7 Powerful Characteristics of Discipline (2023)

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Written by Jimmie Burroughs 7 Powerful Characteristics of Discipline (1)Email to a friend

Discipline is not something you have or don’t have; nor is it something you’re born with. It is a decision you make to do something and see it through to completion, or a decision to do some things consistently or not to do some things. By consistently deciding over and over to choose the appropriate action and see it through, you become disciplined and respond with discipline subconsciously. Regardless how well you plan and set goals if you do not discipline yourself to carry through, it is in vain. Discipline and focus are the most valuable attributes for success.

All during our growing up years, we were told the importance of discipline without being told pacifically what it was; neither did we see too much of it in those, our role models, who told us its importance. So first, what is discipline? The word discipline can be applied in several different ways. The application we are concerned with here is related to personal self control. The dictionary’s definition of discipline: behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control. The key words are: rules of conduct; behavior; training and control. From that prospective, we can apply 7 Powerful characteristics of Discipline.

1. Discipline is managing time in the most effective way.

2. Discipline is completing each and every task in a preset time frame.

3. Discipline is balancing body, soul, and spirit, the three entities of our existence.

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4. Discipline is the ability to stay focused and on course.

5. Discipline is always keeping commitments we make with ourselves and others.

6. Discipline is the determination to keep going when the going is tough.

7. Discipline is being on time every time.

Discipline is managing time in the most effective way.

According to a recent survey by America Online and Salary.com, the average workers confess to wasting 2.09 hours per 8 hour workday and this doesn’t include lunch and scheduled breaks. Companies are under the assumption that a certain amount of time is wasted, and that is factored in when determining employee pay. According to the America Online / Salary.com survey, employees are wasting about twice as much time as expected by their employers. Salary.com calculates “Employers waste $759 billion per year paying for real work, which was expected, but not performed.”

When you compare that loss even to the devastating damage done by Hurricane Sandy, which is roughly estimated near 100 billion, it pales in comparison. But even more so individuals waste their own personal time. The average time spent watching TV each day is 2.8 hours. I don’t mean to imply that all TV is a waste of time, but the point I’m making is that how we decide to use our time will depend on our discipline, priorities and the primary focus of our life.

By properly managing our time, both at work and privately, productivity goes up 100%, which actually gives more time to do the things which are most valuable to us, like spending more time with the family etc. For more information on this subject read my article on Time management: 7 Top Time Management Tips.

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Discipline is completing each and every task in a preset time frame

I once owned a construction company; our primary business was building decks, porches and garages. I knew exactly how long it took to build each size deck and porch and garage and all the time saving shortcuts. When it took longer than expected to build something, I knew that somewhere some time was wasted.

Discipline doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to catch your breath from time to time; it means that you are smoothly and consistently moving forward and completing the task at hand.

Discipline is keeping body, soul and spirit, the three essentials of our existence, in balance.

Discipline is not burning the candle at both ends trying to get things done until your body is worn down and unable to function. The body requires a lot of attention to keep it in proper working condition: Adequate sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and avoiding habits that damage health. How you treat your body is an essential facet of whether you are a disciplined person or not.

You’re not successful even if you have the title and make money if your body, soul and spirit are out of balance. We often hear of movie stars who are in rehab for drugs or emotional problems. Even though they may be rich and famous, they are missing some essentials that characterize successful living. And that is the key question concerning what defines success; whether it includes successful living or not; otherwise what may be deemed as success becomes worthless. The primary point of discipline is to ensure quality of living that brings everything in our life into balance.

The second of the trio the soul of man consists of mind, will and emotions. Each has a definite role in discipline. The mind is the control center for all decisions and storage for information used to make decisions. Therefore, a clear and trained mind is essential for discipline that leads to success. The will controls our determination to forge ahead until we reach our desired goals. Our emotions can throw us off track and disrupt our plans or they can stay under our control regardless of what is going on around us.

The spirit is the least understood; it is abstract and often lies dormant. Nevertheless, it is a majorly pivotal part of the balance needed for discipline and successful living. Getting in tune with our spiritual side reinforces the strength of the body and soul. There are two ways of going about this: One way is secular which is normally through meditation. I’m not discounting the value that might bring, but I’m saying that there is a far better way.

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God created man as a three part entity, body, soul and spirit. The body is the house in which the soul and spirit resides. The soul is our means of communicating with the world around us on a horizontal plain, using the mind will and emotions while the spirit is our means of communicating with God on a vertical plain. Sin entered the human race and cut off our spiritual union with God and our ability to communicate with God. Now in order to restore and maintain balance in our life, we need to reconnect with God our creator. Learn how you can restore fellowship with God.

Discipline is the ability to stay focused and on course.

When discipline is missing, there is a tendency to drift in all directions leaving loose ends and uncompleted tasks. Staying focused and on track is where discipline comes in. There is an over used cliché, “there are too many irons in the fire”. Focusing on one task at a time until it is completed and completed on time and in within budget is true discipline at is best.

Discipline is always keeping commitments that we make with ourselves and others.

