RayK

Discipline

9 posts in this topic

For those who know this subject and how to create it, great. This message is primarily for those whom do not.

In my life I have been told many times that "I wish I had your discipline", or "you are fanatical when it comes to discipline". First I would like to say that discipline is a choice and we all have discipline. The question is what are ones actions disciplined for? Discipline comes as a secondary consequence of setting goals and values. I, for example; value being lean more than I value a second slice of cake. By knowing my values and prioritizing them uncomprimisingly, I instill discipline as a secondary consequence. You can not go directly out and look for discipline, without asking disciplined to what?

The more one knows their values and prioritizes them, the more intense their discipline. Also, the sooner and more often one obtains their goals and happiness. Everyone could be just as disciplined as I am, if they choose to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ray, I am not sure just what you mean by "discipline." First you say "discipline is a choice and we all have discipline," and then you say that you "instill discipline as a secondary consequence" when "knowing my values and prioritizing them uncomprimisingly[sic]." If discipline is a choice, how is it instilled as a consequence of something else?

I usually think of discipline as being associated with adhering to a method or procedure, as a means towards maintaining order. You seem to be using the word differently, and I am not sure in what sense. Can you explain a bit more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I define discipline as a system of rules governing conduct, action or benavior. So we all do have discipline, even the person who is not integrated on their values.

Stephen you are correct in that I used an incorrect word, instill, integrate would have been more appropriate. To have discipline is the equivalent of having a philosophy. Every person has a philosophy weather chosen or unchosen, weather integrated or contradicting. Most people chose not to integrate and prioritize their values, so their discipline towards a goal changes or loses intensity because they have not selected a primary, secondary and so on. So it is the setting of goals and prioritizing those goals that intensifies discipline.

An analogy that I hope will help is the person who chooses to conduct his behavior in the opposite of society. The rules governing his life may be contradicting, but he has set rules, so he has discipline. A good example of discipline, is the person that values their teeth, so he has the discipline to brush them accordingly, even when he is tired.

So, as long as one makes choices they are disciplined accoding to the rules that govern their values and actions. If one integrates and prioritizes their values then their discipline will intensify as a secondary consequence of wanting to achieve their values.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not certain I agree with you, RayK. It requires no discipline to pursue irrational values such as drunkeness, lethargy, evasion; it requires tremendous discipline to, first, identify and then pursue rational values.

Presently I am engaging in trying to lose weight, and while I would like very much to be thin that strong preference is NOT ENOUGH, especially when I'm not seeing much in the way of results. So, I keep "talking up" even small gains to myself: "Clothes are a bit baggy today" "Hey, he said I look nice" "My back doesn't hurt so much" . . . and so on.

That is precisely why the scrupulous pursuit of rational goals is so heroic; it is difficult beyond belief. The important thing to remember, is that in the long term, it's worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The definition comes directly from "Merriam-Webster Dictionary". A system of rules governing conduct, action or behavior. It is not the discipline that sets the values, weather rational or irrational. The person sets or chooses the values. From the values comes a persons discipline to aquire those values. To some people being lazy, drunk or ignorant might be considered a value. So it would take a good amount of discipline to get up and read the "Bible" everyday waiting for ones deliverance. Would you consider this a rational value? I think not. But I can not choose your values for you. Once values are set, it is the conduct or action taken to achieve those values that is discipline.

When it comes to my clients losing weight I try and show them that their value choices are irrational. If they value food more that leanness, they will have the discipline to always choose food over leannes. Their rules/discipline state that they will act in a certain way to achieve their values. The client has to change their code of values, integrate them and prioritize them. Only after the client has rearranged his values and put leannes over excessive food, will the action of discipline be applied towards body leannes.

Lets look at another word, addiction, when people do so called "bad" actions they call it addiction. But, addiction is defined as "devoting oneself to something excessively". I guarantee you Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, John Elway, Henry Ford and many other great men and women are excessive. But when it is something bad, like smoking, we call it addiction. And when it is so called good we call it discipline. Discipline and addiction are a choice, a choice of your values and what you will be disciplined and addicted to. I would say that you can be both addicted and disciplined at the same time and achieve greatness. I actually can not see another way to live life, for myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine once commented that it's harder to lose weight than to stop smoking because you cannot just STOP eating.

However, I continue to disagree, although only slightly. First off, and I do this too because I don't always have a valid mental definition of words, watch out for dictionary definitions. Discipline can mean many things. It can be, as you said, a set of rules, it can be a path of study, an administered punishment, and a variety of other things.

Personal or mental discipline is not the rules themselves but the will to actualize them. It is not discipline to continue something easy (overeating in America, starving in the Sudan) regardless of where that activity stands in your value-structure; presumably if it is "easy" i.e. a pattern one falls into without effort, then it requires no discipline to pursue. I think you are dropping the context in which one pursues values.

Some examples: it requires tremendous discipline NOT to explode into rage in a socially inappropriate situation, but it ALSO requires tremendous discipline to exercise that same anger when it is appropriate but one is afraid of the consequences of righteous anger. In the Sudan, it may require immense discipline and constant, unrelenting effort to get ENOUGH to eat, in America it requires the same not to eat TOO MUCH.

Hmm . . . so, what I'm trying to say is, discipline is refusal to be ruled by ones emotions or short-term whims or physical vagaries when such are contradictory to one's long-term goals. Which is, of course, why it's so hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to add a few things to further clarify my ideas. I do this with my clients and thought it might be helpful for a further understanding.

When a client comes into my office I first ask the client what value do they want to obtain. The values differ from, "I want to look good in a bikini", "I want to gain my functioanal-ability back", or "I do not have the time to waste on traditional workouts". It does not matter what their values are, they always come from their philosphy of life. I always start my introduction of Progressive Exercise through the window of philosophy.

A person's philosophy will lead them to their values, there is no other way. An improper religious metaphysics will lead people to think that their body does not matter when they die, their soul is the only thing that goes on. An improper epistemology might allow them to think that all theories have validity and Progressive Exercise is no better. Without always integrating knowledge they will not agree with the theory of evolution and think they have a different genetic makeup than they do. Weather the philosophy is integrated and rational or not, it sets their values. This is not new stuff, for Objectivist. What I am trying to show, is that an irrational philosophy or one that is not integrated will lead people to irrational values and set their discipline in the wrong direction. Discipline in the wrong value will not lead to an enhanced life.

To get my clients to re-direct their discipline in a life enhancing value requires that I get them to understand their contradictions or non-integration in their philosophy. Then to choose a philosophy that is life enhancing. Once this is done their discipline will be directed towards rational goals and values. It is a rational philosophy (Objectivism) that allows people to choose proper life enhancing values. Then the discipline will allow them to achieve the "heroic life".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that discipline will only aid you if you possess rational values; I was trying to explain that discipline does not necessarily FOLLOW from having rational values.

Where Objectivism stands alone, I think, is in the fact that if you don't act to achieve your rational values, i.e. practice your virtues, you're still being irrational. :excl: There are degrees and degrees of that, of course. It's hard to know, when you're exhausted from a long day at work, whether you should exercise NOW or get a nap. In the long term, you want to be thin, but you don't want to injure yourself by working too hard, and your body is telling you that you are tired. You have to make a rational evaluation of whether a nap is prudent right now, and, if you choose exercise, you have to exercise :) discipline to ignore your tiredness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After giving it some further thought, integration is the key. The more integrated ones philosophy of life, the more enhanced their discipline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites