Discipline is a funny character, as the results of having or not having discipline are seldom seen in the immediate time frame that we experience. I often use the example of maintaining a car. If I choose to forego changing the oil in the car – the results are not immediate. You may drive the car for 50,000 miles before bad things happen. The lack of discipline to stay on the schedule for oil changes will catch up to you.
If you choose to not brush your teeth for several days – your teeth will not fall out immediately – but over time with continued lack of discipline for brushing your teeth will end up costing you your dental health. In fact if you choose not to practice any skill, it may not show up right away – I am sure you can think of many examples – but eventually you will suffer the consequences of not being your best or losing something that may have had some level of importance to you.
Discipline though will enable you to do the small things that do not have immediate rewards so that you can achieve the bigger dream. It may be skill based, sports, musical instrument or it may be in math or the sciences. Whatever the arena, our willingness to train ourselves to do what needs to be done – when it needs to be done will ultimately pay off in our meeting our goals, and being productive at the highest level.
The opposite – the lack of discipline will lead us to procrastinate, play and flit around from one idea to another – but it will never bring us the satisfaction of mastery of any skill or ideal.
Carefully cultivate your character with Discipline.
Do you want to have fun so much in your life that you have given up on the idea of commitment and follow through – because the work has gotten boring or frustrating? It was Zig Ziglar who said, “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
Many struggle with the perseverance factor. Discipline, keeps us on track, resisting distractions, not allowing ourselves to be blown about with every new thing or idea that comes along. This is one of those virtues that I personally struggle with, being interested in many different issues affecting families and children.
In the past I have called it growth and evolution – but sometimes I wonder if it is that or if it is a lack of discipline. Recently I looked at this issue again and have refocused my efforts on the family. What is the one thing that you are focused on that requires your commitment and discipline to reach your goal? Whatever it may be – You and I have the practice of self-discipline and the self control to make wise choices.
If the way to learn to be disciplined is to use the the 3 W rule:
I want… I will… I won’t…
then the next part of discipline is to determine what our personal rules are, otherwise known as our personal “I rules”. These ‘I rules’ are about rules that we have for ourselves. It is what we believe is important for our life. They are personal and should not be set by others or their wishes.
I may have a rule that says that I will always work hard when learning a new skill. Others may have a rule that says “I will make everything I do fun” or “I will be kind no matter what others say or do.” All adults have these rules, even if they have never verbalized them for themselves or others. It is the way we personally approach everything in life, the way we do things.
Our children will have or create their own rules, influenced by those around them. Don’t we as their parent want to be that influence? As a parent I would not like to leave them to make up their rules based on what they see in the media or what their friends or neighbors are doing.
All of these factors will influence them however. Therefore we must be aware and careful about who and what we surround ourselves and them with, both in media, friends, coaches and teachers. If we as a family have a mission, if we have our family core values and we are able to say, “In our family we do this or that in this way….” our children will understand the expectation we have set up, not just for them – but for ourselves – for our family. This is Discipline and yes this is Self Discipline too.
Parents – So you say you want your child to develop self-discipline? Do you know what is required to strengthen this quality in ourselves and our children and how to develop self – discipline?
There are four necessary components to achieve success in developing self discipline that all of us will recognize when we think about those that have started a diet but did not follow through, that wanted to write a book, start a new business, achieve black belt rank, get straight A’s, save a certain amount of money or what ever the goal is that was not achieved.
The four components of self discipline that all need to be strengthened are: Self Control, Motivation, Persistence, Goals. Anyone who started writing a book, could never start the business that they dreamed of, quit at yellow belt, or gave up on a monetary goal, most likely did so due to a lack of self discipline.
Aristotle is quoted as saying: “I count him braver who overcomes his desire than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”
Learning to say NO to ourselves and our personal cravings is one of the first steps in developing self control. We are marketed to and sold on the idea constantly in the media of what we ‘need’, when in fact what is really necessary and what are simple urges or desires are quite different. Can we tell the difference in our own lives and can we help our children to learn the difference. Will we take the time to consider the differences or just act on the urge? This is simply one of the hardest with so many forces (external) telling us what we need to look and feel successful.
Can we deny what we want or crave? Can we fight the influence of advertising and our accessibility to so much? Can we teach our children by example and action what self control is or will we teach them to give in to the brainwashing of society and our own personal cravings to get or take what we want. Without self control, self discipline is impossible.
I will continue this discussion in later articles on the other parts of gaining Self Discipline.