If you will make the decision to keep all commitments to yourself as well as to others, you will be a extraordinary person in today’s world. All of us have waited for someone to show up that never showed up; we know how annoying it is to waste our time in that manner. I made a commitment to speak with someone recently and waited at the time they were supposed to call and gave it about 30 minutes extra, and the call never came. Their excuse was that they got busy and didn’t have time to call. Since when is their rime more valuable than the 30 minutes I wasted waiting for them to call; I received a text to set up another time which I decided not to do.

Today you have to get a dozen commitments to get a couple that will keep the commitment. I decided a long time ago that I would not waste another’s life waiting on me because I failed to keep a commitment to them. Our time is a finite resource that cannot be replenished; therefore, failing to keep your commitments to others is stealing the most valuable asset they have, their time. I determined to do what I say I’ll do every time. There are of course times when we can’t carry through because of extenuating circumstances, but most of the time it is because of excuses that aren’t valid.

Discipline is the determination to keep going when the going is tough

If success was easy, there would be a lot more successful people, but because it’s difficult many will quit when the going is tough. Discipline is the determination to continue regardless of the circumstances. Even if subsequent failure does occur, it still does not stop the disciplined person; they just find another way and keep right on going.

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Discipline is being on time every time

I made a commitment to myself always to show up on time every time. Waiting on people who are always late is such a nuisance and waste of time. They may think it is fashionable, but they are wrong; it creates distrust and contempt.


Discipline is making the decision to carry through time after time until it becomes an automatic subconscious action. No one is undisciplined other than by choice. When you choose to discipline yourself and focus on each task you are choosing the two most powerful strategies for success.

Jimmie Burroughs: Founder of Christian personal development.

About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website ( Website Contents ) in your personal growth. If I can help you personally, please send your concerns via Contact me.


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What are the characteristics of discipline? ›

10 Things Highly Disciplined People Have in Common
  • They Commit. Disciplined people are true to their word. ...
  • They Avoid Temptation. ...
  • They Take Care of Themselves. ...
  • They work at developing habits. ...
  • They set boundaries. ...
  • They revel in routine. ...
  • They lead with their mind over their mood. ...
  • They clearly define their goals.
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What is an example of discipline? ›

The definition of discipline is to punish someone for their behavior. An example of discipline is to give detention to a student who keeps talking during lectures.

What are the 3 types of discipline? ›

The Three Types: Preventive Discipline -- measures taken to preempt misbehavior by keeping students engaged. Supportive Discipline -- measures taken to assist students with self-control by helping them get back on task. Corrective Discipline -- measures taken when students are not following classroom or school rules.

Why is discipline the key to success? ›

It helps you stay focused on reaching your goals, gives you the gumption to stick with difficult tasks, and allows you to overcome obstacles and discomfort as you push yourself to new heights.

What are the 5 elements of a discipline? ›

There are five main choices when it comes to discipline. A chief chooses to envision, strategize, plan tactics, implement and measure, and adjust. You can think of these five choices as the discipline toolbox.

What are the 10 types of discipline? ›

10 healthy discipline strategies that work
  • Show and tell. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. ...
  • Set limits. ...
  • Give consequences. ...
  • Hear them out. ...
  • Give them your attention. ...
  • Catch them being good. ...
  • Know when not to respond. ...
  • Be prepared for trouble.
Nov 5, 2018

What are 4 ways of effective discipline? ›

Tips for Effective Discipline
  • Be realistic and expect a child to act like a child.
  • Choose a few simple, important rules for behaviors; explain them repeatedly to your child.
  • Use a few clear words to explain how you want your child to behave.
  • Show by your example how you control your anger.

What is the basic of discipline? ›

Discipline is not just about punishment when something bad has been done. A great part of discipline is paying attention to good behavior and rewarding it. Rewards do not always have to be treats or toys, often personal praise comments show the child that you do pay attention and care about everything they do.

What are the three C's of discipline? ›

I always preach that when employers are considering disciplining or terminating an employee, they best way to stay out of trouble is to should follow the three C's: Consistency, Communication and Common Sense.

What are the six attributes of discipline? ›

These attributes of discipline help to promote discipline in our society.
The Attributes of Discipline
  • Self Control: ...
  • Moderation: ...
  • Respect for legitimate Authority: ...
  • Modesty: ...
  • Dedication: ...
  • Perseverance:

What are the first four disciplines? ›

Peter Senge goes into detail about the first four approaches or disciplines that organizations can utilize to build a learning organization including personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning.

What is the most common form of discipline? ›

Verbal warnings are one of the most common types of discipline at the workplace and are typically the first step in a progressive series of disciplinary measures.

What is an example of discipline in workplace? ›

What is an example of discipline in the workplace? Workplace discipline seeks to correct unacceptable employee behavior. For example, if an employee is constantly late for work, his supervisor issues an oral or written reprimand explaining why their behavior is problematic and encouraging them to improve.

What is a good example of self-discipline? ›

In the context of school, examples of self-discipline might include getting yourself up and into class on time, paying attention in class instead of daydreaming or scrolling through social media, choosing to do homework over watching a TV show, or doing difficult assignments despite boredom and frustration (Duckworth & ...


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