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  1. #11
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Let's not sidetrack this useful conversation.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #12
    Senor Membrane
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    It's not out of topic in my opinion. Some parents believe that self-discipline will get their children where they want to be. Some believe that the most important thing is that the child can be a child as long as it is possible. How important is self-discipline?

  3. #13
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I could split it if the original thread can't support the derail.

  4. #14
    Senor Membrane
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    Well, if you split it into "Skills of Self-discipline" and "Children and Self-discipline" I think one of them will die. They are the same topic. Some of such skills are learned in childhood.

  5. #15
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Okay. I'm not going to do anything just yet. Don't worry about it for now. I was just letting you know that it seemed like a related and interesting topic and there were ways to save the thread. Please carry on. I'mma be quiet now and listen.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    My mother nearly beat the habit of self-discipline into me and for years I resented her for it. She regarded punishment as the best reinforcer of behavior change. Which it is, if you don't care about a good relationship with your kid, anyway! My view.

    I remember sitting at the piano and peeking at the clock, sometimes with tears rolling down my cheeks, while I slogged away at my lessons knowing that I wouldn't be allowed, under pain of death, to get up until I had completed the allotted exercises and time.

    But it has turned out to be a valuable trait to possess in my adult life. And I imagine it is a crucial skill for a flighty INFP.

    So, maybe since that was the way I first learned how to discipline myself - by someone else disciplining me until it became a habit, I often announce to a close friend a goal I have.

    Then I use that friend as a guide to check in with me now and then to see how I am progressing.

    It helps me to have someone else to be accountable to to keep me on task.

    I refrain from imposing upon my friend to give me a spanking, if I don't meet my goals, however.
    So the interesting note here is that you enlist the help of a friend to give you feedback to help with a change you are trying to make. Seems like a generally useful technique.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    It would be a function of basic cognitive makeup - neuroticism and extroversion... and so anything that one does to control it would be about identifying the reactions in the moment and learning to step down. Meditation was effective for me, to some degree. It's not the sitting still though, it's the mental hoops you work through.

    I've come to realize how much cognitive therapy touches on these things, so that's what I suggest reading. Essentially you need to be self-aware enough to see the emotions forming, then actively stomp down (normally through replacement), to link certain things together.

    For example, if you tend to get emotionally charged with political items, you need to trace back the reaction and replace it with a reaction you have to... say... math problems. By doing so, you restructure/bypass the existing emotional wiring and are able to tone down the impulsive reaction.

    You can work on this by replaying the same pattern - the one you want to short cut - over and over. That's not quite meditation, I suppose!
    Yeah. That's the type of thing I was getting at. It seems like most books on self-change talk about being able to observe (and usually record or measure) your thoughts, feelings, and other reactions in various situations, and then replacing those reactions with the one that is desired.

    This, along with Anja's technique, and another of simply not putting oneself in situations that lead to undesired behavior, seems to cover the all the elements of the "A-B-C" model of behavior. That is that Antecedents lead to Behavior which then yield Consequences that feedback to create a reward or punishment for the behavior.

    If we utilize the A-B-C model, then we have three main places to modify results.
    1) Placing ourselves in situations that lead to desired behavior while avoiding situations that lead to undesired behavior.
    2) Replacing undesired responses with desired responses through repetition and practice.
    3) And setting up a way to correct or enhance our feedback based on consequences so that incentives for desired behavior is better than that of undesired behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    Which it is, for a dog.

    I don't mean to offend you, I mean that the stick and carrot thing really is not for anyone who believes in human rights. I think self-discipline should start with the kid choosing a goal and the parent reinforcing the child's will to keep to it.
    The "carrot and stick" is a way of talking about incentives in a negative light. Incentives are used all the time without violating human rights. If you are yourself in charge of your incentives, it seems even less like a "human rights violation."

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    This is a good topic.


    My mother struggles with self-discipline when it comes to eating. I got fat in high school and burned it all off with exercise over about a year or so, so I give her the following speech:

    Lots of people think that they must wait until they have discipline to embark on some project. It's a mistake, imo. You learn discipline through balanced but sustained effort. You don't get discipline any other way. It's supposed to be hard and it's supposed to suck until you start achieving some payoff. Usually that takes a while. You just have to fight the urge to slack off over and over until your will naturally gets stronger. There's no magic secret to discipline.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    I think that's a good point. That it is by practicing self-discipline that one achieves it.

    Seems so easy.
    I don't know. I don't believe in the "just do it" mentality. I've done things this way before, and the tendency for me is to over do-it initially and then burn-out.

    Also, there are somethings that some people will be able to just naturally do with "willpower," and other things that people will have a harder time doing. It varies from situation to situation and from person to person. Unfortunately, attempting to "will" ourselves in all situations will work sometimes, and not others, and we won't really know why there is a difference.

    I think our chances of success are much higher if done with a concrete plan (which we adjust when the initial ones don't work), and if done in moderation and appropriateness to our own environment, habits, and values.

