The virtue of self-discipline is like a wire cable. It consists of many thin, tiny wires placed one on top of the other. Alone, each one is flimsy and weak. But, together, their sum is much greater than their constituent parts and the cable becomes tougher than iron.
Self-control and willpower are similar to this. To build a will of iron, it is essential to take small, tiny acts in tribute to the virtue of personal discipline. Routinely performed, the little acts pile one on top of another to eventually produce an abundance of inner strength.
Self-discipline will provide you with the mental reserves required to persevere when life throws you one of its little curves. Building self-control and discipline into your life will also bring you a tremendous sense of freedom.
Too many people are slaves to their impulses. They have grown reactive rather than proactive. But real freedom is to see the forest beyond the trees; the freedom to choose what is right over what seems pressing. Stop being a slave to your weaker impulses. Stop doing what everyone else tells you should be doing.
How to build discipline?
1 – Willpower: inspires you to do what is right in any given moment. It gives you the energy to act with courage. It gives you the control to live the life you have imagined rather than accepting the life that you have.
Lack of will power is a dangerous thing. Those who have a vicious temper will tell you, “I can’t help it, my father was the same way.” Those who worry too much will tell you, “It’s not my fault, my job is too stressful.” Those who sleep too much will say, “What can I do? My body needs ten hours of sleep a night.”
Through cultivating willpower, you have the power to be more than your environment. Similarly, you have the capacity to be more than a prisoner of your past. To do this, you must become the master of your will.
2 – Self-control (=mind control): Control every thought that you think. Developed the ability to discard all weak thoughts and focus only on those that are positive and good. Instead of being a slave to your habits, challenge them with more powerful thoughts. Eventually, weaker thoughts will see that they are unwanted and leave like visitors who know they are not welcome. If you don’t take the time to start controlling your thoughts, they will control you.
Here’s a Mantra for discipline:
“I am more than I appear to be, all the world’s strength and power rests inside me.”
And here’s some exercises for discipline:
- Start doing the things you don’t like doing. By getting into the habit of exerting your will, you will cease to be a slave to your weaker impulses.
- Take a vow of silence. Go an entire day without speaking, except in response to a direct question.
- Build Momentum. Start off small. Small victories excite you to take larger steps along the path to your highest self.
Decide to do the things you know you should be doing rather than walking the path of least resistance. Start to fight the gravitational force of your bad habits and weaker impulses just as a rocket rises above the force of gravity to enter the realm of the heavens. Push yourself. Keep setting the mark higher and raising your standards continuously.
For more on the subject check “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”