Understanding Self-Discipline

In module 3 we discuss about our very idea about self-discipline. We should know what we pretend to improve when we work at a program of self-development. “ If you do not know where you want to go, it does not matter which way you take”. In this module we want to pin down the concept of self-discipline into practical terms so that we can really do something with it.

Part one-Self-Discipline module -3

Understanding Self-Discipline

“Apply your heart to discipline” proverbs. 23.12)

 

What Is Self-Discipline?

To begin with: explore your feelings and ideas about self-discipline. Frequently, one’s beliefs about self-discipline will dictate one’s behavior.


Do you think self-discipline difficulty is caused by:

  • lack of time management skills
  • lack of organizational skills
  • lack of ambition
  • lack of concrete goals
  • lack of motivation
  • indecisiveness
  • tendency to procrastinate
  • laziness

 

All of these ideas surface when people are asked about self-discipline problems. With which ones do you agree? No matter, because they all represent symptomsof self-discipline difficulties rather than causes. In this program you will deal with causes.

At this very moment, even as you read, you are getting at the root of the problem, rather than pursuing changes that provide only temporary relief from symptoms. The common surface symptoms disappear automatically as you confront the deeper causes of self-discipline difficulties.

Indeed, you are making changes that will last a lifetime. To continue making those positive changes you’ll need to understand the true nature of self-discipline.

Before you can develop self-discipline, you must first understand what it is. Ironically, the first step toward understanding what it is, lies in knowing what it isn’t.


Self-discipline is not:

  • A personality trait that either you have or you don’t have.
  • Forcing yourself to overcome your own resistance to action by using will power.


Self-discipline is:

ü  A skillthat can be learned.

ü  Becoming aware of your subconscious resistances to action, then overcoming those resistances.

ü  The process of coordinating your conscious and subconscious psychological elements.

 

Your personality is a network of individual but connected elements—desires, emotions, needs, fears, thoughts, intellect, memories, imagination and others. In all human beings these elements operate in various degrees of conflict. Sometimes our emotions pull us in one direction while our intellect pulls us in another. Sometimes our desires try to lead us down a certain path but our fears won’t allow us to follow.

Self-discipline, then, is the skill to direct and regulateall the various parts of our personality so that rather than being immobilized by inner conflict, all of our psychological elements are pulling together in the same direction—toward your consciously chosen goals.

Self-discipline is the process of psychological self management, rather than a single personality trait. Think of self-discipline as the director of a play who gives instructions to individual actors. Think of self-discipline as the conductor of a symphony who insures that the individual musicians all are playing in harmony.

When you’re experiencing difficulty with self-discipline, the question to ask yourself isn’t “How can I get myself to do what I should do?” Instead, ask yourself “How can I get myself to do what a part of me doesn’t want to do?”

 

The Key to Self-Discipline

 

Regardless of whether you’re trying complete an assignment in time, order your room, or be more productive in your occupation, the secret to success revolves around your ability to recognize and deal with the part of you that offers resistance.

While you’re growing up you’re told what to do by parents, teachers, and other authority figures. If you go on to college you’re governed by professors. When you get a job, you have a boss. The discipline provided by these types of authority figures does not depend on whether we are in total agreement with what is asked of us.
Usually, we are told what to do, how to do it, and when to have it done.

Under these circumstances, we don’t have to struggle with any inner resistance. Therefore our self-discipline muscle doesn’t get exercised. Without exercise self-discipline becomes weak and flabby. Then, in situations where we are called upon to be on our own, we seem powerless to overcome contrary inner influences, both conscious and subconscious. Often, after initial formation, one is left at the mercy of one’s own Hyde who takes the drivers seat. Therefore, the part of us that doesn’t want to be disciplined takes control of our behavior.

