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"To think good thoughts requires effort. This one of the things that discipline - training - is about". -James Clavell, Sh?gun (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 worlds 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.

Use of the word discipline

Children being educated to use public litter bins is a form of disciplinary education that is expected by some societies. Discipline is followed in every school. If a child cannot use a litter bin the lack of discipline can result in a reaction from observant people in public. Many people observe a form of disciplinary effort in their daily lives. Discipline acts as an important role in students' campus life to enhance their credit and intellectual recognition amongst peers. In academia, discipline can also regard the educators' responses and efforts that are designed to punish the student(s).

Discipline is a moral obligation among many groups of people. Disciplined behavior is required by some laws and other legal obligations. Commercial entities can also put in place strict disciplinary requirements for the length of the commercial agreement. Airlines enforce strict disciplinary and conduct rules upon flight passengers.


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. A disciplinarian 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.[]


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. Discipline could be about deciding on what is right from wrong and help us make decisions that will make us solidify our goals. "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.[1] Secondly, its action that completes or furthers 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 "upto 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. Low self-esteem, guilt, depression or inadequacy could be the reasons for procrastination.[2]

It takes two months for a new habit to form according to research by Phillippa Lally and colleagues.[3][4] 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 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

An example of self-discipline then is the Stoic Dichotomy of Control.[8] This is where we write down what influences we have some or complete control over and those which we do not. Focusing your time and attention on things within the spheres of what you have control over and accepting what we don't have control over prevents our brains from seeing more problems then there are solutions, not being able to figure out what's really in our control, and from having an dopamine rush that without which would prevent you from taking positive steps or actions towards things we can influence.

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.[9]

In 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.[10] 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.

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."[11]

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."[12]

Common techniques

  • Time management is a form of discipline that utilizes time as the regulator and the observer of time as the governor. The requirement is for time to be used efficiently. This activity maximizes the result of a set of activities by marking each activity within a boundary of time. To improve efficiency activities that are not necessary to complete the current activity or goal should be completed separately without interruption, this is the alternative to multi-tasking. Time management can utilize skills, tools, or techniques to create specific time allotments according to a range of organization methods. Time management for discipline scheduling should involve focusing on one or two tasks, since we "start small and build on success incrementally", clearly defining what you plan to undertake and when you intend to do it, and focus on what we are doing rather than focusing on what we want to resist doing.[13] A major theme arising from time management is that of modifying behavior to ensure compliance with time-related deadlines. It may be utilized by an emphasis on completing goals rather than a specific task, completing short and non-urgent tasks first, complete urgent and high importance tasks second and make progress on less urgent tasks which are time-consuming in the middle of the working day. More commonly segregating operations to different individuals as opposed to overlapping activities, more efficiently organizing and completing tasks, this may however increase the need for supervision, non-group fixed milestones, and intermittent reports. This theme is interrelated with discipline and methods of discipline that can be used to incentivize group or personal responsibility and reducing wasted hours by performance drops or irrelevant tasks to completing a deadline. Time management is about non-punitive scheduling and goal-oriented programs. Team-based time management is exemplified by good questioning. Meeting times can be significantly reduced by asking why we need to meet to accomplish this, what will we do differently if we succeed and how will this further the vision or goals of our team, group or organization?[14] Disciplined time management includes removing distractions, a difficult but useful way of building discipline and essential component of time management.
  • Responsibility-centered discipline or responsibility-based discipline co-opts the members to understand remedies for problems in an organization.[15] Responsibility-based discipline is about expressing the warmth of appreciation, embracing interests, highlight effort and welcoming feedback, getting everyone's agreement on the set ground rules and getting students involved in classroom rules and guidelines and problem-solving, this is while maintaining dignity and observing clear limits. Remorse and empathy are taught in the form of an apology, make restitution, or create a plan of action. Limits are defined that express a teachers beliefs, demands, and expectations within the context of clear values and goals that help create a learning environment. Though responsibility-centered discipline is to make choices that embody these core values of integrity, perseverance, respect, and responsibility, rather than simply reminding people of rules. Obedience-based discipline is basing membership on hard work, diligence, obedience to authority, and self-discipline.[16][17] Sending reminders about how the member can meet the performance indicators, organizational objectives, why the rules should be adhered to, or useful advice on meeting the rules day-to-day. The downside to this model is disobedience can occur when there is no punishments or rewards in place when there is no one there to administer them, since its all about whether that person is detected or not.[18] Any students expect there should always be a reward for good behavior, thus detection is only seen as the problem to students. An obedience-based model utilizes consequences and punishments as deterrents,[19] responsibility-based model moves away from using merely rules, limits, and consequences, and away from punitive measures like detention, suspension, expulsion and counseling. Students have displayed improved academic success, behavior management, in the school climate, student and teacher satisfaction using responsibility-centered discipline, using a five step rule based technique to help create solutions:[20]

