Discipline and its Impact

 Discipline has the negative connotation of “Stopping Yourself” from thinking or doing things or punishing yourself or others for breaking the rules.

“If I have more discipline, I’ll lose more weight.”
“I must discipline myself to have only 2 beers not 6.”
“I must be punished because I broke the rules.”
“I must eat only one cookie because more than that will affect my diabetes.”

Self-Discipline means “Self-Control” (self-management).
Disciplining others is putting yourself in the position of being “Judge and Jury”.

 Either way you are being “Judgmental”. You are thinking negatively about yourself or others.

The question now is: “How well does negativity motivate you or the others around you?”
In reality: “How well has self-discipline helped you?”
In my case, I have given up as often as I have followed through.
(Losing weight, Learning a new language, Running a marathon.)

 Don’t get me wrong, I have accomplished a lot by being self-disciplined. But it has always felt a little like “gaining through self-denial”. If living life to the fullest means finding fulfillment then self-sacrifice feels slightly empty. I can still accomplish things through self-discipline but it doesn’t feel as self-satisfying.

 In general, self-discipline will get things done for me, but there is always a feeling that I had to “settle” for less because I was being self-disciplined.

 “All behaviour is purposeful.” We always analyze our thinking and actions to see if we got the results we wanted. Self-discipline gets you the results, but the feeling of self-satisfaction is not as good as we would like because of the limitation we set for ourselves through self-discipline. Something always seems to be missing.

 Self-Discipline is a “Habit” we develop early in life. We hide our Halloween candies so we can enjoy them for more than just one day. We save the best for last (favorite desert, or food). We hide under the covers at night to fool our parents so we can read our favorite book. We don’t participate in office gossip, because we want to appear more professional. We want that raise or promotion so we try to make ourselves look better than the other guys.

 Discipline is a tool to control and manipulate ourselves or others. Used effectively, it gets results. Unfortunately, the “satisfaction of a job well done” does not always accompany it. There always seems to be something missing.


The Impact of Consciously Setting Priorities

 I “SHOULD” do this or I “SHOULD” do the other thing. This is self-induced pressure. This attitude fosters the feeling of anxiety and guilt because I haven’t done it yet and the fear that I might never get to it either.

 Now let’s change one word in the above sentence. I “COULD” do this or I “COULD” do the other thing. This is self-induced opportunity. This attitude frees my to do the things I want to do when I want to do them.

 When I “SHOULD” on myself, I must discipline myself to do what I am told (my agenda or someone else’s). There is always some reluctance because I am being forced to do things (by myself or by other people). Upon completion, the feeling of satisfaction is one of relief because it is over and not the joy of accomplishment.

 When I “COULD” do things, then I can set my own agenda and I can then set my own priority for each task. “I do what I want and I do it my way”. Upon completion, the feeling of satisfaction is one of Pride and Joy. My self-worth and self-esteem are on the rise and I am looking forward to my next accomplishment.

 My point here is: when my attitude is “Should” then I must discipline myself (reluctantly or otherwise) to follow a pre-determined agenda and time scale. I’ll feel relieved when I’m done but not joyful because it was a must do project and not my first choice.

 When my attitude is “Could” then I am free to do any project pieces in any order. My feeling of accomplishment is exhilarating because I am I continuous success mode. I choose my tasks and I choose their priorities.

 The key word here is “Attitude”.

 If you continuously want to discipline yourself then you are operating in a negative environment where typically you will do only what is required and Job Satisfaction will be at a minimum because you are being forced so to speak.

 If you continuously set your priorities, then you tend to accomplish more and are far more satisfied with your results. You are in control of your actions and your accomplishment. You will probably achieve more and feel better about it than if you were forced.


Gathering Wisdom:

1.   I am not enthusiastic about “Discipline”. It does not motivate me, in fact it has the exact opposite effect. Discipline feels like Forced Labour or Punishment. Even if the outcomes are good, the pride of accomplishment feels less than satisfying.

2.   Setting my own priorities feels like I am in control of my own life. I am far more enthusiastic about doing things that are important to me and doing them my own way.

3.   I am surprised at how much better I feel about consciously choosing the tasks I want done and when I want to do them, rather than forcing (disciplining) myself to do them.

4.   Attitude is everything. Setting my own priorities gives me clarity and purpose. Living by someone else’s agenda restricts my learning and growth.


Douglas Jones


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