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Self-discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do the thing you should do even if you do not feel like doing it and without anyone making you to do it. It is also the ability to control your feelings and overcome your weaknesses and limitations. It involves concentrating purposely on one particular thing. Self-discipline implies self-control and self-mastery.

When you make a decision to do or not to do something, and you use your self-discipline to stick resolutely to your decision even if you don’t want to, you are also practising self-control. You feel good inside and in control of your life. The more you discipline yourself, the more self-respect you develop. More self-respect increases your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-discipline is also about keeping promises and meeting commitments. For example, you fulfil your commitment to meet a friend for a purpose rather than delaying or postponing it to meet a close relative from whom you have just received a call inviting you over for a drink. You make good on your promise to return her book although you have not finished reading it. Promises include those you make to yourself. Making promises and honouring them is also about personal responsibility. When you face up to your responsibilities, you retain your self-discipline and self-respect.

Assuming you have a job to do and you don’t like doing it. Not liking doing it is no excuse for not doing it or simply getting it through without regard to whether it is well done. You don’t enjoy doing it but you still have to do it well until completion. Here is where self-discipline plays an important role. Having self-discipline spurs you to do a job properly and to complete it despite not having the mood or enthusiasm to do it.

The persistent practice of virtues requires sustained discipline. Each time you persist in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition, your self-discipline ensures you do not quit. Being able to do that strengthens your discipline which in turn strengthens your resolve to persist in overcoming even more difficult situations. This makes you a more determined person.

Everyone likes to achieve something and be successful. But to achieve something does not come easy. Attaining an achievement usually involves thorough preparation, making considerable sacrifices, and more importantly supreme self-discipline. There is simply no alternative to accomplishing something with one’s own effort, courage and a right dose of self-discipline.

Self-discipline is an essential element in self-mastery. The pursuit of self-mastery is an almost, if not an endless process. You want to have control over what you think and how you feel. It is essential that you are capable of disciplining yourself to think only good thoughts and feel inner calm at all times in order to master yourself. Cultivate self-discipline first before you attempt at gaining self-mastery.

There may be times when you are lax in exercising self-discipline. When you allow yourself a minor act of indiscipline, you are setting a bad precedent which can be used to give excuses to support undisciplined actions in the future. A small weakness like that is likely to be viewed harmlessly as such. But it can spell the beginning of the weakening of your confidence. Self-discipline must be maintained at all times. Not doing so is creating a personal weakness that has an effect on all of your other values, which eventually affect your actions and behaviour.

We know that intelligence is not enough to get very good grades in examinations. There are other factors involved, the most significant of which in deciding who should get the good grades is self-discipline. The other factors are attitude, interest and motivation. The methods of teaching and the way the teachers conduct the teaching are just as important. But priority goes to cultivating self-discipline in learning. In fact, self-discipline is of greater importance that intelligence in much of life.

There are people with recognized qualifications, and great skill and flair. Yet, they are not successful in life. They feel dissatisfied or unfulfilled. They blame it on fate, their luck and a host of other things. What they fail to realize is the complete lack of self-discipline. Exercising self-discipline to begin, follow through and successfully complete an activity is of vital importance.

It is imperative that we ever be on guard to prevent negative influences from infiltrating our mind. Unfavorable comments and unfriendly or bad-tempered actions from other people at times can affect us adversely. If we discipline ourselves to refuse to accept what they say as part of our character, these external influences will not have any effect on us no matter how powerful they are. Self-doubt too will be dispelled.

Everyone has their own weaknesses. It’s unwise to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. Acknowledge that you have them. But do not empower them by accepting or encouraging them. This way, they have no influence or effect upon you. It is by acknowledging their presence in you that you can take corrective measures. Self-discipline is required to eradicate them regardless of the length of time it takes. Sooner or later, you will have less or virtually no faults. You will then find yourself a more perfect person than when you started out to rid yourself of the weaknesses.

Quitting a bad and entrenched habit is never easy for those who lack self-discipline. Countless people try to break themselves of the smoking, eating or drug habit. They stop smoking and taking drug but before long, they revert to their old habits. During the initial brief period after stopping the habit, the demand for self-discipline to overcome their desire to resume their previous habit is the greatest. Most of the time, their discipline is not powerful enough to prevent them from reverting.

Every day we must bear in mind that we have to practise self-discipline so that we live in accordance with our values. When we have formed the habit of distinguishing right from wrong and live our life accordingly, we become a person of impeccable moral character. We do not easily succumb to undesirable temptations. We strive for continuous improvement and success for we know there is no success without self-discipline.