©2012, Diligence Eke
Dedicated to Dad and Mom
For teaching me self-discipline while growing up
This is a free e-book that you may give to friends and loved ones you think might benefit from it as long
as you do not alter the contents in any way. If you have questions or comments you can contact me at:
This is one part of a series on self-discipline. Self-discipline is a very important virtue and I will be talking
about realization as one the five pillars that uphold self-discipline.
What is Self-Discipline?
Self-discipline is the ability to motivate yourself; it’s the ability to do what is necessary or right without
needing to be urged by someone else. It’s also the ability to do what needs to be done irrespective of
how you feel.
From the above definitions it’s quite obvious that self-discipline is not so easy a virtue to achieve. It is so
important because it can help you do away with such bad habits as laziness, procrastination,
carefreeness, etc. In fact, self-discipline is indispensable in personal development and productivity.
Self-discipline helps you make the right choices, but much better than that, it almost forces you to go
ahead and take action in the direction of those right choices you have made. For example, you want to
give more time to your online business or to your studies, without self-discipline this will only be wishes,
but self-discipline will push you to take action.
This is the first building block of self-discipline. Realization means becoming aware or conscious of
something. You have to realize your present situation; that you are not doing enough to achieve your
goals and dreams, that you are not focused, that you are not doing the things you have to do, and that
you need to change.
This seems a very simple step, but many people find it difficult to come to this point. The reason for this
is that they easily cast their minds back to the little they have achieved and then they feel satisfied. But
you cannot become self-disciplined if this first building block of realization is not laid. And without self-
discipline you’ll continue to underachieve!
When I was in high school I was this brilliant young chap, and I knew it. But this had its own
disadvantage: I just listened to my teachers but didn’t study my books at home regularly. In fact, I only
really studied during tests and exams, and though I still did well, I wasn’t at my best neither was I the
best. I didn’t realize what my problem was.
I went with the same attitude over to the university. Initially, I only studied during tests and exams, and
oh boy, it showed. Of course, high school and university were two different things. I wasn’t doing badly,
but my grades suffered. Many people I was naturally better than did better than me when it came to
books. It continued for some time, enough for me to see how poor I had become. I continued to
underachieve because I had not truly realized how low my grades had become, at least by my standards.
It took some time – and enough ‘poor’ grades, too, to realize the truth. The truth was that I was not self-
disciplined. But the moment I realized my lack of this important virtue and the problems lack of it had
caused me, I decided to change and that was the beginning of my upward journey.
So, realizing your lack of self-discipline, and hence, need of it, is not so easy. Most people are in their
comfort zone and don’t know how far they have slipped behind their potentials and abilities. That’s why
sometimes it has to take a crude force like something bad happening, to drag them from their slumber
You need self-discipline to achieve your goals; at least you need it to ever come close to utilizing your
potentials. If you are the ‘free spirit’ kind of person, you still need self-discipline. You have to train
yourself to do things that have to be done, when they have to be done, and how they have to be done.
Self-discipline doesn’t just come. There has to be conscious effort to build this virtue. Yes, build. Think
about a house that has to be built from foundation to finish. You have to start laying the blocks one by
one. So is self-discipline. You have to start by laying down the building blocks one at a time. What do I
You have to start by realizing the need t be self-disciplined. Look at how you have gone about your daily
activities and ask yourself: “am I disciplined?” If you cannot answer this question, then it’s either that
you sincerely do not know, or that you are denying the obvious – that you are not disciplined. Denial will
not fetch you any good and is a poor state to live in. Not knowing is a good place to start. The following
questions will decide if you have self-discipline or not:
Are you punctual to work or school?
Do you wake up the same time every day?
Even though you can cook, do you still eat junk foods because you didn’t cook?
Do you bath the number of times you should every day?
Do you watch the TV when you are not supposed to?
As a student do you read as you should?
Is your table at the office full of yesterday’s work?
Do you buy on impulse?
Can you tell me what you will be doing tomorrow and next week?
Do you have a backlog of home chores to do?
Do you know what you’ll be wearing tomorrow or do you just take any nice one?
Do you keep to your promise most of the time?
Do you return items on time when you borrow them?
How much time you spend on your wife and kids?
Do you obey your alarm clock?
There lots more questions you can ask yourself, but may suffice for now. If after answering the above
questions and decide that you are not self-disciplined, that’s OK, because you have just realized it.
Realization of your state is the first building block of self-discipline. By laying down this stone, you have
made a big step towards becoming self-disciplined.
Sit back and let this realization hit you hard. Remember all the times you messed things up, all the times
you had low grades at school, all the times you did or said something wrong, etc., all because you lacked
self-disciplined. In the next post I’ll be talking about the next building block of self-discipline – decision!