virgin islands scene

Man can be defeated but not destroyed.
-- Ernest Hemingway


The MONTHLY Motivator - August 2004

Self discipline

Self discipline makes the difference between a life of achievement, and a life of aimless mediocrity. It is perhaps the most vital characteristic of any successful, effective person. Without self discipline, life is frustrating, with sporadic and elusive results. Self discipline brings out the enormous potential that exists in every person.

The dictionary defines discipline as an “orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior,” as “control gained by enforcing obedience or order” and as “self control.”

Discipline can come from the outside or from the inside. The most useful kind of discipline is self discipline, from the inside. If you wait until discipline is forced on you, your options are limited. When it comes from the inside, discipline gives you control over your own life, and provides an extremely effective means for accomplishment of almost any worthwhile goal.

Self discipline is doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. It is making a consistent effort for as long as it takes to accomplish your goal. It happens when an awareness of the need for action is immediately followed by the action itself. This behavior results in an upward spiral of activity that leads to goal achievement.

It is great to have goals. In order for them to be meaningful, you must make the commitment to pursue them, to take the actions necessary to achieve them.

To accomplish anything, steady effort is needed. Self discipline is what delivers that effort, day after day, month after month, year after year until the goal is reached. Self discipline is the price you pay for achievement. Constant self discipline is not easy. Everything comes at a price, and success is no exception. You basically have two choices in your life. You can chose the “easy” life, a life free from effort, that achieves very little, or you can chose to pay the price for success, and achieve it, by imposing discipline on yourself.

In your quest to improve yourself and your life, knowledge is not enough, skills are not enough, good intentions are not enough, the right connections are not enough, great ideas are not enough. These are all very useful and important, yet without self discipline you fall short of your goals. It is through self discipline that you can apply all of the resources available to you. The setting of life goals, and the pursuit of those goals, requires constant, consistent self discipline.

Self discipline allows you to take control and keep control of life your own life. It brings the ability to fashion yourself and your lifestyle in any way you choose. Self discipline is the major key to the “good life” because it puts you in complete control. You have no choice -- someone or something will control your life. You are either serving your own dreams, or serving the dreams of someone else. With self discipline, your life is controlled by you. You can follow your own dreams, live life on your own terms. The effort required for self discipline is paid off many times over in the things it brings into your life -- things of your own choosing, things that are important and meaningful to you.

To continue reading this member-only content, please log in if you are a current subscriber/member, or if you’re not already a member, you can join today for an annual price of just $15 and get immediate access to the full text of this article and many others, plus additional member-only content such as downloadable audio programs and e-books. If you’re not ready to join right now, we invite you to look through our extensive archive of more than 6,000 shorter daily messages, which are fully available for everyone to read.

--Ralph Marston

More Monthly Motivators...