. That calls for the discipline to properly evaluate whether you have the time and capability to do something. And once you’ve made the commitment, self-discipline will enable you to keep it.
Do the most difficult tasks first. Most people do just the opposite, spending their time doing the easier, low priority tasks. But when they run out of time (and energy), the difficult, high-priority tasks are left undone.
Finish what you start. Some people’s lives are a sad litany of unfinished projects. In the words of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, for of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!” If you start something, finish it. Therein lies an important key to developing self-discipline.
Accept correction. Correction helps you develop self-discipline by showing you what you need to avoid. Thus, it should not be rejected, but accepted gladly. Solomon wrote “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days”; and “He whose ear listens to the life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding”.
Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings and impulses. Occasionally deny yourself pleasures that are perfectly legitimate for you to enjoy. Skip dessert after a meal. Drink a glass of iced tea instead of having that banana split that you love. Don’t eat that doughnut that caught your eye. Refraining from those things will remind your body who is in charge.
Welcome responsibility. Volunteer to do things that need to be done. That will force you to have your life organized enough to have the time for such projects.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might and force of habit. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him—and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.” author=”J. Paul Getty”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. Self-discipline allows a pitcher to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.” author=”H.A. Dorfman”/]
Discipline comes from the Latin root word that means “instruction or learning”. A “disciple” is a pupil or student who desires to train by instruction, to follow and learn, and then repeatedly practice that instruction until he is prepared to apply his learning in real life situations.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The pupil must submit to his role freely, he cannot be forced. If the pupil see’s something good, they identify with it and they make it their own.” author=””/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Do what has to be done, when it has to be done, as well as it has to be done, and do it that way all the time.” author=”Bobby Knight”/]
STRENGTHEN YOUR WILL WITH SMALL ACTS OF SELF DEPRIVATION.
“SHARED SUFFERING” STRENGHTHENS THE WILL AND DISCIPLINE OF THE TEAM[do action=”vfquote” quote=”For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” author=”Hebrews 12:11″/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Pain is the mother of all learning. The best lessons in life are learned by suffering through pain.” author=””/]
When you are strengthening the will and discipline of your team and one of your team members shows weakness un-becoming of manhood, don’t attack him personally. Simply tell him that his behavior is not “manly”.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is character that gets us out of bed, commitment that moves us to action, and self-discipline that keeps us doing it.” author=”Zig Ziglar”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are usually the happiest.” author=”B. Hamilton, Olympic Decathlete”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself . . . . He belongs to whatever can make captive of him.” author=”John Foster”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Let me . . . ; remind you that it is only by working with an energy which is almost superhuman and which looks to uninterested spectators like insanity that we can accomplish anything worth the achievement. Work and self-discipline are the keystone of the good life.” author=”Woodrow Wilson”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” author=”Aristotle”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life.” author=”James Allen”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Nothing is more harmful to the service, than the neglect of self-discipline; for that self-discipline, more than numbers, gives one army superiority over another. ” author=”George Washington”/]
What can happen when you lack Self-Discipline?
A lack of discipline in any individual, group, or society can lead to disaster. The abilities of an individual to self-manage his or her actions are proportional to the level of success and happiness they will experience in their lifetime. Self-discipline is not about punishment or even about a restrictive lifestyle. It is the ability of the individual to adhere to actions, thoughts, and behaviors that result in personal improvement instead of instant gratification. A lack of self-discipline is the main reason for the failures we experience in both our personal and professional lives. It is also the underlying reason we experience disease, obesity, financial ruin, and relationship problems on a national level.
Self-discipline is much like the operating systems we use for our computers. Systems like Windows 98 or Macintosh OS are what we use to direct and control every aspect of a computer’s functions. A computer without an operating system is much like a person who lacks self-discipline. They both have a tremendous amount of potential and power, but have no way of functioning properly. Unlike a computer, we are blessed with the gift of free will, but without self-discipline we are susceptible to the viruses of instant gratification, excuses, and bad habits.
The most common and destructive virus found in our personal operating system is the justification virus. As human beings, we have the tendency to justify our poor decisions by using excuses. We use the power of excuses to justify our poor performance, our attitudes, our problems, and ultimately our lack of overall happiness.
