Discipline is one of the most difficult words that I know. No, it isn’t a spelling thing! The difficulty comes from all the aspects that it encompasses. All of the little things that are required to truly have discipline.
The importance of goals will not be included here beyond the point that you NEED goals for your life in order to accomplish anything. How big your goals are will dictate how much discipline you need to develop.
U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven in his speech to the University of Texas 2014 graduating class listed 10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training.
1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
It is amazing how something so small and trivial can start you out the right way. It isn’t about being rewarded by your parents for doing your chores. It is about taking responsibility to get things done. As Aristotle said…
There are dozens of everyday things that help develop discipline. These range from following a bedtime and a wake-up time to regular oil changes in your car. Discipline allows you to build on successful and failed activities. It helps in remembering the lessons from everything that you do.
A common example comes from learning any subject. Once you set a goal (earn the next martial arts rank), you must spend the time and effort to learn and perform properly. It is common that students “think” they know their material but fail horribly when tested on it. This is usually from the lack of applying discipline to their training. I use pretests to show students that they aren’t as ready as they think. Once they’ve completed the pretest., I ask them if it was their best performance. Usually, they admit not. My next question becomes “why wasn’t it?” It may take several ranks of repeating this cycle before it sinks in but most eventually recognize that it is discipline that keeps “good enough” from ruining “excellent.”
It is important to utilize discipline in everything you do daily. The benefits of a little discipline changes your whole day just because you know where your car keys are. People also greatly enjoy when you apply discipline to getting things done that you said you would. This is also part of your career. Not completing tasks can lead to unemployment. In your private life, it builds trust and shows respect.
How can you tell if your discipline is lacking? I’ve asked students (in front of their parents) the question “How many times should you be told to do something??” The answer from students is “Once!” How many times did you need to be told to get the last project/chore done?