Self-Discipline as a Tool to Enhance Efficiency

Self-Discipline as a Tool to Enhance Efficiency

By: Kadambari Rana, an Independent Educationist

Kadambari is an educationist who is currently working on documenting her observations on children's play and learning experiences.

“I regret responding to those tempting advances, it was so short sighted of me”, says one person’s inner voice. “Oh god! I wish I had not said what I said. Why couldn’t I control my anger!”, says the inner voice of another.

On a regular basis most people experience similar feelings of regret and guilt and blame themselves for wavering from their desired disposition. People shilly-shally because their self-discipline is weak and always negotiating for a pleasing state of affairs.

 It may take time and practice to become self-disciplined and as a first step towards attaining an ability to regulate actions people must begin to achieve mastery over their thoughts!

Have you ever wondered why some of your family members, colleagues and friends are more effective than you are?  The answer in most probability will be; because of their self-discipline! These are the people who have geared their inner personal and external environment to positively regulate their behaviour, emotions and actions.

They are successful because they have conquered impulsive responses and developed systems to recognize mistakes, rectify slipups and overcome weaknesses. Depending on the circumstances, self-discipline could mean a range of abilities.

In one situation it could be the skill to fruitfully restrain yourself from indulging in imprudent desires, in another situation it could mean sustaining the will power to meet set goals. Since all individuals are unique therefore self-discipline can mean different things for different people yet the core skills governing self-discipline remain generic.

According to the controversial psycho-sexual theorist Sigmund Freud, most of our situational responses are due to the interplay of three elements. These three elements are ’Id’, ‘Ego’ and ‘Super Ego’. ‘Id’ essentially are the desires; these could include the basic need for milk and love for a new born or the need for physical pleasure for an adult.

‘Ego’ comes up with realistic and reasonable solutions to satisfy these desires. ‘Super Ego’ is the moral compass which makes people feel guilty. For instance, someone is on a diet plan but is drawn towards a chocolate bar; the ‘Id’ will tell the person to go all out and have the full chocolate bar, but the ‘Super Ego’ will tell the person that it would be wrong to even touch the chocolate and the ‘Ego’ will tell the person to have one tiny bit to satiate the urge.

 ‘Ego’ and ‘Super Ego’ develop only with age and that is the reason why the urgency with which a child wants her demands to be met is more acceptable than a similar urgency created by an adult. ’Super Ego’ is different for different people because it is a result of individual life experiences and conditioning. Since individuals have their own unique “Id”, “Ego” and “Super Ego” combinations that is the reason why something which is morally incorrect for one person has no moral bearing on another.

Developing self-discipline is an essential life skill and therefore it must be honed. In the absence of self-discipline people would be pulled in extreme directions by their desires and their need for short term gratification. This would make individuals unproductive in all domains of their life. Would being unproductive help people proceed with anything at all? No! Moreover, if people are considering to become experts in their respective fields that also cannot be achieved without hard work and self-discipline. Self- discipline allows people to contain the boundlessness of their impulses to become better versions of themselves. Self-discipline is all to do with one’s own self, for one’s own self and for one’s own peace!

Strategies to become self-disciplined

  • Decide on your personal rules and limits and stick to them
  • Create clearly defined goals and work towards them
  • Encourage yourself to do some unappealing chores
  • Keep promises to yourself and others
  • Respect and respond to course correction in a positive way
  • Give yourself logical reasons behind certain choices as better and less-better and not as good or bad
  • Avoid being judgemental about yourself and others
  • Not postponing matters that require attention
  • Faster response time to situations
  • Maintaining a planner
  • Regulating your own emotions and feelings because unless you know your impulses you won’t be able to control them
  • To remain motivated by doing something with energy and enthusiasm
  • Take tasks to completion
  • Develop a healthy conscience