Once we begin to consciously recognize the excuses we use to justify the circumstances in our lives, we can focus our efforts towards fixing the real problem. Before we can develop the power of self-discipline, we must first take an honest and direct look at the excuses we use to justify our problems and poor daily performance. Keep in mind that as human beings we will always make mistakes and blunders, but it is through the power of self-discipline that we are able to diminish their impact on our lives.
In order to begin combating the virus of excuses, we must take a look at some of the more common problems that exist in our lives and the excuses that we use to justify them. One of the most effective methods that you can use to identify the problems that exist in your life is to make a detailed list of your problems and excuses. By writing down this information you are able to take an objective look at what viruses are affecting your personal operating system. Here is an example of some common problems that we experience and the resulting excuses we use to justify them.[column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]THE PROBLEM[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]THE EXCUSE[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]1. Overweight-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I don’t have time to eat right!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]2. Procrastination-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I can only do so much in a day!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]3. Always in debt-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“They don’t pay me enough!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]4. Stressed out-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I never have time to relax!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]5. Marital conflict-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“He/she is just too demanding!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]6. Work performance-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“If they paid me more –I’d do more!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]7. Smoking-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I need it for stress relief!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]8. Drinking-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“One drink never hurt anybody!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]9. Diet-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“Who has time to prepare a meal!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]10. No daily exercise-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I just can’t find the time!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]11. Anger-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“They had it coming to them!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]12. Depression-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“Nothing ever goes right for me!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]13. Poor appearance-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“It’s the newest fashion!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]14. Divorce-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“We just couldn’t work it out!”[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”0″ style=”0″]15. Lack of Self-discipline-[/column] [column size=”1-2″ last=”1″ style=”0″]“I have enough things to worry about!”[/column]
This list of problems and excuses is simply an example of our inherent tendency to justify our words, actions, and behaviors. The problems we face and the methods we use to deal with them vary from individual to individual, but the underlying solution will always remain consistent. Before you can inject discipline into your personal operating system, you must take the action of personal responsibility. Get in the habit of identifying the real reason behind the circumstances in your life and defeat the excuse virus.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” author=”Vince Lombardi”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Get to know yourself. Know your own failings, passions, and prejudices so you can separate them from what you see. Know also when you actually have thought through to the nature of the thing with which you are dealing and when you are not thinking at all… Knowing yourself and knowing the facts, you can judge whether you can change the situation so it is more to your liking. If you cannot–or if you do not know how to improve on things–then discipline yourself to the adjustments that will be necessary.” author=”Bernard M. Baruch”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”He who reins within himself and rules passions, desires, and fears is more than a king.” author=”John Milton”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It was high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘always do what you are afraid to do.'” author=”Ralph Waldo Emerson”/]
Self Discipline, Leadership, and the Game of Life
Gary Player, one of the most successful international golfers of all time, lost count of how many times someone said to him, “I’d give anything if I could hit a golf ball like you.” After one particularly grueling day on the links, Player couldn’t resist correcting the person, “No, you wouldn’t. You’d give anything to hit a golf ball like me, if it were easy.” Player then listed the things one would have to do in order to achieve his level of play: “You’ve got to get up at five o’clock in the morning, go out and hit a thousand golf balls, walk up to the club house to put a bandage on your hand where it started bleeding, then go and hit another thousand golf balls. That’s what it takes to hit a golf ball like me.”
We achieve great things by training ourselves. Through proper training, we form proper habits; we can intentionally choose those habits that are desirable for the formation of character. Habits and practice seem obvious, ordinary, pedestrian; there aren’t many books that deal with this positively. Inspiration and talent will only carry you so far. The habits you form will sustain you.
One fall, in the panhandle of Texas, the local high school football team was enduring a terribly embarrassing season. Week after week, the hometown would show up and cheer to no avail; it was abysmal. Finally, a wealthy oil man could take it no longer. The week before the homecoming game against their arch-rivals, he asked to address the team. “Boys,” he began, “when I wore the green and gold, we won nearly every single game. Now look at you. You’ve become a joke! You need some motivation. So here’s my proposition. You win this one game, and I will personally buy each of you a brand new pickup truck.” Those student-athletes began to think and dream about how fine they would look driving around in their new trucks. They obsessed over which girls they would ride in them and whether or not they would get bumper stickers. They were so excited about the prospect of driving a truck with that “new car” smell. They hung a big poster of a truck in the locker room.