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

  • Additionally conduct grades reflect a student's willingness to develop and internalize responsible behavior. Most schools fail to achieve exemplary role models and changes that last because the students finds way of offloading and project their behaviors onto others. Responsibility-Centered Discipline was created by Larry Thompson to help educators learn the necessary skills and develop a plan to systematically make a culture of student self-responsibility for their schools. Its meant to take responsibility off of teachers and put them on the self responsibility of the students so they take ownership of their behavior, this is an example of organizational culture. This is a move away from using punishments and time-based consequences to responsibility based since it prevented students from learning from the problem. The disadvantage of a obedience "rule-based" approach is that there would be unclear suggestion about the rules, "your not allowed to XYZ" which could be dismissed, argued or otherwise ignored by the person in question. Responsibility is not a system of punishments or consequences, it trains students to get control of themselves and enables students to take responsibility for their actions and to create solutions, making for a fairer way of handling the classroom.[21]
  • Team-building is part of corporate culture. It can be defined as "team-building is the process of turning a group of individual contributing employees into a cohesive team--a group of people organized to work together to meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing their purpose and goals."[22] Additionally a team-building includes: aligning around goals, building effective working relationships, reducing team members' role ambiguity and finding solutions to team problems. Corporate culture in the form of planned activities allows employees to share their perspectives on that culture. Organization culture planned activities encourages "thought, discussion, and employee buy-in into the company leadership philosophies".[23] An organisation might try focusing on the processes behind team building activities to try and test what could be cause of a failure. Its best to give out challenges that are substantially more difficult then the daily work or tasks employees are likely to face. Its also important that teams work on similar projects, its also important that they face work-related challenges otherwise people might believe that isn't worth the time or effort to do these challenges again. Examples of team-building include: team norms and the team-building exercise that will help create them, adopt group guidelines, share three shining work moments, sharing management wisdom, sharing personal bests and icebreakers.[24]
  • Micromanaging is something that should be avoided if possible and there are useful ways to improve a relationship with your manager. At times micromanaging may be useful if you aren't performing the task upto par with the quality expected or the level of the paycheck, spend time loitering and chatting, or more seriously missing deadlines or forgetting to respond to emails, in other words things of an urgent nature.[25] Usefully you should make alterations that fit the perspective of the manager, if its unimportant to you then it isn't a problem to defer to the manager. Always know the "how" for every step of the project right at the very beginning to ensure you are on board and push back against this if its ridiculous change to how things normally operate, if its only different then make the change. Always ask if you've met your competence requirements, then if its satisfactory you can ask to change meetings and therefore have more freedom to do things without constant oversight. Honesty is the best way on how to tell a manager how he or she is doing, if its an inadvertently micromanaging role of that manager then it pays to let them know that an largely independent worker does not need that constant oversight and to ease up. A manager's role is always at a basic level to tell an employee what to do and follow up on things.
  • Corporal punishment is a widely debated technique of discipline that can focus on spanking, slapping, whipping, deprivation, or hitting with an object using mild to extreme degrees of force. The general aim is to instill an understanding of consequence in the subject. Punishment can be used to instill immediate compliance as it acts as a reminder to the offender that there are consequences to their actions, especially when it comes to breaking the law. To deter would-be offenders. Corporal punishment is used in the military, its to punish unacceptable behavior and it is where strict disciplinary measures are used throughout. To provide a disincentive for not acting when requiring to act, when safety to others necessitates action, increase pain to adjust to a regiment whose misoperation or miscalculation results in injury, fatalities, damage to equipment or unnecessary delays and to efficiently, productively and effectively carry out ones duty, particularly when it is of high importance to their rank, society, and personal gratification.

