Chapter 1. Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the rejection of instant gratification in favor of something better. It is the giving up of instant pleasure and satisfaction for a good opportunity or reward that is far more important and valuable in the future. It is the ability to go through the rigor of repeating an activity again and again until your skill or competence increases.

Self-discipline was once the core characteristic of an American. It remained so for 300 years. But now it is becoming a bit of a rare commodity. Losing that one trait will change the fate of a person or a nation.

The reality is that most people do not master self-discipline. This is true even when faced with a need to create massive change or to follow a strict course of action with a consequence of dying if one does not become disciplined. This phenomenon has been studied over and over again with the same results. Even people who face death if they do not make substantial changes in their lifestyles often fail to make the necessary changes. For instance, Dr. Edward Miller, the dean of the medical school and CEO of the hospital at Johns Hopkins University, observed, "If you look at people after coronary artery bypass grafting two years later, 90 percent of them have not changed their lifestyle." (Deutschman 2007). It is not an exaggeration to say that the quality of your life and health rely on self-discipline.

The achievement of your dreams and goals also relies on your ability to master this critical component ...

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