Discipline and Willpower - Vivek Hattangadi
- While uneducated birds and beasts
Know how to lead regulated lives,
Alas! Man endowed with intelligence
Does not lead a disciplined life
Discipline is fundamental to every living being. For Homo sapiens it is even more important; may be as much as the spinal cord. Without discipline mankind will be ruined.
Said Zig Ziglar “Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them”.
Today, in India, it is because people do not practise discipline, whether for instance traffic discipline, social discipline, discipline in daily routine, or elsewhere, life is becoming painful. Discipline must start from the early years, but it is needed not only by students but even by elders. The elders must impress on the young ones that discipline is imperative to become a successful student, a professional, a parent, a musician or even a sportsperson.
One of the misconceptions in the world is that the people who end up being successful somehow achieve this success through short cuts, and other miracles of fate. In the process, the world forgets about the disciplined life of these successful personalities. The importance of discipline in life is something which is often ignored. Discipline is behavior in accordance with rules of conduct. For example, discipline is denying oneself of an excessive pleasure in order to accomplish more demanding jobs. Discipline is the most essential quality of life. It is necessary in the personal life of everybody. Discipline means teaching ourselves self-control, obedience, cooperation and punctuality. It is the ability to stay focused on our chosen action path without detour, distraction, or interruption
This brings us towards willpower and self-discipline.
Willpower is an expression of our inner strength, determination, decisiveness, and assertiveness. It is the ability to act and exert ourselves in spite of laziness and discomfort. Willpower confers on us the strength and fortitude to act in spite of inner resistance or external obstacles. The application of willpower can be like a military strategy:
- Choose your target and objective
- Create a plan of attack
- Execute the plan
Willpower is the spearhead of self-discipline. Self-discipline can be said to be the ‘spouse’ of willpower.
Self-discipline is usually understood to be synonymous with 'self control'. It is the giving up of instant pleasure and gratification or satisfaction for a higher goal. It gives us the power to follow our decisions, stick to them and not change our mind too often, and thus reach our goals. Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives to one's self to accomplish tasks or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even though one would really rather be doing something else. Self-discipline is the ability of a person to force himself to do something he knows he should do, whether he likes it or not. Every successful person knows that self-discipline is important for success. Self-discipline must be developed and practised in order to succeed. Every time we practise self- discipline, we will strengthen it.
Thus, self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over basic desires. Self-discipline is the power to keep going forward, when everything around us seems to be pulling us back.
Lack of self discipline may lead to failure to reach goals, even minor ones, and to loss of health, wealth, relationships and may lead us to many other troubles.
Unfortunately, many people, especially the young ones are not interested in self-discipline. They prefer to engage in actions that satisfy their short-term needs – even at the expense of long term failure. Lack of self-discipline is a source of low self esteem. Self-discipline is something we all need because it is a vital characteristic of successful people. Self-discipline helps us control our actions and makes sure we stay on the right track.
What then are the benefits of discipline? Discipline generates trust and confidence in ourselves, and attracts trust and confidence from others. The constant act of discipline can magnify our power many, many times. The possession of this power leads to self confidence and self esteem, and consequently to happiness, satisfaction and real strength.
Practise self-discipline and we shall be in control of ourselves all of the time.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of willpower”. - Vince Lombardi