"To think good thoughts requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about". -James Clavell, Shōgun (1975).
"To think good thoughts requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about". -James Clavell, Shōgun (1975).

Discipline is action or inaction that is regulated to be in accordance (or to achieve accord) with a particular system of governance. Discipline is commonly applied to regulating human and animal behavior to its society or environment it belongs. In the academic and professional words a discipline is a specific branch of knowledge, learning, or practice. Discipline can be a set of expectations that are required by any governing entity including the self, groups, classes, fields, industries, or societies.

History

Disciplinarians have been involved in many societies throughout history. The Victorian era resulted in the popular use of disciplinarian governance over children. Edward VIII had a disciplinarian father, and the English had modeled the royal families during this era. Edward's grandmother was Queen Victoria who had championed the role of the family unit during her reign. Disciplinarians will enforce a stricter set of rules that are aimed at developing children according to theories of order and discipline. Disciplinarians have also been linked to child abuse in numerous cases and biographies.[1]

Self-discipline

Self-discipline is about creating new habits of thought, action, and speech toward improving oneself and reaching institutional goals. This is an alternative to viewing discipline as a means to obtain more information. We can also define exercising self-control or discipline as the ability to give up immediate pleasures for long-term goals (also called deferred gratification), according to Simons.[2] True discipline is grounded in your ability to leave your comfort zone. Habit is about wanting to change, not about wanting to sweat and undergo activity. To forego or sacrifice immediate pleasure requires thought and focused discipline. Self-discipline is, more specifically, about your ability to control your desires and impulses in order to keep yourself focused on what needs to get done to successfully achieve that goal, according to Sicinski. It's about taking those small consistent steps of daily action to build a strong set of disciplined habits that fulfill your objectives. One trains oneself to proactively follow a specific set of rules and standards that help determine, coalesce and line-up one's thoughts and actions with the task at hand.[3] It's small acts that allows us to achieve greater goals. The key component of self-discipline is the trait of persistence or perseverance;[4] it's the daily choices that accumulate to produce those changes we want the most in spite of obstacles. Without it, self-discipline would be largely impossible, this is similar to grit.

Discipline is about inner and outer dimensions, discipline could be about the capacity to decide on what is right from wrong (internal consistency) and to use our skills well, properly or routine compliance and to adhere to external regulation rule compliance (external consistency).[5] "Discipline is the thing that happens when you expend some effort (both physical and mental) to do a thing that in that moment, you don’t feel like doing... Discipline doesn’t really take into account your thoughts or feelings." that Erin says is the beauty of discipline since what we do is something that is entirely within our control, an action is completely under our control.[6] Secondly, its action that completes, furthers or solidifies a goal, not merely our thought and feeling. Thirdly, an action conforms to an value, actions are then value-laden therefore they are helpful and useful, in other words we allow values to determine the choices we make, we don't let conditions or circumstances dictate it like for example we don't wait for emotional motivation to drive us or happening to be feeling "up to it" that day. Erin says that discipline means the perpetual practice of taking action that's inline with a rule or a set of standards, even if that rule has been self-imposed. Self-discipline may be an answer to procrastination according to Rory Vaden a leading psychologist specializing on procrastination.[7] People spend time regretting things they haven't done compared to things they have done. When you procrastinate you spend time on things you don't like to do or don't think you should do and who would otherwise be someone who invests in something meaningful that could be beneficial to you. Procrastination is not laziness or relaxation.[8] We procrastinate due to how we did last time or how we may fail to learn.[9]

Habits take on a three step process:[10]

1. Trigger (the thing that initiates the behaviour)

2. Behaviour (the action you take)

3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behaviour)

A life changing habit is one that will help you to enhance your health, working life and quality of life. The key to using this three-step process to your benefit is identifying the emotional state or emotional responses we have to prompt us (triggers) to take an action, keeping the same reward we simply switch out the action or routine as it maybe to one that is healthier, more productive or useful to us to help us follow our rule or guidelines. Knowing how we feel we can isolate the specific behavioral patterns that prompt the learned routine and reward/outcome and planning out how we really want it to occur and take control. The behavioural responses are ones that prevent us from breaking through and hold us back, theres very many ways of satisfying our emotional needs and then changing behavioral responses with ones we like. Finding what emotional state we need to be in takes effort to figure out in a way. It takes some effort and cunning to satisfying the specific need of ours while having a new good or healthier habit. The reward is something that we enjoy.