And they went out and lost the game 38-0.
Enthusiasm does not make up for preparation. Exuberance doesn’t translate into a single point on the scoreboard. Seven days of hurrah and whoop-de-do will never compensate for lack of discipline, conditioning, practice, coaching, experience and character. Those are the things that will sustain you, whether it’s in the locker room or the board room. We need more than passion. We need self-discipline. Our passion can often reveal to us a vision. That vision will show us our intention. But we must devise a means, a strategy for accomplishing that vision. Vision, intention and means.. these are the keys to accomplishment for any individual or organization. But means involves self-discipline.
The crown first-century athletes won was a laurel wreath. This is a wonderful illustration for the things of this world that we attempt to reach. A laurel wreath wilts in just a few hours. It would never be worn a second day. Likewise, the victories and plaudits of this world are short-lived. It’s not long before the world wants to know, “What have you done for me lately?” As leaders with an increasingly eternal perspective, however, we know that our prize will not fade or wear out. During the course of a race, runners don’t stagger from one lane to another. They rivet their attention on the finish line and run a disciplined race toward it. At the start of a marathon, all the runners are crowded together. But over the course of the race they spread out. And an interesting thing happens – fewer people finish than start. The race of life is not to be compared with a sprint. Let’s not deceive ourselves. Life is a marathon. And in the marathon, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that matters most. We start so well only to end so poorly. Lack of adequate training may not show up at first, but enthusiasm and passion will eventually give way to fatigue.
If you want to be an effective leader, identify the habits you need to build into your life so you can lead with diligence – habits such as physical fitness, balance between work and home, financial and personal accountability, pro-activity in the workplace and the like. Strap on your shoes and get going. Disciplined habits will give you the momentum you need to not only move forward, but also to run your earthly race with strength and purpose.
Composure, presence of mind, cool-headedness, patience, self-possession, restraint – only a few people display these qualities, and those who do usually make effective leaders. People who demonstrate the fruit of self-control are productive, dependable and influential Self-discipline is needed to stretch us beyond our own comfort zones and areas of personal inertia. For some, the needed discipline will be more in the realm of the emotions; for others the focus of self-control will be in the realm of the mind or of the will.
We live in an undisciplined time. People seek freedom through excess, but they find only bondage. They seek pleasure through passion but find pain instead. We need more self-discipline.
Self-discipline may be defined simply as that quality that allows a person to do what needs to be done when he or she doesn’t feel like doing it. Success in leadership often comes by simply doing what no one else is willing to do: toughing it out, risking an opinion, making a decision when everyone else is paralyzed by uncertainty. In many situations other people know what to do, but are too tired or afraid or apathetic to act. That’s when someone who is equally tired and equally afraid steps forward and does what’s needed. This person has that elusive quality called self-discipline. And whether from a formal or informal position in the organization, that person provides leadership.
We all have to place boundaries around our lives. We need to form borders that will protect us and enable us to develop. Yet identifying, erecting and living within those boundaries requires personal understanding and self-discipline, especially when those boundaries have to do with changing our own behavior.
Our associations are influencing factors in shaping our character, particularly in our youth. Very often, in our youthful naiveté, we find ourselves desperate to be accepted by the popular crowd. Without discernment, this can lead us to activities we would never have imagined being engaged in on our own, but as part of a group it becomes acceptable behavior. Having an overabundance of loose acquaintances without the depth of a quality friendship can be a dangerous thing. It would be nice to think that all this clears up along with our complexion as we enter adulthood. But that’s not the case. Many of us can think of toxic relationships that are still present long into our middle years. Perhaps there is someone in your life who is so perceptive and clever that you have been unaware of the effects of his razor tongue. You enjoy your time with him, but his humor always comes at someone else’s expense. That’s a toxic relationship.
