Self-discipline: the power and potential

Self-discipline refers to the ability to resist feelings, temptations and other weaknesses that would otherwise tempt you to procrastinate, be lazy or handle tasks head on despite weaknesses or hardships.

Self-discipline can also be defined as the ability to control one’s body and will it to carry out a task, or a decision even when you feel you would rather indulge in some other activity that would give you instant gratification.

Low Self-Discipline

Many people struggle to complete tasks in time, to follow through with decisions, to plan and even to wake up on time. They will often succumb to the need to sleep a little longer, or to go out with friends, or sit a little longer watching TV instead of doing something that needs to be done.

As a result, they take a lot of time to complete a single task and leave other tasks for as long as possible. Such people often fail to meet deadlines and even when they do, they rarely excel in what they do. This is because being constant procrastinators; they leave work undone for as long as possible and in the end, they have to rush to meet deadlines.

The Power of Self-Discipline

To become the best you can be you must learn to exercise self-discipline and deny yourself things that would bring you immediate satisfaction so that you can get a better reward at a later date.

There’s no denying the appeal of a sleep or to go out with friends, but willing your body and mind to work harder or to persevere even in the face of hardship, obstacles and temptations makes you stronger and is ultimately more rewarding. Not only will you be conquering your body and feelings, you will also achieve more in less time and also develop more self-respect.

There is immense satisfaction in exercising self-control and completing more work than you would have thought you were able to. You can be surprised how much more you can achieve by being self-disciplined.


Most successful leaders, business people, and entrepreneurs confess that they have learnt to conquer their bodies and their minds and practice self-discipline every single day. The ingredients of success include setting goals, knowledge, showing up, putting in a lot of effort and perseverance. All these things require a lot of self-discipline without which achieving set goals, meeting deadlines and persisting even when there are obstacles becomes impossible.

However, self-discipline is not only important in achieving success financially or in becoming a leader, it is actually the key to becoming successful in every single aspect of life. People who have mastered the art of self-discipline ultimately conquer themselves and are more likely to become successful in all other aspects of their lives. Below are some of the multiple ways that you can get a better life and become a better person simply by practicing self-discipline.

Play the Long Game

If you sacrifice your time and use it to become more productive rather than indulging in activities that would give you instant satisfaction, you will be able to get a set of deferred rewards. For example, whether you are an author, an artist or a business person, at one point or another, you may be tempted to postpone returning a call to a problem client or maintaining book-keeping records (for a business person), skip practice (for a musician) or skipping a week before writing that extra page (for an author). Either way, you will take longer to complete tasks if you keep postponing them. However, if you strictly adhere to your writing, practice, or business plans, you can be sure that you will be able to achieve more success and rewards later in the long-run.

Be Happier

If you practice self-discipline, you will be able to get things done on time and, as such, you will begin to make your life more stress free. For example, when you discipline yourself to wake up earlier, you have more time to effectively prepare for your day. If you have children, you can spend time with them before they head off to school.

You can also prepare yourself for the workday ahead by having a nutritious breakfast and having the time to order the day’s tasks. These seemingly small things can lead to a smoother and more productive day for all involved. That more productive day, in turn, increases your inner happiness because, overall, you are exposed to less stress. As they say, from little acorns tall oaks grow.

Inner Strength

Few people realize just how much inner strength they have. They are unaware of their ability to overcome issues or hardships that set them back in their personal lives, in business and in daily interactions with other people. Practicing self-discipline enables you to recognize the inner strength that you possess and this makes you a better and stronger person.

More Respect

A person that lacks self-discipline easily loses track of their goals. This means that they are often late to appointments, they miss deadlines and generally let the people around them down. People who possess high levels of self-discipline avoid this trap. They are able to easily earn the respect of their colleagues, partners or clients because they do what they say they will do no matter what. It becomes a point of honor among the self-disciplined to show that they respect others. This, in turn, earns them respect as well.

More Efficient

Being self-disciplined means sticking to set goals no matter what. If you do this, you will be able to achieve more in less time and consequently, you will be able to find more time to indulge in other activities. This will definitely make you a better person.


Wasting time is one of the major causes of failure. The people that do not adhere to timelines, or set schedules, end up missing deadlines on important tasks. Remember that time waits for no-one and to prosper, you have to make every second count. Self-discipline will help you use your time constructively and achieve your goals.

Surround Yourself with Positivity

Well, we would say that! Show me your friends and I’ll tell you the type of person that you are. When you keep bad company, you are likely to do the same things as them. Good friends will help you stay focused, while bad ones will derail you and keep you from achieving your goals. When you are disciplined, you avoid the vagaries of peer pressure. You are able to choose the people who surround you.

Value What Really Matters

There are so many issues that will demand your attention or interest. It’s up to you to value what really matters because that’s the only way you’ll prioritize your tasks on a daily basis. Chasing after every single thing indiscriminately will only leave you frustrated.

Develop a Moral Compass

We are all able to choose between right and wrong. It’s simply a matter of set of personal beliefs, attitudes and values. When you are self-disciplined, you’ll always want to make the right choices even without supervision. This will save you a lot of pain in the end, as a real moral compass can help you to avoid the bad or negative consequences of poor choices.

Surrender Control

Sometimes fate has its own agenda, and as a self-disciplined person you should be able to accept the things that you can’t control. Choose an alternative path if the one you are pursuing becomes untenable. It doesn’t make you weak or a failure.

Go the Extra Mile

Lazy and tired are two different concepts. You must be ready and willing to go the extra mile even when nobody is pushing you to do it. Hard work pays, and sometimes it even makes up for lack of natural talent.

Self-discipline can help you stay the course you have set, as well as set you apart from your peers. It can help you achieve great success. It is what makes the difference. It is what makes you different.

See also:

Devising a time management plan
Ambition and success in life
7 tips on achieving a success mindset

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