By Joseph Mattappally on 30-11-2011

What is the most important factor in the making of a successful man? Man or woman, the answer is ‘self-discipline’. Disciplining simply means following a particular code of conduct or order in life. Without self-discipline, success in life is almost impossible. All of us possess some degree of self-discipline. According to ‘A WHIP’ theory, the five contributing elements to self-discipline are Acceptance, Willpower, Hard Work, Industry, and Persistence. If you take the first letter of each word, you get the acronym ‘A WHIP’. Self-discipline is a very powerful tool which empowers you to overcome almost all problems in life, be it a habit issue or a disorder issue. Considering the problem solving capacity of this quality, self-discipline is simply unmatched. Self-discipline can be easily combined with other individuality development tools to reach desired goals; there it has tremendous powers. The more you practise self-discipline, the stronger you become.  I am reminded of the famous ‘marshmallow test’, done by the psychologist Walter Mischel, during the 1960s. He chose fourteen four-year-olds from the preschool at Stanford University, for the experiment. He just wanted to assess each preschooler’s ability to delay gratification. Each four-year-old was given one marshmallow (a sweet confection originally made of corn syrup) each. They were told that they could eat it immediately or, if they waited until the researcher returned in 20 minutes, they could have two marshmallows. It was very hard for these kids to wait. Still some of them waited.  Twelve years later, these same kids were reevaluated as teenagers. The differences were astonishing. Those who had been able to control their impulses and delay gratification as four-year-olds were more effective socially and personally. They had higher levels of assertiveness, self-confidence, trustworthiness, dependability, and ability to control stress. Their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were 210 points higher than the “instant gratification” group! In real life, we see many people struggling to reach key positions in life; what they lack is self-discipline. Perhaps the best gift we can give our new generation is undoubtedly a passion for self-discipline. No great man has forgotten to tell us the very key strategy to win life. Buddha said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.” Plato said, “The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” It is Abraham Lincoln who said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” 

About The Author

Sri. Joseph Mattappally

Sri. Joseph Mattappally, Founder and Director of Indian Thoughts, is a writer and social worker. He is also a Reiki Master (RIRC Mumbai) and licensed Amateur Radio Operator ( VU2JIM). He has authored 'Success Secrets', a book detailing basic life management principles.