There are connections between motivation, self-discipline and habits:[11]

Motivation is the initial emotional drive or inspiration to help us develop goals and actions.

When motivation begins to waver, it's self-discipline that makes us continue on in spite of our emotions and thoughts.

Over time, self-discipline becomes less important as our behaviors and actions turn into habits.

It takes two months for a new habit to form, according to research by Phillippa Lally and colleagues.[12][13] Firstly, there is no reason to get depressed because it takes more than a few weeks to develop a habit, embrace the slow move towards discipline. Secondly, making some kind of mistake has no measurable impact on any long-term habits; develop ways to get back on track, you don't have to have a perfect pattern or life. Thirdly, habit making is a process and not an event, you must embrace the process to get there, commitment is key to all disciplined people. When you’re building habits that will allow you to overcome your impulses, those are easy ways of achieving short-term gratification, we are likely to be free to be ourselves and only if we have control over our own mind.[14] Controlling our mind is so that we aren't bound to believe in or to be sensitive to failure, financial strains or mental anxiety. In other words, we aren't being so reactive to life's problems but are being a proactive player. Mental anxiety, even without listing the other problems, is playing a role in making us more alarmist and overly sensitive to our environment.[15] Chronic stress can be detrimental to the development of executive function, and may make us perceive problems where they don't exist, as outnumbering the solutions according to Brett McKay et al. There is some research by Heyman and Hauser-Cram to back this up.[16] Brett McKay recommends we focus on whats in our circle of influence, what we we're in control of rather than our sphere of concern, whats outside of our control. Self-discipline is as simple as doing something difficult before going to bed or at other times of the day, its merely controlling a portion of your day to build self-discipline.[17] Its overcoming the urge to take the path of least resistance (primitive urges) in order to accomplish something long-term.

Your actions and behaviors come as a result of your ability to control yourself, this is for better and for worse. The habits are an automatic mechanism to save our willpower energy, about forty percent of our actions are driven by programmed habits, to be self-disciplined you need to control your habits. Its to stay task oriented more often. They free up our mind so that we can envision and take care of the big picture things. The longer we hold to bad habits the more difficult it is to break free from them.[18] Also the more we resist temptations then ironically we tend to ruminate more and thus the stronger those desires tends to get.[19] An example of a good habit is holding an organized physical space, this makes for a relaxed, stress-free environment.

Choices can be split between what gives us short-term pleasure but long-term pain or immediate gratification, or interestingly has us experience short-term pain and long-term pleasure thus allowing us to experience delayed gratification. Habits get us doing things only for a long while, it may not have us stuck to routine as we think, only as permissible as it can be realistically being able to. Discipline is making our habits to be done exactly as said we must do them, rather than relying on merely the cue for the help we turn that 'should do' to a 'must do' so that we are in a better position to beat the competing behaviors. Doing "that ideal routine" when there isn't a cue to. Doing something as soon as we can is discipline, habit is when we're prepared to and have that inclination. Its a good level of and relevant level of buffering of competing behaviors. There are three ways to learn to build discipline. The first is self-assessment, identify the why behind what you need discipline for, use a focusing question and make it essential your one thing that is going to get you to this. Find out the cause of resistance and learn to buffer it by doing your routine instead of excuses, sleeping or giving in to peer pressure. Secondly, self-awareness is learning to understand why you don't break your habits. Its simply because we don't have an understanding of how easy it is to give in to our impulses or urges rather than stay on track. The answer is to eliminate anything that will distract you, become indistractable, become a Choice Architect. "Out of sight, out of mind" is the saying applicably. Thirdly, self-celebration is to celebrate or reward your efforts for each win you accumulate every single day, celebrate when you fail to live up to your expectations as you now have learned something new by that opportunity or better yet celebrate your progress.[20]

