Self discipline means deliberately aligning our energy with our values and priorities. Through mental practice we focus in on a task before us and let other temptations and distractions pass us by. Self-discipline asks that we endure frustration, disappointment, and pain in the service of a higher goal. It means being willing to push ourselves to the limits of our will and endurance if that is what is needed for success.
Self-discipline need not be harsh; it can take the form of a quiet resolve or determination that then directs our choices. It is exacting, but is rarely served by our being self-critical or self-denigrating. Self-discipline allows us to make use of whatever power and capabilities have been given us, to be all that we can in the service of our dreams. Self-discipline is doing what you know needs to be done, motivated by the goal you have in mind while avoiding short-term gratification. To prevent corruption, it needs to be tempered by compassion and integrity. You can make money by honestly trading your work for wages, for example, or you can make money stepping on other people on the way up. When you get to the end of your life, and look back though, which way will have brought you more pride and pleasure?
Self-discipline is accomplished through amalgamation of determination, energy and focus. Determination keeps us firmly centered on a chosen purpose. It is the tool we use to keep defeat from becoming permanent. Sometimes we find ourselves distracted from our central goal by other desires. We get overwhelmed by obstacles, isolation, pain or fatigue. At these times, determination pushes onward and gives us the energy to triumph. By keeping us on a path, determination helps us to make our dreams into realities and to live by our highest values.
Focus is the ability to devote our full attention and concentration to a person or process. Focus lends clarity and direction to our day to day activities. It lets us maximize our progress and productivity by directing our energies toward one priority at a time. By honing our focus we can reach new levels of insight, knowledge and quality. When we give our undivided focus to another person, they feel valued by us. We can connect with them in more meaningful ways, increasing the potential for understanding and empathy.
Base jumping, Switzerland
Dragonfly Covered In Dew
Horses Of Iceland Lagoon
Tilt Shift Germany
Total Solar Eclipse Seen From Australia
Divers At Easter Island
Macro Jumping Spider
Three Flower Droplets
Beauty Holds Close Beautiful
Pellucidity Amidst Complexity
Almost half a century ago social psychologist Leon Festinger developed the cognitive dissonance theory. The theory has obviously stood the test of time in that it is mentioned in most general and social psychology textbooks today. The theory is somewhat counterintuitive and, in fact, fits into a category of counterintuitive social psychology theories sometimes referred to as action-opinion theories. The fundamental characteristic of action opinion theories is that they propose that actions can influence subsequent beliefs and attitudes. This is counterintuitive in that it would seem logical that our actions are the result of our beliefs and attitudes, not the cause of them. However, on further examination of these types of theories have great intuitive appeal in that the theories, particularly cognitive dissonance, address the pervasive human tendency to rationalize.
Cognitive dissonance theory is based on these fundamental assumptions. Humans are sensitive to inconsistencies between actions and beliefs. According to the theory, we all recognize, at some level, when we are acting in a way that is inconsistent with our beliefs, attitudes, and opinions. In effect, there is a built in alarm that goes off when we notice such an inconsistency, whether we like it or not. For example, if you have a belief that it is wrong to cheat, yet you find yourself cheating on a test, you will notice and be affected by this inconsistency. Recognition of this inconsistency will cause dissonance, and will motivate an individual to resolve the dissonance. Once you recognize that you have violated one of your principles, according to this theory, you won’t just say “oh well”. You will feel some sort of mental anguish about this. The degree of dissonance, of course, will vary with the importance of your belief, attitude, and principle and with the degree of inconsistency between your behavior and this belief. In any case, according to the theory, the greater the dissonance the more you will be motivated to resolve it.
Dissonance will be resolved in one of three basic ways. Perhaps, the simplest way to resolve dissonance between actions and beliefs is simply to change your beliefs. You could, of course, just decide that cheating is okay. This would take care of any dissonance. However, if the belief is fundamental and important to you such a course of action is unlikely. Moreover, our basic beliefs and attitudes are pretty stable, and people don’t just go around changing basic beliefs, attitudes and opinions all the time, since we rely a lot on our world view in predicting events and organizing our thoughts. Therefore, though this is the simplest option for resolving dissonance it’s probably not the most common.
A second option would be to make sure that you never do this action again. Lord knows that guilt and anxiety can be motivators for changing behavior. So, you may say to yourself that you will never cheat on a test again, and this may aid in resolving the dissonance. However, aversive conditioning that is to say guilt and anxiety can often be a pretty poor way of learning, especially if you can train yourself not to feel these things. Plus, you may really benefit in some way from the action that’s inconsistent with your beliefs. So, the trick would be to get rid of this feeling without changing your beliefs or your actions, and this leads us to the third, and probably most common, method of resolution.
A third and more complex method of resolution is to change the way you view, remember, and perceive your action. In more colloquial terms, you would rationalize your actions. For example, you might decide that the test you cheated on was for a dumb class that you didn’t need anyway. You may say to yourself that everyone cheats so why not you? In other words, you think about your action in a different manner or context so that it no longer appears to be inconsistent with your actions. If you reflect on this series of mental gymnastics for a moment, you will probably recognize why cognitive dissonance has come to be so popular. If you’re like me, you notice such post-hoc rationalizations of behavior on the part of others all the time, though it’s not so common to see it in one’s self.