Self-discipline and our Disciplined Universe

This version contains some minor editorial and gramatical changes.

Of all the laws in the universe, did you ever wonder why God created the law of discipline? I mean, why can’t we just lay back and enjoy life no matter what we do?

In one way, discipline is sort of a restrictive law, yet, paradoxically, that same law can also set one free.

Discipline is a universal law, and works hand-in-hand with the law of cause and effect. In fact, I’d say it’s very much intertwined with all the other universal laws as well: invoke discipline, and you affect all the other laws, and the reason I separate the law of discipline from the law of cause and effect, is that the law of cause and effect is a rather mindless law: it just is, and reacts rather indifferently to whatever you do with it. On the other hand, the law of discipline gives you a choice of being aware of what you do.

There are also two aspects to the law of discipline: self-discipline, and externally influenced discipline.

We foster abandoned cats and, besides having them spayed and neutered, they are locked in every night, which they do not like! Cats are nocturnal animals and, given a choice, prefer to be awake and hunting at night and sleep during the day. But, because, in a rural setting, there are dangers out there at night that they would not normally be prepared to face were they feral, so for their own safety, they need to be indoors at night.

I would call that act of locking up the cats at night, externally influenced discipline. The cats have no choice in the matter. As their foster parents, we impose that discipline—or restriction, on them.

On the other hand, self-discipline is where you decide: you make the choice to do something, or not to do something, independent of external conditions. For example, you may decide to quit smoking, a decision that you make, (assumed you’re being) uninfluenced by any external pressure someone may attempt to impose on you.

In similar manner, the universe imposes restrictions—or disciplines on us. For example, start eating too much junk food, and you’ll get fat. That’s cause and effect. But, if you decide that you’re too fat and go on a diet to lose weight, that’s a self-imposed discipline.

Unfortunately, too many of us lack self-discipline, and because of our unwillingness to learn, we leave ourselves wide open to whatever nature, or society in general—or even our own body imposes on us. We resent our neighbor’s success, but are too un-disciplined to abandon our habitual hours of playing games on the computer, instead of taking a course in a trade that would bring us similar good fortune that our neighbor enjoys. As William A. Ward stated, “The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”

I’m retired now, but after a short military career and years of self-employment, I learned early in life, the importance of self-discipline. Throughout my lifetime I witnessed many start-up businesses ending in business failure. The main reason for their failure was, these would-be entrepreneurs did not bother to self-discipline themselves first, by learning the universal law of what constitutes a successful business, before they opened their doors to a business venture.

In the end, it’s our own doing whether we apply self-discipline in our lives, or just fall in line with whatever is imposed on us by an indifferent universe. The choice is ours, and the universe will deliver that choice! That’s the law!

“We must all suffer one of two things:  the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.” – Jim Rohn