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  1. #1

    Default The Core Skills of Self-Discipline

    When learning any skill set, we start with the basics.

    So what are the basics of self-discipline?

    What is the very first thing that a person should learn to do well to build the skill-set of self-discipline?

    What are the "core" skills of self-discipline?

    What individual skills are needed to be reasonably self-disciplined?

    What individual skills need to be mastered to master self-discipline?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    My first question would be - is self-discipline a skill? Can it simply be taught? I see it as the sum of many natural forming traits. We can train each individual one, but the totality of discipline is too multi-faceted for it to be trained as a whole. Having said that.

    The basics are impulse control, separation of self, decision making and carry through.

    They must be learnt in that order, or roughly so (the carry through is sort of a wild card in this, as it carries elements of the others - of control in general - and yet is different)

    The core skills are impulse control and analytical decision making. That is, to control the reactions and then decide in a disciplined organised manner. Following that, it is the adherence to one's internal rational (ie: non-impulsive) structure, whatever that may be.

    IMO, of course. That's my form of discipline - and I'm among the most rigid I have ever known when it comes for my own internal structure.

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    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.
    "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

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    My first question would be - is self-discipline a skill? Can it simply be taught? I see it as the sum of many natural forming traits. We can train each individual one, but the totality of discipline is too multi-faceted for it to be trained as a whole. Having said that.
    I think it is a set of skills. Tracking and testing one's own limitations being one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    The basics are impulse control, separation of self, decision making and carry through.

    They must be learnt in that order, or roughly so (the carry through is sort of a wild card in this, as it carries elements of the others - of control in general - and yet is different)

    The core skills are impulse control and analytical decision making. That is, to control the reactions and then decide in a disciplined organised manner. Following that, it is the adherence to one's internal rational (ie: non-impulsive) structure, whatever that may be.

    IMO, of course. That's my form of discipline - and I'm among the most rigid I have ever known when it comes for my own internal structure.
    I should have added. What in concrete terms can one practice, to develop the skills?

    So for impulse control? Would it be something like meditation, and sitting still for a half hour?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    So for impulse control? Would it be something like meditation, and sitting still for a half hour?
    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!

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    Senor Membrane
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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, 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.

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Quoting out of context. . .

    That's offensive to me.
    "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

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    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    When learning any skill set, we start with the basics.

    So what are the basics of self-discipline?

    What is the very first thing that a person should learn to do well to build the skill-set of self-discipline?

    What are the "core" skills of self-discipline?

    What individual skills are needed to be reasonably self-disciplined?

    What individual skills need to be mastered to master self-discipline?
    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.

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I think that's a good point. That it is by practicing self-discipline that one achieves it.

    Seems so easy.
    "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

  10. #10
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Quoting out of context. . .

    That's offensive to me.
    Well, do you disagree?

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