Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the average person in the world today has a challenge with self-discipline. We have a very entertainment-conscious, fun-oriented, get-it-quick, and excitement-loving population. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business.” If he were alive today, could he say that again with a straight face? Many have turned our world into a don’t-work-too-hard society–a find-someone-to-take-care-of-me society. Can it be that our own attitudes explain why we’re importing everything from automobiles to zippers?

It’s easy to rise above the performance level of the masses because the masses do not want to be disciplined. But they do want much, much more from life. What they don’t realize is that those two wants are incompatible. Achieving success when we have dedication, commitment and self-discipline is almost a certainty in the world today. When we don’t have these qualities, it’s almost impossible.

Some of us weren’t disciplined when we were young. Without a background of discipline, it’s harder to become self-disciplined. But it’s only a little harder. Don’t lay any lack of drive and discipline that you may have at your parents’ door. It may have been their responsibility before your teens, but when you moved into your second dozen years on this earth the responsibility became yours. No matter how they raised you, it’s your life now. It’s your success that you’re disciplining yourself for, not theirs.

To develop self-discipline is to take possession of your mind with such strength that your emotions and appetites are brought under control. That’s really what you do to achieve self-discipline. You literally take possession. You tell yourself, “I control my body. I control my mind. I control my actions. I control events in my territory.” It’s called will power. It’s called self-discipline. It’s called self-control. It’s doing what you know you should do. It’s avoiding what you know you shouldn’t do.

When you have that extra force of will power, you grow away from the people who are allowing their lives to drift. Your self-discipline begins with your positive thoughts, their lack of discipline begins with their negative thoughts. Those who fail to control their thoughts are unable to control their deeds. The things that happen to you are the result of the actions you take. The actions you take are the result of the feelings that you have. The feelings that you have are the result of the thoughts you allow in your mind. So, to control what happens to you, begin by saying, “I control my thoughts.” Through the power of self-discipline, balance the emotions of the heart with the reasoning of the mind.

When you achieve that combination, you have created a very powerful human being. The person who controls himself or herself through self-discipline can never be controlled by others.

Say these words to yourself several times each day as you work in developing your own self-discipline:

“I control my thoughts.”

“I don’t let negative ideas enter my mind.”

“I control my mind, my body, and my actions.”

“I control events in my life.”

Excerpted from Chapter 80 of The Official Guide to Success. Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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