What Is The Big Deal About Discipline?
Discipline is one of the most difficult skills to master. So when I write about it, I am also writing as someone who needs to improve myself.
Many of us have big ideas and plans about the different things we wish to do, learn or accomplish. About the places we want to go to or the people we want to meet. But truthfully many of us never accomplish these dreams. We could be tempted to say it is because we never got the right opportunities in life so we were not able to achieve our goals. However, if we are honest with ourselves and if we look back over our lives to reflect, we will see that all of us had opportunities that we did not seize. I want to suggest to you that one of the reasons is because we were not disciplined enough to seize them.
Something that I reflect on here is this verse from the Bible:
2 Timothy 1:7 (New Living Translation)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
I firmly believe from this verse that we all have the capacity to be self-disciplined, and I also believe that discipline is like a muscle. We need to exercise it and strengthen it. But instead of lifting weights, this muscle of discipline is strengthened through the choices we make, the habits we form and the company we keep.
The Difference Maker
What is self-discipline exactly? The Oxford dictionary describes self discipline as the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses.
We live in a world where everyone is led by their feelings. It is a post-existential world without boundaries, and whatever feels good is good. What is good for me works and what is good for you works too, even if they are polar opposites. Everything goes! Or so we think.
The trouble is that although our society espouses this view it also expects people to conform to certain behaviours at the same time and will not accept anything contrary. So in truth, no one person’s view gets to be the final word. Society still expects a certain amount of self-discipline in order to conform to social norms.
And all of us still value when a person with self-discipline enters the situation. They are always a game changer – someone who instills people with confidence and someone who people know they can rely on.
Discipline in Life
So how can we gain self-discipline in life? Remember: my premise and my belief is that we all can build self-discipline.
One way is through the daily habits we form. For example, with some simple tasks that have helped me over the years: making my bed in the morning, self-grooming, keeping a tidy home, practicing organization (although I am still working on this one…).
Believe it or not, these simple daily practices help to lay a foundation for self-discipline. Our parents actually knew what they were doing when they insisted on these items. They build healthy habits that we can translate to every area of life.
How We Relate To Each Other
Another thing that can help us build self-discipline is loving people well. You might be surprised to hear this, and wonder how this works? Let me show you. On our own, without self-discipline, our chief aim will become to satisfy our own desires and needs. In fact, I have met many people who live their lives like this – including myself at one point.
It is very easy to get into a situation where life just revolves around you. Society enforces this with all our talk of self-love, self-care, me time etc. Up to a point, these things are good, but contemporary society has blasted past that point until all this self-love simply means we are selfish. It takes discipline, compassion and the ability to see others before yourself to love people well. And I do believe that if we did this well there would be far less broken relationships.
Health and Fitness
Another area where discipline is uber important is with regards to your health. Too often we take our health for granted; we eat badly, have poor fitness regimes and even our posture is bad. The result of this is a body that ages prematurely, losing strength and flexibility and setting ourselves up for a host of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, arthritis, etc.
It is easy to allow other demands like family or work to take priority (as they should) and neglect our health. But to completely neglect our bodies is something we do at our own peril. As my wife says, we only have one body so we need to take care of it.
I have definitely been guilty of neglecting this over time. In fact the whole reason for this website is to help others like myself who fail to work out because of time constraints. Let me encourage you again to be disciplined enough to take 15-20 minutes daily to make a positive change for your body.
Self-discipline in business
In our careers it is easy to get caught up in our day to day workflow and it is important to exercise self-discipline to take control, and not allow work to control you.
One of the biggest areas at work is continuing education. Many companies have loads of great training opportunities but you can easily find yourself in over your head with the amount of work you have to do so you never avail yourself of these courses. Again here is where we need discipline to carve out time to do some training, even just two hours over a two week stretch. It is essential for your own development. Work will always be there, and we need to organize our schedules to make work benefit us.
So how do we move on from here?
Let me say it again: discipline is something that can be practiced and improved like a muscle, but sometimes we need help. Just like a spotter who helps with a heavy lift, sometimes we need a friend and partner to help us stay the course. I have found in my own life that having someone to keep us accountable is a great way to achieve my goals.
All of us have the ability to help someone else achieve their goals. For myself, the two areas that I would love accountability in are:
1. Daily fitness
2. Continuing education
Who wants to join me? Together we can reach our goals with encouragement and keeping each other honest!
If this is something you are interested in, leave a comment on the article or message me on the app or send an email to me and we can set up a group to encourage each other to strive for better and better.