In other words, you don’t tell your boss at work, “No, I don’t think I’ll do what you want me to do. I think I’ll watch TV instead.” But if you’re your own boss, you’ll repeatedly come up with such resistance to your own directives to yourself. You’ll let yourself off the hook and say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”


Because we’ve spent much of our lives being disciplined by others, we seldom develop the necessary skills to discipline ourselves. Again, self-discipline is like a muscle; it needs be developed and exercised in order to be strong, to be available when we need it. Unfortunately, as we age, certain
psychological roadblocksoccur that inhibit the development of self-discipline. You can’t develop the psychological qualities required for self-discipline until you’ve become aware of, and busted through these mental blocks.

 

 

face your fears

Self-discipline requires facing certain realities about ourselves that we’d just as soon ignore. For instance, you might be surprised to learn that various types of fears are our greatest roadblocks to self-discipline.

Fears create attitudes that produce such ailments as procrastination, poor time management skills, and task avoidance. There are, of course, all types of fears. And, yes, we all harbor some personal fears that affect our behavior in varying ways and degrees. But certain, specific, subconscious fears create roadblocks between us and self-discipline. This is an unavoidable reality that needs to be accepted by anyone trying to bust through the roadblocks.

Subconscious fears are deep-rooted inner reservations that we often hide from ourselves. They play a spoiler role in all areas our lives. Moreover, in order to root out these buried fears, we must dig like hyperactive gophers. Why? Because:

  • Facing our fears, either conscious or subconscious fears, creates anxiety. Anxiety is a powerful, uneasy feeling that we all try to avoid at any cost, including self-deception.
  • We’ve been conditioned to view fear as a form of weakness or inadequacy. We’d rather rationalize than say “I’m afraid.”
  • We associate fear with childishness. “Don’t be afraid, be a big boy.” “Chicken?” “I dare ya.” “Whatsa matter, Scaredicat, afraid?”
  • Most of us believe in our heart of hearts that if we avoid an unpleasant or difficult situation long enough it eventually will go away.

 

Until you become aware of certain subconscious fears, and accept them as a part of being human, you’ll never be able to establish consistent self-discipline. Subconscious fears will prevent you from transforming your ideas into actions. You can’t possibly do anything to relieve yourself of these fears if you don’t bring them into the light.

So, let’s forge ahead, learn the various faces of these pesky fears, and reduce their influences on our behavior. Notice that I didn’t say “rid ourselves of them.” I said, “reduce their influences on our behavior.” Again, fears are a part of being human. So, we need to accept them as a part of life. Only by recognizing and accepting them can we begin to minimize their immobilizing influence. While we won’t ever be completely free of all fears, we don’t have to be controlled by them. To paraphrase a famous quote: The worst thing we have to fear is fear itself.

 

Following are the most troublesome and common fears that block us from self-discipline. We all suffer them in various degrees. Get to know how each one operates. The more you know about them the better your chances are of minimizing their influence.

  1. vFear of Failure
  2. vFear of Success
  3. vFear of Rejection
  4. vFear of Mediocrity
  5. vFear of Risks

 

In the modules that follow, you will begin the practical part of the program . You will spend a few minutes a day learning to understand these critical roadblocks to self-discipline.

Over the next five days, you will learn about specific subconscious fears and about how each one acts to block self-discipline. Then you will do an exercise designed to give you a personal insight into how these blocks affect you.

Excercises

  1. 1.For introspection: Recall your infancy and identify the important moments when your self-discipline muscle got trained to pursue long term goals? Who were your principal role models and how did they train your will?
  2. 2. For reflection and prayer: Often God addresses the humans with a “Fear not” followed by an assurance of God’s action (I am with you”) Is: 41.10. Is it related to our deep down fears which come in the way of our journey to freedom? . Reflect how the second part of the statement (I am with you) act as the apt remedy for the first part (fear not). Have you noticed that when you are terribly frightened, the assuring presence of a loved person dissipates fear altogether. Christian fortitude is born of a profound sense of God’s presence even amidst dangers.

  3. 3.Home work to be sent: Answer the following questions:
    1. 1.What is self-discipline? What do you think we should work at when we want to improve self-discipline?
    2. 2.How do fears operate in weakening self-discipline? Which of these fears are more relevant to your life experience?

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