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Discipline – A to Z of Self Leadership

I love this story from Anthony D’Mello as told in his book ‘Awareness‘:

Last year on Spanish television I heard a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door.
“Jaime”, he says, “wake up”!
Jaime answers, “I don’t want to get up. Papa”.
The father shouts, “Get up, you have to go to school”.
Jaime says, “I don’t want to go to school”.
“Why not”? asks the father.
“Three reasons”, says Jaime. “First, because it’s so dull; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school”. And the father says, “Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school. First, because it is your duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster”.

Some days I feel like Jaime. I don’t want to do difficult things. And with certain things (like exercising), I don’t want to do them any day!

Self leadership calls for discipline. But what if we didn’t see discipline as something difficult?

Jim Rohn says: “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

In yesterday’s post on courage, I discussed regrets. We certainly don’t want to have them, do we?

I’ve realized through my ongoing struggle to be fit and to write regularly, that I do two things wrong:

1. I overstretch. I say, for example, ‘I will walk every day’ rather than saying, ‘I’ll walk today’.
2. I don’t applaud myself enough for what I achieve. If I manage to walk one day, rather than be happy about it, I start pressuring myself by saying, ‘Now you must do this every day’.

I’ve realized that guilt is not a way to discipline. Neither is fear. We have to see the value of what we’re doing to stay disciplined.

And plenty of self respect. I’m not sure how I feel about Clint Eastwood (okay, I’m baised because of ‘the chair’ incident!), but he said something remarkable.

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self respect leads to self discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power” – Clint Eastwood

Action steps:

  • Choose something that you need to be disciplined about. It could be…something you react to, something you say, something you do or don’t, or something you eat or drink.
  • Just do that/ don’t do that today.
  • Just one day.
  • Then tomorrow. Don’t think about forever.
  • One day at a time. Slowly does it.
  • Keep recording your ‘victory’. Don’t record your ‘failure’.

Soon you might have enough of days together to have a pattern. To form a new habit. A lifelong one.


Today, choose  finding value over guilt. Self respect over self harm. Today, choose discipline over regret.

Today I’m on ‘D’ of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is the A to Z of Self Leadership. I’m also undertaking the NaBloPoMo for April – the theme is ‘grow’ and the Ultimate Blog Challenge


  1. Parul Parul April 8, 2015

    Such a great advice and of course possible to follow and be disciplined yet again 🙂

  2. Lanise Brown Lanise Brown April 7, 2015

    Lol, that joke in the beginning is too funny. And you’re definitely right, Corinne. I need discipline in my writing so I can write more everyday. I am taking it one step at a time though and it’s helping. Nice post. 🙂

  3. Lakshmi Lakshmi April 6, 2015

    Akin to ‘living in the present moment’ and doing achievable things instead of inflated goals. Good tip to success!

  4. Archana Archana April 6, 2015

    I love that quote by Clint Eastwood. Your action points are so simple and well… ‘actionable’. In my case, a conflict arises when discipline is not always met with results… 🙁

  5. Vidya Subramanian Vidya Subramanian April 6, 2015

    I love the quote about the headmaster. Hilarious 🙂 Exercise is something I always start off doing well and then give up after a few days. Guilt follows. It is very difficult to get rid of the guilt and even more difficult to take action. I hope I take it bit by bit and don’t forget to pat myself on my back for each tiny achievement.

  6. Shantala Shantala April 6, 2015

    I am guilty of doing the same thing with exercising, Corinne. I really should focus on just one day at a time, instead of committing to forever right at the start. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Debbie D. Debbie D. April 6, 2015

    Feeling rather sheepish after reading this. Self-discipline is one of my biggest failings! Thanks for the reminder, Corinne.

  8. Tarkabarka Tarkabarka April 6, 2015

    “I will visit no more than 100 blogs today, and then I will do homework.”

    • Lakshmi Lakshmi April 6, 2015

      That sounds familiar, like resolutions doomed to be broken (at least for me) !!

  9. Ruchi Singh Ruchi Singh April 5, 2015

    Hilarious and so apt for all of us! Loved all your posts.

  10. Michele Kimbrough Michele Kimbrough April 5, 2015

    Awesome and hilarious opening. Great post! (visiting from A-Z)

  11. rajlakshmi rajlakshmi April 5, 2015

    I feel to be disciplined, one needs to be motivated. Motivated enough to do the same thing every day and make it a part of lifestyle. Of course, that’s easy said, than done. 🙂 It’s so easy to get off the track sometimes.

  12. Carol Cassara Carol Cassara April 5, 2015

    Just what I needed this morning. A very wise piece of advice and I think I am going to practice it. Starting right now. Thank you, Corinne!

  13. Swathi Shenoy Swathi Shenoy April 5, 2015

    Read this post yesterday. Set my goal as going for an early morning walk and I am surprised that I actually did it. Will do this everyday from today 🙂
    Loved Jamie’s story 😀

  14. Andrea Andrea April 5, 2015

    I have definitely been there. I am in the midst of reading Gretchen Rubin’s “Better than Before”, regarding building stronger habits…it is FANTASTIC and full of great ideas on how you can address action steps & discipline. Best wishes moving forward:)

  15. Laurel Regan Laurel Regan April 5, 2015

    The way you described your struggles with discipline is so familiar to me, as I tend to approach my own situation in a very similar way. Your post really spoke to me, particularly the encouragement to take things a day at a time instead of over-pressuring ourselves. Thank you again for your inspirational words. 🙂

  16. Considerer Considerer April 5, 2015

    Breaking the hard task down manageably is a good idea. Something worth thinking about – thank you 🙂

  17. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando April 5, 2015

    This is the perfect plan for tackling something which feels overwhelming – one day at a time. And it does help when we keep track of our successes. When I sit down to work on my books, I always keep a word count for that session. When I see that I’m nearing 1,000, I’m determined to aim for 2,000. It’s a mental trick which keeps me going!
    Blessings, Corinne, and have a blessed Easter!

  18. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg April 5, 2015

    Loved Jamie’s story! I have committed it to my memory to use it in the training programs 🙂
    I so agree about pressurizing ourselves and that detracts us from taking further steps. I need to be disciplined about my evening walks!

  19. Nancy Hill ( Nancy Hill ( April 4, 2015

    Corrine, I confess that I have not been to this site often as of late. And boy have I been missing out! Beautiful. I love the tweet the quote thingy you have going on, and as always, you inspire me!

  20. Vinitha Vinitha April 4, 2015

    Discipline is one of the most needed principles in life and most difficult to come by without putting an effort. Like you said I find difficulty in working out daily especially during times likes these when I am travelling. Disciplined life will make it easier. I know, I have to start doing that rather than wasting time by talking about it. 🙂 Nice post, Corinne. Your posts are truly inspiring as always. 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 4, 2015

      I can also write several posts about excuses not to work out, Vinitha. So I hope I inspired myself too, Vinitha!

  21. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury April 4, 2015

    Actually this is a lesson I learned from Sury, Corinne. Baby steps is the way to go with the things that we perceive as difficult. Nice to have goals, but rather than look far and try to spot the finish line, the important thing is to take the first step. Ah, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is one of the mantras I’ve adopted with difficulty. But I am enjoying the results. 🙂

    Another bookmark-able post – as I suspect all your posts are going to be! Love!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | April 4, 2015

      I honestly never thought of it this way, Vidya! Bite-sized chunks, that’s what I’m going to aim for now!
      Thank you!

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