    In this model, we can find out why we succeed at somethings while struggle with others, and may even be able to transfer some ques from successful situations to less successful ones.

    But now I am thinking, even with knowledge about all this, it seems like we could actually work on some core skills that will benefit us on many situations.

    For instance, if we are able to keep a "journal" through any single attempt at self-change, that may help us in using "journaling" for other situation.

    Keeping a journal would then be a concrete learn-able skill that we could transfer from situation to situation, to help in particular for identifying the Antecedents of our behavior.

    Mentally rehearsing or practicing our replacements to particular thoughts or behavior would be a generally useful skill to have that directly affects our Behavior.

    Enlisting the help of friends to keep ourselves accountable is a way of affecting the Consequences of our behavior. Also, it seems like if you have a group of friends who support each other through self-change, then this group will be helpful to each other in many situations.

    So already, we've come up with three fairly general (yet fairly concrete) things we can do to improve our self-discipline overall. Nevertheless, even doing these three things will require self-discipline in themselves.

    Are there even more "basic" (read concrete but fairly universal) things, then, that we could do to aid in our self-discipline?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  7. #17
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    The easiest and thus most efficient way to reach an extreme level of self-discipline is finding tasks that you personally actually enjoy executing. This garners the highest possible levels of productivity, depth of thought, non-deviation from the planned path. I'm often regarded by some peers as quite self-disciplined, simply because I exercise a lot, I work a lot and study a lot, but the reality is that I simply have proved many venues and found those sports, jobs and subjects that I enjoy doing the most, thus I do not need to resist my impulses on a constat basis.

    There might be an invisible either genetic or behavioral-cognitive component that either widens or restricts the set of tasks that you enjoy executing. At the worst possible level, one exclusively enjoys doing nothing, and in that case perphas my approach doesn't work.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  8. #18
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    You may like Steve Pavlina's articles on Self Discipline. Here's a six part series. http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/200...lf-discipline/ It's not too long, easy to read, and covers some of the most important stuff regarding self-discipline. (I'm pretty sure there's more on self-discipline if you look.)

    If you read it, you'll see that he recommends building your self-discipline like you would build muscles while weight lifting. See what level you are currently at, and then add enough so that it will be a challenge, so you can experience growth, rather than just failing because it's too much or doing something that's so easy it won't help you any.

    Common sense. Okay, nobody ever said that it wasn't.

    My willpower is great, but my self-discipline sucks. That's not too bad because I have a lot of fun and do what I like doing. But I could still benefit from having more self-discipline. For me, the problem would be getting myself to care. Getting myself to do something I hate is easy, I see it as either a fun personal challenge or I just put my mind off of it and do it. But once I've had my success, I realize that I don't even care anymore. Once the challenge part of it is over and it's just down to doing it over and over and over and over again, I just say screw it and give up. I can't imagine getting my mind to want something that would require that.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #19
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    The easiest and thus most efficient way to reach an extreme level of self-discipline is finding tasks that you personally actually enjoy executing. This garners the highest possible levels of productivity, depth of thought, non-deviation from the planned path. I'm often regarded by some peers as quite self-disciplined, simply because I exercise a lot, I work a lot and study a lot, but the reality is that I simply have proved many venues and found those sports, jobs and subjects that I enjoy doing the most, thus I do not need to resist my impulses on a constat basis.

    There might be an invisible either genetic or behavioral-cognitive component that either widens or restricts the set of tasks that you enjoy executing. At the worst possible level, one exclusively enjoys doing nothing, and in that case perphas my approach doesn't work.
    I agree with FDG. I could barely bring myself to attend the classes that I thought were stupid and irrelevant. But while working on my projects, I can work more than 12 hours a day on a regular basis, work many consecutive weekends, not eat because I "have something to do".

    It's not really about impulse control if it's something that you feel driven to do. Like an ADD INTP who sits programming without eating for hours on end... Again, not about impulse control if your impulse is to work.

    Self-discipline/impulse control is necessary only when you're forcing yourself to do something that doesn't come naturally to yourself... I guess self-discipline would be necessary if you can't make a living out of something that comes naturally to you.

    FTR, my parents beat a fear of failure into me when I was a child. I don't think it made me more self-disciplined; it simply made me anti-establishment and anti-authority. They were REALLY surprised when I eventually became a workaholic because their attitude was that you need self-discipline to do work.

    As for doing the stuff that I don't like, but is necessary... I just tell myself to "focus", and psych myself into taking an attitude that I would appreciate, e.g. "you would be able to prove to yourself that you can run 3 miles, and you'll end at this beautiful park". Also, pain-block and distraction e.g. from cute babies in prams along the way is useful.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Fiver's Avatar
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    I have two kids and I would never force them to do something (outside of schoolwork) that made them miserable in the name of self-discipline.

    I do make every effort to teach my children: Passion + Self-Discipline = Rewarding results.

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