This month we have been taking a closer look at the Life Skill of Discipline. In two previous blog posts we have reviewed the first 7 components of Discipline, COMMITMENT, PUNCTUALITY, GOALS, FOCUS, PERSISTENCE, DETERMINATION, and RESPONSIBILITY. In today’s post we will look at the last 3 components as well as the different levels of Discipline we practice throughout our lives.
First, let’s take a look at the final three components.
- COURAGE: A disciplined person has the COURAGE to confront difficulty, challenge themselves and persevere. Fear and unease are a regular part of life. Worry and anxiety work to make us second-guess ourselves, our decisions and even our goals. Discipline requires that we face all of these feelings and situations with COURAGE. When we face and overcome a fear, we train ourselves to be able to do it again and again. Suddenly the things that stopped us in the past are just one more thing to move past. A mentor of mine says it best (I’m paraphrasing a bit here…) “The thing you should fear the MOST is the idea that you DID NOT achieve all you were meant to achieve in your time here on earth” Staying in your comfort zone is only comfortable for a moment, the regret of not reaching your potential can affect you forever!
- FITNESS: Caring for ourselves is a core tenant of discipline. This one is self-explanatory, yet is the one that is sometimes the hardest to maintain. We are busy, we have a lot of responsibilities and not enough time. We all know the excuses…(sorry, that’s what they are…excuses). In order to live our best lives and care for those around us to the best of our abilities, we have to care for OURSELVES FIRST! What did you do today to care for your mind and your body?
- VISION: This is your “why”. Commitment, goals, determination, persistence…why? What is it REALLY that you want to achieve? VISION is what holds all of this together. Disciplined people learn to visualize the outcome of any situation (long or short term!) and then put the pieces in place to achieve that desired outcome. Without a strong and detailed vision of what you want it is very difficult to become disciplined about achieving that thing. Vision creates your “why” which should help you devise a plan and path of achievement to fulfill that vision.
Now that we have reviewed all the components of discipline, we can begin to look at how we develop these things throughout life. We teach that there are four main “levels” of discipline. First is OBEDIENCE which is the form of discipline we look for in our younger students. It is the job of parents, coaches and mentors to start to build habits of discipline in children and they begin to personalize these habits through obedience. The second level is SELF-DISCIPLINE. Ideally as we mature, we begin to take the habits instilled by parents and mentors to heart and begin to “police” ourselves and understand the personal responsibility involved in discipline. Next is SELF-CONTROL where we realize that we can (and should) control our emotions and responses to people and situations, this ability helps us start to build strong relationships and navigate the ups and downs of life. Finally the highest level of discipline is SELF-AWARENESS when we begin to see how our behavior and actions affect the people close to us, the community around us and even the world.
You can see that there is an “appropriate” level of discipline for different developmental stages. You can expect a 5 year old to show OBEDIENCE, but you probably cannot expect that same 5 year old to have an adult level of emotional control. That being said, at any age we help our children start to train ALL of the components of discipline so that they grow up with the habits that will lead them to success later in life. Discipline is a skill that we train constantly and as successful adults, whether consciously or not we use this life skill on a daily basis.
I hope you have found this series helpful and now have a deeper understanding of this Life Skill. My wish for all my students (young and old!) is that they continue to develop these skills constantly so that ANYTHING they want from life is achievable!