BY UDEME ARCHIBONG
THE HABIT OF SELF-DISCIPLINE
“No man is free who is not a master of himself”
Self-discipline is a word you can’t ignore in the vocabulary of success. Self-discipline is self-mastery and self-mastery is the greatest power in the world.
Self discipline is the master key to unlocking the golden gate of an ideal life. In fact the major distinction needed to create and sustain an ideal life is embodied in self discipline. To ascend to the summit of an ideal life you must become a radically different person and that growth is made possible by self discipline.
Self-discipline is the ability to bring your thoughts and emotional attitude that govern your life under absolute control. It is the exercise of self-caution in order to bring out the best character in you. Self-discipline is directing your mind in producing certain behaviour and actions that will enable you to produce the result you desire to achieve. Elbert Hubbard defines,
“Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” Self discipline is taking the high road of doing what is right and necessary which leads to a higher life rather than taking the low road of doing what is fun, easier, faster which eventually leads to the lower life. Self control is the control tower of life that controls your actions; controls what you say and do and directs your life to its ultimate purpose. Hence, self-discipline is a life directing force that reflects inner strength and power at its best.
Self-discipline cuts across every facet of our being. In fact, there can never be any success on any frontier of life without self-discipline.
An individual with self-discipline creates and maintains positive habits and is not side-tracked from his goals. The development of ideal habits comes at the cost of discipline. Zig Ziglar observes, “That is the essence of self-discipline: training ourselves in the habits of success”.
Self-discipline entails facing the pain of discomfort in order to reap the gains of cultivating ideal habits that make for an ideal life. A person of discipline is not disempowered by his emotions but rather is empowered by it, because he can control and direct it is as he chooses. When your emotions are subject to universal; timeless; correct and self evident principles situations become subject to you.
When self discipline is King over your life you reign over your appetites-food, drink and sex; unbridled passion and inclination. A man of self-discipline possesses mastery over worry, fear, uncontrolled and misdirected anger, depression, resentment, unforgiveness and unrepentance, for he knows and understands that self-conquest is the greatest conquest in the world. Indeed, success crashes when discipline is ruled out.
Lack of self discipline thrives on excuses; self discipline gets pass excuses and moves ahead into a space of action. In life you either dig out enough excuses to remain where you are or you generate enough reasons to move you forward into the life of your dreams. Excuses are very seductive and people who lack self discipline are lured into its trap.
The greatest hindrance to success in life is ‘self’. Victory over self is the ultimate victory one can ever achieve through life. If one tries to conquer the external enemy or the circumstances of life, without dealing with the internal enemy, which is ‘self’, has efforts will be futile for he has left the most important things undone. The more we conquer self, the more we are in charge of our destiny, and will live a higher kind of life, which is superior in quality and superabundant in quantity. John Hagee counsels, “There cannot be mastery of life on any frontiers until individuals grow in the act of mastering themselves.”
The common denominator why some men of talent, intelligence, courage, genius and indeed men who shook the world comes tumbling into reproach could be explained in the words “lack of self mastery”. Emperors who have built empires due to their wit and wisdom come crashing down at the frontier of lack of self control. Indeed victory over self is the first and best victory that one should crave for. Stephen Cover exposes, “private victory precedes public victory”. All other victory in life has its offshoot from self mastery. “self” which could represent bad habits, weaknesses, carnal thoughts and carnal desires; and anything that does not depict the divinity within us if dealt within our lives, will offer us the golden opportunity to make tremendous things happen in our destinies. Without self mastery, life will be out of control, which leads to human wreckage.
Taking the easy way out rather than offer a soft landing offers a crash-landing. The path en route to failure is the path of least resistance-the shortcut mentality that cuts destiny short. Engaging in actions before thinking of the long term consequences is engaging the rules of failure. When you think long term before an action it brings you in terms with success.
The more you reign over the domain of your mind the happier you become. The more your mind is out of control the more miserable you become. When you keep on the thoughts you will keep up the behavior. When you put off the thought you will put off the behavior. To ascend to the summit of an ideal life you must become a radically different person and that growth is made possible by self discipline. Self discipline is the activating force that integrates all the success principles to work.
Indeed, whosoever conquers self has nothing else to conquer.