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Here is the greatest value of discipline: self-worth. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth. Respect must be earned, especially self-respect.
The problem with even a little bit of neglect is that it starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease. One neglect leads to another, and you start to diminish your self-worth. One missed workout isn’t a big deal, but when one missed workout leads to another, pretty soon, you’ve developed a pattern of inconsistency that will erode your mental psyche.
Affirmations are powerful, but affirmations not backed up by action are the beginning of dilution. It isn’t enough to say I will work hard each day to achieve my goal. Unless that affirmation is backed up by consistent, disciplined action, you’re not going to develop self-esteem. Talk is cheap. Show me how you spend your time, and I’ll tell you what your values are. It isn’t what you say. It is what you do.
If you want to know someone’s values, observe their daily habits. Our own values can be detected in the same way. If you think that your everyday actions don’t reflect your values, I would argue that you are wrong. Your actions always reflect your values. How you spend your time reveals your true values, not your words. It is easy to find people that talk a big game. It is much harder to find people that play a big game.
Establishing a few daily disciplines starts a whole new life process. Consistency is the key. Never let good be the enemy of great. Never let what you cannot do, stop you from doing what you can do. If you cannot work out for 30-minutes, do what you can. A short, intense workout is better than a missed workout. The Everyday Method of habit formation makes it easier to build momentum.
We must remain forever vigilant and stand guard. Neglect starts as an infection and becomes a disease. Everything matters. How we do anything is how we will do anything. Discipline and excellence are habits. The slightest neglect repeated becomes a bad habit. The longer we allow the behavior to persist, the deeper its roots will grow.
Everyone feels the urge to ease up or quit, even superstar athletes. That is why the Nike logo “Just Do It” is so powerful. It recognizes that we won’t always be motivated to train, but we need to push past it. Discipline is doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done, especially when we aren’t excited to do it. Anyone can work hard when they are motivated, but to be consistent, we must push ourselves when we aren’t motivated.
Self-discipline is our ability to stay committed to a decision long after the spirit in which that decision was made is gone. Laziness is normal. We all need motivation and discipline to do more than what we are obligated to do. We all work a job. It is usually easy to keep a job, but it takes motivation and discipline to work hard enough to earn a promotion. It requires a daily commitment to do more than what is expected. It requires a daily commitment to eke out the slightest improvement from one day to the next.
“Genius often really is just persistence in disguise.” Ryan Holiday.
No one is born with exceptional talent. We all start out at different levels of ability, but we are all capable of improvement. Extraordinary skill is developed through consistent, disciplined practice. It is easy to attribute someone’s phenomenal ability to innate talent, but that’s rarely the case. Our greatest strength as human beings is our ability to transform ourselves. When we are born, we cannot even lift our heads, but through time and effort can display amazing skills.
Self-discipline is the foundation upon which all good habits are built upon. Self-discipline is the ability to do what you know you should when temptation is whispering in your ear. It is like courage. We aren’t born with it. We develop it by taking action, despite our feelings. When we act courageously, it doesn’t mean we didn’t feel fear. It means we took action despite our fear.
Discipline doesn’t mean you weren’t tempted to take the easy path. It means you chose to do what needs to be done. Exercising discipline is no different than the exercise of courage. We don’t act bravely because we are brave. We are brave because we have acted bravely. We judge ourselves the same way everyone else judges us – by our behavior. This is the reason that self-esteem is inseparably linked to self-worth. There are other benefits to developing self-discipline.
When we habitually take disciplined action, temptation begins to lose its hold on us. We become a machine. We become a person that knows their own self-worth. You’ll respect yourself because you’ll have earned that respect. Discipline is your best friend. The things that success gives us aren’t nearly as rewarding as the person that success forces us to become.
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