See also


  1. ^ Carpenter, Erin (26 October 2018). "Why Discipline is More Important than Motivation". thrivecounselingdenver. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ Duru, Erdinç; Balkis, Murat (June 2017) [31 May 2017]. "Procrastination, Self-Esteem, Academic Performance, and Well-Being: A Moderated Mediation Model". International Journal of Educational Psychology. 6 (2): 97-119. doi:10.17583/ijep.2017.2584 – via
  3. ^ Clear, James (6 March 2014). "How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science)". jamesclear. Retrieved 2021.
  4. ^ Lally, Jaarsveld, Potts, Wardle, Phillippa, Cornelia H. M. van, Henry W. W., Jane (16 July 2009). "How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world". European Journal of Social Psychology. 40 (6): 998-1009. doi:10.1002/ejsp.674. Retrieved 2021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Wojcik, Chris. "This Single Habit Took My Discipline to the Next Level". Medium. Retrieved 2021.
  6. ^ Brett, Kate, McKay. "The 7 Habits: Be Proactive, Not Reactive". artofmanliness. Retrieved 2021.
  7. ^ Heyman, Hauser-Cram, M., P. (2015). "Negative life events predict performance on an executive function task in young adults with developmental disabilities". J Intellect Disabil Res. 59 (8). doi:10.1111/jir.12181. Retrieved 2021.
  8. ^ Brett, Kate, McKay. "The 7 Habits: Be Proactive, Not Reactive". artofmanliness. Retrieved 2021.
  9. ^ Bodhi (2005), p. 153.
  10. ^ Bouchard, Charles E. "What Is "Prudential Personalism"? Why Does It Matter?". Catholic Health Association of the United States. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "1 Peter 1:16: The duty and discipline of Christian hope". Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ "1 Peter 1:16: Christians God-like Men, The duty and discipline of Christian hope". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Wick, Douglas A. "Discipline Rituals - What We Resist Persists".
  14. ^[dead link]
  15. ^ Grote, Dick (2006). The Birth of Discipline Without Punishment. American Management Association International. p. 5. ISBN 9780814473306.
  16. ^ Coopersmith, Stanley (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco: Freeman. ISBN 9780891060178.
  17. ^ Coopersmith, Stanley (1975). Developing motivation in young children. San Francisco: Albion.
  18. ^ Curwin, Mendler, Richard L., Allen N. "Beyond obedience: A discipline model for the long term". cyc-net. Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ Davis, Ben. "Why is discipline important in the public services?". mvorganizing. Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ "Responsibility-Centered Discipline" (PDF). givemfive. ©c AccuTrain Corporation. Retrieved 2021.
  21. ^ "Responsibility-Centered Discipline" (PDF). givemfive. ©c AccuTrain Corporation. Retrieved 2021.
  22. ^ Heathfield, Susan. "What Is Team Building?". Thebalancecareers. Retrieved 2021.
  23. ^ Heathfield, Susan M. "Keys to Team Building Success". thebalancecareers. Retrieved 2021.
  24. ^ Heathfield, Susan. "7 Team Building Exercises to Engage Your Employees". thebalancecareers. Retrieved 2021.
  25. ^ LUCAS, SUZANNE. "5 Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Your Micromanaging Boss". Thebalancecareers. Retrieved 2021.

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