There is a difference between active goals and passive goals. Passive goals are just goals we've thought of and include ways of doing things that can cater to those goals. Active goals are written, they have specific and measurable quantities or qualities, there is a plan towards their attainment. Included in these goals is setting long-term goals, as well as achieving and setting out to do daily tasks because we've set a set of active goals, we find it easier to achieve things this way. It provides some much needed direction. May help us avoid distractions as we've put into words and written down just what we will do.[21]

In religion

Self-discipline is an important principle in several religious systems. For example, in Buddhist ethics as outlines in the Noble Eightfold Path, the element of commitment to harmony and self-restraint has been described as a moral discipline.[22]

For some Christian ethics, virtues directed by the beatitudes were formally replaced by ascetical theology and obedience-based discipline, which changed orientation from the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to that of an authority, blessed but not possessing the same happiness which was given forth by adherence and observances. In the Medieval period, spirituality and morality were closely connected and even thought of as being practically the same.[23] The beatitudes were made an organizational principle since Saint Augustine. However, Christian ethics didn't have its existence as a form of discipline until the late, middle Medieval period, and along with Lutheranism and post-Enlightenment obedience-based discipline has been the new form.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines "The object, the intention, and the circumstances [as] the three "sources" of the morality of human acts" [24] A good intention cannot justify the means; and some acts are always wrong to choose. The Holy Spirit remains vital to understanding, "the eternal Word of the living God, [and] must, through the Holy Spirit, open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures."[25]

Alexander Maclaren suggested the duty and discipline of grace and the hope born of and carried throughout life can be described as follows:

'grace' means the sum of the felicities [happiness] of a future life. That is clear from two considerations — that this grace is the object of our hope all through life, which only an object beyond the grave can be, and also that its advent is contemporaneous with the revelation of Jesus Christ. The expression, though unusual, is valuable because it brings out two things. It reminds us that whatever of blessedness we may possess in the future it is all a gratuitous, unmerited gift of that loving God to whom we owe everything."[26]

Self-discipline is how our self-control is gained, and the way our hope is maintained. "Hope follows desire. The vigor of our hopes is affected by the warmth of our desires. The warmth of our desires towards the future depends largely on the turning away of our desires from the present."[27]

Control

Self-control is a lack of impulsivity, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.[28] The first steps of any individual seeking to better themselves is overriding these impulses. The ability to regulate one's emotions and behavior is a key components of our brains executive function, the skills we are born with or innate to us that help allow us to plan, monitor, and attain goals. Giving into impulses right away is what stuns our internal and external powers and our growth. Self-control is refraining from doing certain things while discipline is enacting routines or reforming ourself to better build good habits. Self-control is choosing successfully between competing behaviors to your preferred behavior or alternatives, while discipline is habits accumulating to build on what's succeeding thus they self-control and discipline may overlap. There is currently debates surrounding whether there is ego depletion (finite willpower) and whether self-control is innate individual difference v.s. a learned skill that anyone can benefit from. Willpower or self-control energy is really an waxing and waning energy, fluctuating resource that is comparable to our physical energy levels throughout the day. Anyone can still benefit form healthy habits and take counter-measures to control our behaviour (impulse control or refraining). This is a difficult measure but one we all take since everyone has domains of life in which they could use this greater willpower. The four strategies are as follows: Firstly, situation selection where we always avoid situations where you will be likely to confront temptations, secondly, situation modification as in do what you can effort wise to reduce the pull of the temptation in the situation that arises, thirdly, distraction is try to distract yourself with better alternatives, and fourth, reappraisal is change the way you think about the bad habit so you don't favor it as much as you once did.[29]

Common techniques

  1. Support – Makes the student feel valued
  2. Expectation – Reinforces what is expected
  3. Breakdown – Communicates how the expectation broke down or where there was failure to meet
  4. Benefit – Relays to the student how important it is to meet the expectation and how it benefits them
  5. Closure – Determine whether the situation has been resolved or if the conversation is at a place where the student can move on
Assertive Discipline model was developed be Lee Canter and Marlene Canter. It fails to address the specific needs of individual students. The downsides are there is a lot of rigidity to planned disciplinary actions, thus it does not address the root causes of misbehavior, the underlying cause of misbehaviour is often overlooked. And its not based on needs of the students, they are passive recipients of information of their misbehavior and are not active in their discussion.[41]

See also

References

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