Discipline Comes from Within You

By | February 14, 2020

[February 14, 2020]  Navy Commander Joe Gallagher was the kind of man that you would want to meet in a bar and have an entertaining, fun evening.  He was smart, funny, and had that kind of personality everyone wanted to be around.  But, Joe couldn’t control his alcohol consumption one-night last year and he assaulted a police officer.  We all knew Joe and we also knew that he didn’t have the self-discipline to stop drinking.  Drinking destroyed Joe’s military career and his family.

Discipline comes from within you.  If you come from a family that practices discipline regularly, surprisingly, it matters little because it’s not contagious, and it’s not inherited.  Discipline doesn’t come from an external source; it must come from inside you.  For example, most of us have been around others from broken homes, tragic life circumstances, and every conceivable bad-luck situation and yet they are disciplined.  We might be surprised by their discipline but they are as genuine as any other person.

What this means is that no one can blame anyone else for their lack of discipline.  You cannot legitimately blame your parents or friends or even your school for any lack of control.  A person must own it.  A person must be capable of self-motivation.  No one else can do provide you with the self-regulation, emotional restraint, and control necessary to be successful.  Each person must make a personal decision and know that good discipline, especially in the beginning, is very hard.

I want to also stop the false argument that being in the military makes you a disciplined person.  We all know someone who has gotten out of the U.S. military and have drifted back to their old habits of being undisciplined.  They get fat, stop exercising their body and mind, and generally fail to take care of themselves.  As a conscious individual, only by choosing to be disciplined can we become disciplined.

My best advice is for people to do those things they know they are supposed to do.  Their consciousness is telling them what to do; they just need to listen to it and have the courage to step up and do it.  Everyone should act like we are someone we should be taking care of and not do those things we know to be harmful, like abusing alcohol and drugs.

How do we start?  Simple; get up early, exercise, eat good food, clean your room, tell the truth, and make a list of those things you know you should do and do it.  The story about Joe doesn’t end with his less-than-honorable discharge from the Navy.  He told me that getting kicked out of the Navy was the “best” thing that ever happened to him.  It was his wake-up call.  Joe has remarried with kids, a home, has a job as a civil engineer, and goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Discipline Comes from Within You

  1. Janna Faulkner

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. If you are a guy, be sure you get flowers for your sweetheart. Regardless, be sure to recognize the women in your family today.

  2. KenFBrown

    While you may not have a global corporation or a country to run, and so can get away with a few extra hours in bed, the point is that successful people dislike the same things that we all dislike but discipline themselves to do them anyway.

  3. Willie Shrumburger

    Discipline is “The ability to do what you know you should do, whether you feel like it or not.” quote of Brian Tracy.

    1. Deplorable John

      Right! Self discipline means that when you have something to do, you do it, regardless of whether you like it or not.

  4. Yusaf from Texas

    Learning how to cultivate the trait of self-discipline is one of the most crucial skills that you could ever learn. Take the time to master it. You will become much more productive and able to accomplish more with your life and waste less time.

    1. Pete the Meat

      Right and the more you practice it, the better you will become at it.

      1. Mr. T.J. Asper

        It cannot be emphasized enough that self-discipline is so important to doing well in life. There are, naturally, some important psychological traits that help or hurt us on this journey. If we know what to do and yet don’t do it, then we can never succeed in the most basic ideals in life. I know it’s hard. I teach HS students every day and watch as they struggle and many fail. It is all about what’ s inside you.

  5. Bryan Lee

    Failure to set their priorities right: Most students find themselves in the university or college and tend to think live is just a straight road without setting goals or something to achieve, they just go to class just because when you are in school you must go to class, some don’t even go at all. Setting your priorities right means planning ahead of time, know what you are in for and how soon you can achieve your goals.

    1. Harry Donner

      Good comment, Bryan. I too struggled in college my first year but figured it out pretty quick that I was wrong when I got my first grades. What a shock.

  6. Max Foster

    Ha ha. I thought to myself how right you are when you noted that when people get out of the military, they instantly gain weight, lose muscle control, and start being sloppy in their daily habits. It is not, as some have suggested, a matter of getting older but of losing that discipline they were forced to have. Regardless, discipline must come from within and I agree with that message.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Yeah, me too Max. I’ve seen this happen. My uncle and father-in-law were both in the US Marines and they couldn’t fit in their uniforms after one year of getting out. Now they hold onto their uniforms for some reason (I don’t understand it).

    2. JT Patterson

      Right on target as usual with your analysis, Max. Thanks. We also see this in students in their first year of college. They like to ‘party’ and there is no outside force to push them to study, go to class, and participate in those things that make them a better student.

  7. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, I’m amazed! Another great article. Thank you.

  8. Ruth M. McMasters

    Great article on the fact that we (lazy, spoiled, diaper-baby adults) are not disciplined to do much of anything. Just look at how America has gone from poverty and starvation to abundance and fat people in just a few decades. Funny how that works.

    1. Doug Smith

      If you are over the age of 55, you likely have seen this yourself. But the new young adults only see the world as racist and ignorant. But, of course, that describes them to a tee.

    2. apache2

      Yep, that’s what life is about. I guess that we could all live in the basement of our parent’s house eating cheetos but hey what a life that would be. Just get off your butt and get out of the house. Tell the truth, adopt some responsibility. Get going and don’t look back.

      1. Dead Pool Guy

        Yeah, apache2, you said it spot on. Eating cheetos, that one got to me quick.

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