This kind of self-discipline is challenging because it involves evaluating relationships with other people – some of which are extremely difficult to manage – recognizing their destructive attributes, and then acting to change the nature of the relationship or to cut it off. Doing so requires a great deal of personal self-evaluation and self-discipline, because more often than not a good deal of the relationship dynamic – for good or for ill – has to do with us. There are two extremes to be avoided: One is total independence, and the other is codependence. The balance is interdependence, and I can move toward this as I become more aware of the true source of my security. If my sense of worth is tied to self and selfish desires, I will move toward the extreme of independence. I will run from community at the first sign of difficulty and shut others out. If my sense of worth is tied to other people, I will move toward the extreme of co-dependence. I will avoid all conflict, even when I need to confront people. However, if my foundation for security and worth is deeper than that, I can stand in the tension of interdependence.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, self-disciplined.” author=”Harry Emerson Fosdick”/]
Self-discipline Matters More Than IQ
An American study has found that a school pupil’s self-discipline is a stronger predictor of their future academic success than their IQ, leading researchers to conclude that self-discipline may be the “royal road” to building academic achievement.
In a first study, Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania) recruited 140 school children (average age 13 years) at the start of the academic year. In the Autumn, the children, their parents and teachers, all completed questionnaires about the children’s self-discipline. The measures asked things about the children’s ability to follow rules, to avoid acting impulsively, and to put off instant rewards for later gratification. Scores from the different measures were combined to create an overall indicator of self-discipline.
The researchers found self-discipline predicted all sorts of academic measures taken seven months later, including the children’s average grade for the academic year, their Spring exam result and their selection into High School.
A second study with 164 children (average age 13) followed a similar procedure but also involved the children taking an IQ test in the Autumn. Self-discipline again predicted later academic performance, as measured by their average grade for the year and their Spring exam result. Moreover, the researchers found that the children’s self-discipline scores accounted for twice as much of the variation in their later academic performance as their IQ did.
The researchers said “Underachievement among American youth is often blamed on inadequate teachers, boring textbooks, and large class sizes. We suggest another reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline”.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to have” author=”Andy Andrews”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-respect is the root of self-discipline. The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to one’s self.” author=”Abraham Joshua Heschel”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Some people regard self-discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” author=”Julie Andrews”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I spent much of my ninth summer on a bicycle. About a mile from our house the road went down a steep hill and turned sharply at the bottom. Coasting down the hill one morning, I felt my gathering speed to be ecstatic. To give up this ecstasy by applying brakes seemed an absurd self-punishment. So I resolved to simultaneously retain my speed and negotiate the corner. My ecstasy ended seconds later when I was propelled a dozen feet off the road into the woods. I was badly scratched and bleeding, and the front wheel of my new bike was twisted beyond use from its impact against a tree. I had been unwilling to suffer the pain of giving up my ecstatic speed in the interest of maintaining my balance around the corner. I learned, however, that the loss of balance is ultimately more painful than the giving up required to maintain balance. It is a lesson I have continually had to relearn. As must everyone, for as we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives, we must continually give up parts of ourselves.” author=”M. Scott Peck”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Something in human nature causes us to start slacking off at our moment of greatest accomplishment. As you become successful, you will need a great deal of self-discipline not to lose your sense of balance, humility, and commitment.” author=”Ross Perot”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Stay in your seat come times of trouble. Its only people who jump off the roller coaster who get hurt.” author=”Paul Harvey”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “No” to yourself.” author=”Sydney Harris”/]
Change and Shape Your Life with Self-Discipline
By Diane Ronnow
Self-discipline is a powerful tool that can help you accomplish about anything you can dream or imagine. Self-discipline is the act of controlling our emotions, actions, thoughts, words and personal direction. Some people seem to be naturally self-controlled and some seem to have no self-control at all. Others seem to constantly struggle with self-discipline.
Discipline is learning to say “no” to our primitive uncontrolled cravings and selfish destructive desires. We develop self-management when we begin to distinguish the difference between what is actually needed and what is truly unnecessary.
Because of the ease of modern society and our ability to get anything we want at a push of a button or the swipe of a card, it is far more difficult to exert self-control today than it has been in any other time in human history. Added to this is the brainwashing of advertising that tells us to crave things.
The first step to gaining self-control is to identify the areas where we are out of control. Work on self-denial in the areas you want to change. Deny yourself a certain pleasure each day. Then begin to start small with little victories each day, like eating one less snack or watching one less television show.
