The Cambridge Dictionary describes self-discipline as the ability to make yourself do things when you should, even if you do not want to do them.
At the heart of martial art training is self-disciplineWhether you want success in your personal life or professional life, it all starts with a sensible ability to apply self-control through personal discipline. Personal discipline or the lack of it is the main reason that there is a clear line drawn in the sand which separates the successful, motivated individual from the ‘so-so’ lethargic individual who wants results without actively doing what is necessary to get them.
Today’s society as a whole has lost the essence of personal discipline, partly due to technology. Think about it. Business and technology move at the speed of light. Technology gives us so much instant comfort. In nearly everything we do we rely on computers, software and apps. These comforts are helping discipline disappear. Did you know that in South Korea, stadiums that hosted football matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup are now packed to capacity with eSports fans, looking on at a new generation of ‘sporting’ heroes known as ‘e-sport gamers’? Yes, video game playing has been declared a sport. Sorry kids, not in my world! My point is that we are seeing a systematic downfall of the need to incorporate discipline and effort into our lives. It is up to each individual to face what needs to be done and get on with it, keeping discipline in the forefront of his or her life, and of course your children’s life if you are a parent.
Some people believe that regardless of what the body does, discipline is totally a state of mind. I disagree. From a martial art perspective, discipline must connect the body, the mind and the inner essence of ‘self’. Discipline is only achieved through consistency of being practised regularly and with a strong mindset.
Developing personal discipline is a daily battle within yourself at first, but there is nothing better to shape your character and resilience. Once you learn to dig deep it becomes a habit that can open the door to many other opportunities in life. Having strong personal discipline will strengthen your confidence, your courage and your mindset. You start needing it to fuel your life.
So how do you incorporate discipline into your life? Firstly you have to make a sincere decision that you want to change what is happening in your life right now. If you want to achieve better results in your studies or in your career path you have to take steps to make it happen. No one will do it for you. Yes, personal discipline will change your life from the ground up. Second, you must have a plan laid out and stick to it. This is where most people fail.
Begin easily by practicing your discipline on small easy to achieve mini goals you can start immediately. Examples would be waking up 15 minutes earlier three times each week and using the time for extra study or extra physical activity, (Taekwondo patterns!). Note the word extra. This time is not for catching up on work you should have completed already, it’s for the extra work that puts you in front.
As you progress and your mindset starts getting stronger you can step it up and start waking up a little earlier, use the time to intensify your physical fitness, practise your Taekwondo patterns or drills, read books, organize your day, plan the week or month. The idea is to choose the actions that give you positive outcomes. Out of personal discipline grows fortitude, courage, heart and confidence.
Discipline can be achieved with simple actions. At the same time, it is not meant to be easy. If it was easy it would not be labelled as discipline. You are supposed to feel that you don’t want the bother of it, that’s what sets the successful individuals apart from those that dream about it. As it says on the T- shirt, ‘JUST DO IT!’
In the end, discipline will make you a stronger person, one that takes ownership of their life, has choices and lives life to the fullest. When it is all said and done every individual’s life is their story and personal discipline gives you the opportunity of achieving the happy ending you want.