Four Aspects of Self Discipline

After a long period of time, here is another post about Self Discipline explaining the four aspects of  it.


First one is “Acceptance” which means that you perceive reality precisely and acknowledge what you perceive. I know this sounds simple and obvious, but in practice it’s highly difficult. If you experience chronic difficulties in a specific area of your life, there’s a strong chance that the root of the problem is a failure to accept reality as it is.


The most fundamental mistake that people make in terms of self-discipline is a failure to precisely perceive and accept their current situation. Remember the analogy between self-discipline and weight training. If you don’t know what weights you are able to lift than you will not succeed. You need to know your present situation.

In a similar manner, if you want to increase your self-discipline, you must know where you stand right now. How strong is your discipline at this moment? Which challenges are easy for you, and which are virtually impossible for you?

The first step is to openly accept where you are right now, whether you feel good about it or not. Surrender yourself to what you have to work with — maybe it isn’t fair, but it is what it is. And you won’t get any stronger until you accept where you are right now.


Second aspect is Willpower. Willpower is your ability to set a course of action and say, “Engage!” Willpower provides an intensely powerful yet temporary boost. Think of it as a one-shot thruster. It burns out quickly, but if directed intelligently, it can provide the burst you need to overcome inertia and create momentum.

Willpower is a concentration of force. You gather up all your energy and make a massive thrust forward. You attack your problems strategically at their weakest points until they crack, allowing you enough room to maneuver deeper into their territory and finish them off.

The application of willpower includes the following steps:

  1. Choose your objective
  2. Create a plan of attack
  3. Execute the plan

Don’t use willpower to attack your biggest problem directly. Use willpower to attack the environmental and social obstacles that perpetuate the problem. Establish a beachhead first, and then fortify your position. Habit puts action on autopilot, such that very little willpower is required for ongoing progress, allowing you to practically coast towards your goal.

Hard Work

Third one is Hard Work. Things challenging you can be considered as Hard Work. When you discipline yourself to do what is hard, you gain access to a realm of results that are denied everyone else. The willingness to do what is difficult is like having a key to a special private treasure room. The nice thing about hard work is that it’s universal. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — hard work can be used to achieve positive long-term results regardless of the specifics.

Hard work pays off. When someone tells you otherwise, beware the sales pitch for something “fast and easy” that’s about to come next. The greater your capacity for hard work, the more rewards fall within your grasp. The deeper you can dig, the more treasure you can potentially find.

For example… Being healthy is hard work. Finding and maintaining a successful relationship is hard work. Raising kids is hard work. Getting organized is hard work. Setting goals, making plans to achieve them, and staying on track is hard work. Even being happy is hard work.

Your life will reach a whole new level when you stop avoiding and fearing hard work and simply surrender to it. Make it your ally instead of your enemy. It’s a potent tool to have on your side.


Diligence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting. Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep accumulating results.

Diligence will ultimately provide its own motivation. If you simply keep taking action, you’ll eventually get results, and results can be very motivating. For example, you may become a lot more enthusiastic about dieting and exercising once you’ve lost those first 10 pounds and feel your clothes fitting more loosely.

Diligence of action comes from diligence of vision. When you are totally clear about what you want in such a way that your vision doesn’t change much, you’ll be more consistent — and diligent— in your actions. And that consistency of action will produce consistency of results.


After a general overview about Self Discipline, now we have a deeper understanding of all of the four aspects of Self Discipline. It is time to start building or improving Self Discipline.

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