A key to discipline is developing routines. People who have routines tend to be more disciplined and accomplish more. If you are one of those people who have trouble with routines, try adding just one at a time. Keep it simple. Work on the things that are most important first. Evaluate yourself regularly to see how you are doing. Reward yourself for keeping at it. Once it becomes a habit, it is much easier to maintain.
Of course, routines can be done to excess, so remember to give yourself a little healthy leeway in case the unexpected comes up.
The power behind some of the world’s greatest achievements is strong motivation and the ability to persist despite previous failures. Motivation is the fire that fuels our efforts toward success. There is no use in trying to master self-discipline if you have no motivation to have it. Motivation is a result of strong personal desire that directs a person’s actions and thoughts and helps create situations that move toward a specific accomplishment.
Motivation must come from within, not from an outside source. For example, if you diet because your spouse wants you to, it is poor motivation, and you will probably not do well at it. It is only when you truly desire to control your habits and behaviors that you will achieve self-discipline. Motivation brings about true change.
One way to increase motivation is through pressure. Tell your friends, co-workers and family about your commitment to change something in your life. Peer pressure can be a powerful motivator.
Motivation works hand in hand with self-discipline and organization. Lack in these areas can lead to a greater number of failures and failures lead to poor motivation. When you begin to structure your day and organize yourself, the motivation that moved you to change will continue to add fuel to the fire.
As you work toward change in your life, you will eventually experience failure. The only way to defeat failure is through persistence and perseverance. The most common reason people give up on achieving their goals is because they encountered failure once or twice and they become afraid to try again. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” Before you even begin, you must plan to deal with failure. Be ready to persevere. Vow to never give up, no matter what, no matter how long it takes![do action=”vfquote” quote=”Develop your willpower so that you can make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” author=”Brian Tracy”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Dignity does not float down from heaven it cannot be purchased nor manufactured. It is a reward reserved for who learn and practice self-discipline.” author=”Bill Hybels”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Self-discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” author=”Roy L. Smith”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Do not consider painful what is good for you.” author=”Euripedes”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which self-discipline and order are relieved with some play and some pure foolishness.” author=”May Sarton”/]
Teaching Self-Discipline to Your Preteen
By Teri Brown
They’re loud, excitable, savvy and totally obsessed with their friends. They can also be thoughtful, quiet and affectionate with their family. The one constant with preteens is how changeable they are. But as they head into their teens, parents begin to worry about how they will face the challenges and temptations of the future. It all comes down to one word: self-discipline. Do they have the self-discipline to make it in today’s demanding world?
One definition of self-discipline, as it pertains to preteens, is the ability to make yourself do that which you don’t want to do and the capability to stop yourself from doing what you shouldn’t be doing.
Trina Lambert, mother of two from Englewood, Colo., has an 11-year-old daughter whose interests and passions range from martial arts to music, which Lambert feels would be great if her daughter had any propensity to follow through.
“It’s rather stressful watching her not practicing for activities like taekwondo and violin lessons and then wondering if she’s going to have to pay the piper,” Lambert says. “If she approached these attempts with more self-discipline, I would find more enjoyment in her doing them.”
Lambert’s daughter is very self-disciplined in some things. She works extremely hard at her schoolwork, for instance, but doesn’t seem to take that focus to the rest of her life.
“I am upset at how she seems to leave me in charge of keeping track of time,” Lambert says. “Although we have clocks in the house, she doesn’t put any responsibility in getting herself out the door to lessons, classes or practices. I’ve bought her a watch, but she lost it. She wants to do everything, but not be responsible for getting there on time or for being prepared by keeping the equipment bags ready or by getting dressed when she should.”
Lambert isn’t sure how to help her daughter improve in this area. “I model to her how important it is to be on time,” Lambert says. “I use timers to help myself, and I keep a close eye on the clock. I think she is so used to this being my job that she is not maturing in this area.”
Lambert fears her final lesson will be letting her daughter fail.
So how are we supposed to teach our children self-discipline?
Like adults, some children just naturally seem more self-disciplined than others. Susan Wickert’s daughter just sailed through her preteen years, and Wickert isn’t sure she did anything to facilitate her daughter’s self-discipline. “Rachel has always been self-disciplined,” Wickert says. “People have even made comments about it, and I tell them I have no idea where she got it.”
