Discipline and Self Control: The Most Underrated Traits

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Written by BusinessAlligators Support

Support Staff at BusinessAlligators is a team of business experts led by Shilpi Singh Trusted by over 100K readers worldwide.

February 23, 2019

While you are suffering from fever, if you take medicines to reduce your temperature but do not take medicines to kill your bacteria or virus, then do you think you are going to be healthy? Probably not. Though if your immunity makes you healthy, then that’s a different thing.

So what is the best way? Probably,

Kill the germs, not the disease.

Same is the case with success related topics. We always talk about focus, habits, aim, goals etc. to become successful but we hardly talk about self-control and discipline which are the main roots of success.

It is something like we are teaching a child to speak words without teaching him about the alphabets. I am sure that the child will learn those words directly but you can imagine easily the depth of his knowledge without the basic knowledge of alphabets.

The same thing happens with all the contestants who are running to achieve success in their life. They all are working hard to learn new things, to adopt good habits, to remain more focused etc. but the majority of them fail after trying for a few days. And one of the reasons for getting a failure is that their basics are not right.

We try to wake up early in morning daily, but we get up early for 5-10 days and then tend to become lethargic. We try to work nonstop for 6 hours, get distracted by emails or Facebook within 30 mins. Why does this happen? The simple answer is that we are not disciplined enough; we don’t have enough control over self.

In Rigveda, it has been mentioned clearly that the main factor behind success is self-control. Even many spiritual gurus have mentioned about the importance of self-control and self-discipline to achieve wealth in life. But still, we make a great mistake that without practicing basic steps we try to learn the next steps.  

When we ask people about their strength, people say it’s honesty, integrity, speaking truth, etc. but no one says that it is self-control. When asked the same group about their weakness, many of them might say it is lack of self-control or lack of self-discipline.

In a study done by Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman, professors of the University of Pennsylvania, it is found that self-control is 2 times more important than IQ. These professors conducted a test on 164 students and analyzed their behavior, their IQ and found that self-control and self-discipline outdid IQ by 2 times.

If you look at successful people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk, you will find out that they are extremely great when it comes to self-control. They are so great in terms of self-control that they are doing the same work on a similar time pattern from many years now. Just like Bill gates runs on a treadmill and while running on that, he always watches educational courses. Mark Zuckerberg wears a similar grey t-shirt daily at work while Warren Buffet reads over 500 pages daily.

Someone said harsh words to drag you into an unnecessary debate related to an unnecessary topic; like you are a businessman and someone taunted you on your political or religious view. You are trying to sell your product but the client is too rough. Similarly, in all such situations, you can only bring positive outcomes when you do not flow with an instant raise of emotions. When you have the self-control to polite your anger and other instant kinds of feelings.

You can even analyze your life as I did and you will find that whenever you showed discipline in your task, whether it is study, job, or any experiment, you had performed better as compared to when you worked really hard but inconsistently and without having self-control.

But why results come better with discipline and self-control?

Here comes the law of averages. If you put a bit of a focus and compare the working styles of self-disciplined people and non-disciplined people, you will get astonishing results. When you will look casually, you will start thinking that non-disciplined people work more and they should give better results because they work till late nights, they even work 20 hours in a day. On the contrary, self-disciplined people work so less, they only work 12 hours a day so there is a difference of 8 hours. But here comes the real fun when you take the averages.

Non-discipline people skip work quite often in their lives while disciplined people never skip a single day. Also for non-disciplined ones,  20 hours’ work pattern is not fixed, some days they work 20 hours and on some day they just work 2 hours a day and on some days they skip the work completely because they feel unhealthy,  often due to bad routine. So the average of self-disciplined people always come more than non-disciplined ones.

Also, when you do the same task at the same time everyday, then your mind does not show any resistance to it, it remains prepared for that kind of work in that time period and hence you get maximum output from your brain. On the contrary, when you do the same work irregularly without a proper plan, then for some time your brain shows resistance to it by making you sleepy, tired etc.

For disciplined and self-controlled people, it is extremely easy to track what is working for them and what is not working for them, so they can easily modify it, but it is really hard for the counterpart as they cannot track their actions easily with so much irregularity.

If you are on the same journey to success, then I would suggest you to practice self-control and self-discipline so that further things like consistency, adopting good habits, leaving toxic people etc. get easily to you. You can start this by practicing meditation on the exact same time a bit early in the morning when you need to stretch yourself.

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