Let me start by first saying why I believe this topic is important and deserves to be treated as a series. We all struggles with certain habits and schedules.
Personally, I struggle with things like keeping to a gym exercise, starting and finishing a book, spending less time on phone, even completing medication dosage, etc. I also believe a lot of people out there have several struggles like these, some even stronger and of more dire consequences than the ones I have mentioned.
I believe, behind all of these struggles is the deficit of the virtue of Self Discipline. So I am hoping that this series will help a lot of us to overcome some habits, weaknesses and become better persons in every area of our life.
So let us define Self Discipline and put it in proper perspective.
Self Discipline simply means ability to exercise control over oneself. In other words you can say self discipline means self control. It is the ability to exercise restrain on one’s thoughts, actions, words and attitudes, with the aim of always doing what is right.
It is the ability to do what is right even when it is not convenient to do so, or when there is no one around us to applaud or praise us for doing the right thing.
It is a very important virtue for anyone who desires to succeed in life. The absence of self discipline is behind the preponderance of many vices and ills in our society today.
As a matter of fact, the more your self discipline index, the higher your chances of succeeding in life. Successful people have mastered the art of self discipline and they use it to hone their skills or gifts till the gifts become part of them. Yes they may be born with the gifts, but without self discipline in the area of consistent practice and sharpening of the gifts, they would not get far with the gifts.
Even the Bible recognises this fact in the book of Proverbs. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 KJV. I am sure there are similar thoughts in the Quran and other spiritual books.
It takes Self Discipline to manage wealth and retain riches. Some people cannot control their spending, no matter how much they earn, they keep getting broke and even end up in debts. “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.” Proverbs 11:16 KJV
Self Discipline is a process and not a destination, so we must be careful not to assume we will one day become fully self disciplined. It is a daily process which helps us to form better habits, better character and ultimately better destiny.
Self Discipline requires paying a lot of sacrifices, denying oneself of so many pleasures and is actually a painful process, but it yields a lot of pleasure in the long term. For example, a student who has an exam to write would have to deny himself of the fun of watching TV, staying on the internet, or playing football before the exam. He would have to invest quality time into reading, studying and attending tutorials ahead of the exams.
In essence, Self Discipline causes short term pains but results in long term gains. It is thus a game of choosing pain over gain in the present, so as to avoid pain in the future.
Self Discipline is thus very important as a subject and this is why I have taken time to lay this foundation and also why we will be spending some time dealing with this issue while setting some challenges for ourselves during the series.
In readiness for the next discussion in this series, I want you to sit down, think and write down areas where you think deficit of self discipline has been affecting you. We will set some challenges next week as we continue in the series.
Have a self disciplined week ahead. Cheers!