Whether your preteen falls on the higher or lower end of the self-discipline spectrum, it’s important for all parents to understand how to teach their children responsibility and self-determination. It’s not only crucial to their survival of the teen years, but to their success as an adult.
Patty Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul (Health Communications, 1998) and Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul (Hci, 2000), believes that preteens are ready to learn what it means to be self-disciplined, because developmentally, they are ready to become a little more autonomous when it comes to making decisions.
“In their younger years, they looked to their parents to lead the way, and they were more readily influenced by an authority figure,” Hansen says. “During the preteen years they become more aware of the ‘outside’ world and begin to incorporate what they learn ‘out there’ into the decision-making equation.”
To Hansen, the mother of two children, self-discipline for preteens means the ability to choose right from wrong based upon past parental guidelines, listening to their “inner” self, their innate knowledge of correct action and the strength to stand up for their own beliefs and to not succumb to peer pressure.
“A preteen is very aware of the consequences of making a wrong decision,” Hansen says. “They become aware that their friends may have been raised differently than they were, and they begin to question the values and morals of their own family, as well as those of society in general. Although, at times, they may yearn for the days when their parents made all of their decisions for them, they are well aware that they are on the verge of stepping out into the world … more or less on their own.”
So exactly how does a parent go about instilling self-discipline in her child? According to Hansen, the most important advantages a parent has is that the preteen very much wants and needs parental involvement. She believes that talking to your preteen is critical.
“The easiest way to bring up self-discipline, or ‘how to act in any situation and keep your dignity,’ is to create time to just talk with your child,” Hansen says. It does not necessarily have to be about anything specific, but if you create the time to give to them, your kids will talk.
According to Hansen, as children become autonomous, they pull away from parental influence and become more introspective, which many parents interpret as becoming withdrawn. At this age, it is more important than ever to get children to open up and be willing to share what is going on inside of them.
“The absolute best way to do this is to create a neutral environment where you can discuss preteen issues in general,” Hansen says. “It gives your child a chance to share what is going on, but they themselves are not on the hot seat.”
Hansen suggests that you spend time with your child to facilitate discussions. Watch a TV show together, spend a special day at the movies, go online together or read a story relevant to the preteen years. The important thing is to use whatever media you choose not only as a vehicle for spending time together, but to create an atmosphere conducive to communication. Use it as a launch pad for discussion. Try to ask questions that can’t be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.” Ask for elaboration and examples.
“Once you get the lines of communication open, you will be amazed at what kids will be willing to share with you,” Hansen says. “In so many of the thousands of letters that we get from preteens, one thing is repeated over and over: ‘I wish my parents had more time to spend with me,’ and ‘My parents work too much and they are never home.'”
Teaching your child self-discipline takes a combination of things, none of them easy. Modeling responsible behavior, spending time with your child, even if they act like they don’t need it, and setting reasonable limits on their behavior is all a part of the self-discipline equation.
“It becomes your responsibility to learn how to walk that fine line between seeing your child as the adult that he will soon become and continuing to love him as the child that he still is, how to give him privacy and yet know what he is doing at all times, to be respectful of his individuality and yet continue to help him form his wings,” Hansen says. “It is a huge challenge, but these preteen kids are awesome – and well worth it.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Everybody starts at the top, and then has the problem of staying there. Lasting accomplishment, however, is still achieved through a long, slow climb and self-discipline.” author=”Helen Hayes”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” author=”Rob Gilbert”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I define self-discipline, in the beginning of life, as the choice of achieving what I really want by doing things I really don’t want to do. Once this becomes a habit, self-discipline becomes the choice of achieving what I really want by doing the very things I now want to do! I really believe that a disciplined life becomes a joy–but only after we have worked hard to practice it.” author=”John Maxwell”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it won word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating. All it takes is self-discipline–daily self-discipline, not annual discipline.” author=”Charles Swindoll”/]
Taming the Lazy Monkey
By Steven Aitchison
Every morning I have a freezing cold shower, why? Because part of my mind says ‘Don’t do it, it’s just stupid’ and that same part of my mind give’s lots of different reasons not to do it. Each morning I fight that inner voice and discipline it to accept that I am taking a freezing cold shower. I believe there are benefits to having a cold shower which is why I started the discipline in the first place.
Self-discipline is a skill and once you get to grips with it, it can alter your life.
What is it?
Self-discipline is the training of your mind to control, perceived harmful, urges, and to continue to control these urges until a satisfactory resolution has been sought. Self-discipline occurs in every part of your life right now, you might not have recognized it but it does. When you get out of bed in the morning to go to work, that is self- discipline; when you brush your teeth every morning, that is self-discipline; when you have a shower or a bath every morning, that is self-discipline. Although you might not have recognized it as such we use this skill every day in our lives.
Imagine if you harnessed this power to change different aspects of your life. There are many areas of your life it could benefit; in fact it could benefit every area of your life. If you want to give up smoking, no matter what programs are available to do so, it ultimately comes down to self-discipline. If you want to lose weight, yes it’s great that there are groups of people who are doing the same as they can be a good motivator but again it comes down to self-discipline.
Who’s in control of your mind?
With television, computers, e-mail, radio, mobile phones, video, iPods, newspapers, magazines, etc there has never been an easier way to reach our minds through advertising. A lot of us don’t realize that we are all being manipulated in some way to do things that may be harmful to us. I am not talking conspiracy or anything like that, it’s been a natural progression. Advertisers have become a lot smarter and appealed to our psyche rather than our rational minds, there are some great adverts out there which slip into our minds and build up and eventually get us to act to buy something or do something.
For example our children, especially at this time of year, they are bombarded with adverts for toys and they have to have the latest thing. Why is so much spent on advertising for children when it’s the adults who are buying? Because it’s the children who ultimately apply the pressure for us to buy the latest toy. We all give in and buy that toy don’t we.
The practice of self-discipline
Whilst it’s hard to control your thoughts and actions as a child it should be easier for an adult, you would think! However this is not necessarily the case. If you’ve not been taught self-discipline as a child how are you expected to self-discipline yourself as an adult?
The truth is self-discipline comes automatically for some us as our responsibilities become greater. For example when we get a job, we have to get up at a set time, we have to work a set number of hours, we have to conform to the companies rules and procedures, that’s all self-discipline. Usually the things we learn to practice self- discipline in are the things we are rewarded with e.g. our job, going to the gym, saving money, making love. Depending on the person some of these rewards will be bigger and have more meaning than some of the others.
What good would self-discipline have in your life?
What if you could practice self-discipline in everything you do? How would your life change? Would it change? Think of these questions for a moment.
Some of the areas in your life you could change might be;
- The amount of time spent with the kids
- Your weight
- Your fitness
- The tidiness of your house
- The tidiness of your office
- The cleanliness of your house
- Fixing all the broken things in your house
- The amount of time spent watching TV
- Watching what you eat
- Fasting for one day per week
- Having a cold shower every morning
- Get your finances sorted out
- Write those letters you’ve been meaning to write
- Make the phone calls you’ve been meaning to make
- Organize your life
- Getting up early to be thankful of all the things you have
Self-Discipline – Progress Not Perfection
We all could use more self-discipline, I don’t care who you are! Whether its food, or chocolate, or alcohol, or swearing, or simply being lazy, for most of us, when we really start to think about self-discipline in our lives, we usually feel disappointed in ourselves. We try, we fail… we try, we fail….we try, we fail. Ultimately these see-saw battles end up sabotaging our self-respect. Thoughts of despair regarding our lack of self-discipline are really quite normal. We think that we can make lasting and magnanimous increases in our self-discipline by gaining control over something little. We pick something like giving up chocolate. Such a little thing, and when we fail we get disgusted with ourselves. Truth is, it’s the little things that we struggle with the most.
I think there is a better approach. First of all, come to grips with the fact that we probably really are that undisciplined, self-centered, weak human being that we fear. Stop kidding yourself. Now that you know what kind of animal you are dealing with, forgive yourself for your weaknesses. It’s okay, it’s human nature, we are all weak.
Our battle with self-discipline is going to be a life long struggle, a pilgrimage, and as long as it continues, a gap is almost sure to exist between the person we want to be, and the person that we really are. We should focus on closing this gap. We should focus in getting first downs instead of scoring touchdowns. There will be losses; our weak wills are a strong opponent. In football when the play goes for a loss, we say “next play”, and move on.
If we forgive ourselves and strive for progress instead perfection, our pilgrimage will be more rewarding and successes will eventually fall in place.
Let’s focus on progress not perfection. ….next play.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”He who requires much from himself and little from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment.” author=”Confucius”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”How shall I be able to rule over others, that have not full power and command of myself?” author=”Rabelais”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Success is a matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific, simple habits that always lead to success.” author=”Robert J. Ringer”/]
Self- Discipline and Mental Health
By Mark Tyrrell
Self discipline is not a new idea. There is an old story about a man who went to a tattooist because he had always wanted a tattoo of a lion on his back.
The tattooist started to sketch the tail into the man’s torso: ‘Ouch! What are you doing?’ asked the man. ‘I’m doing the lion’s tail’ replied the tattooist. ‘Well then for goodness sake let’s have a lion without a tail!’ said the man, wincing in pain.
Next the artist set about on the Lion’s whiskers. ‘Ouch!’ cried the man, ‘What’s that?’ ‘The whiskers!’ said the tattooist, getting increasingly irritated. ‘Well let’s have a lion without whiskers!’ moaned his customer.
The tattooist then set about doing the Lion’s back. ‘No that hurts too!’ shouted the man. At this, the tattooist finally lost patience with the man’s lack of self discipline. Throwing down his tools and the man out of his shop he shouted, ‘How can you expect to get what you want without a little discomfort?’
Self discipline gets you what you want
One meaning of this story may be to show how handicapped you are if you base your decisions purely on your comfort level. If we don’t develop the capacity for self discipline we deprive ourselves of not only greater likelihood of success, but also larger and lasting satisfactions.
Knowing we can discipline ourselves over and above what feels comfortable increases self confidence. We need to be stretched as much as we need comfort and rest.
“Don’t have a wishbone where your backbone should be!”
Depression and self discipline
Over recent decades rates of depression have sky-rocketed but during World War II, depression and suicide rates dwindled almost to zero.
Winston Churchill could only offer the British people ‘blood, sweat and tears’ but victory was the greater goal for the whole nation, and so the discomfort it brought could be borne. There was no concept of not working because you didn’t feel like it, and rationing imposed discipline even upon eating patterns.
TV shows such as ‘Brat Camp’, ‘Career Boot Camp’ and ‘Faking It’ have demonstrated the incredible changes in ability and self esteem that can come about from short periods of imposed ‘self’ discipline. On these shows, personal preferences are set aside in pursuit of a longer term goal. They demonstrate that exercising the ‘muscle’ of self discipline hurts at first but pays dividends once it’s in shape.
Long term benefits over short term preferences
We know that the quickest way to raise serotonin levels in a depressed individual (a neurotransmitter involved in mood elevation, emotion control and the ability to feel satisfied) is to get them moving – the quicker and longer they move, the more serotonin they produce.
However exercise is the last thing a depressed person feels like doing. This is where the capacity to put aside short term preferences for long term benefits comes into its own. (Someone who is deeply depressed may need to recover from the depression a little through relaxation and proper rest before they begin to gain energy through exercise.)
Increase your capacity
Like any capacity the more we use self discipline, the stronger it gets. Imagine your own life for a few moments if what you did was dictated entirely by whether you felt like doing it or not! What exactly would you do? And more importantly what wouldn’t you do?
The more we do things we don’t want to do, the more we are able to do: “It is the exercised muscle that lifts the weight!”
We are bombarded by commercials tempting us with beautiful products without indication of the effort, dedication, self discipline and time – “I want it and I want it now!” – required to purchase such products. (Neither do the commercials, quite naturally, show us taking the product for granted after only a few weeks and ceasing to be satisfied by it.)
Getting something is usually short term satisfaction compared to the inner rewards of the effort applied in acquiring it.
We are told not to ‘go overboard!’ but how do we know what ‘going overboard’ is if we have never used self discipline to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone? To grow, we must step outside the box. Otherwise, like the man who wanted a tattoo they will end up with just whiskers and a tail.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.” author=”Hesiod (8th century B.C.)”/]