Discipline yourself, and others won't need to." -John Wooden
My apologies for the late post on this one, our WIFI in the building was acting up this weekend and I wasn't able to get onto this site. Discipline could be a very easy topic for me to talk about in regards to judicial actions and punishing students for their wrongdoings, but that has never been the approach I go about things. Instead, I would like to talk about our own self-discipline and how we are able to keep ourselves in check and yet still be able to excel.
One of my RAs was telling me during our one on one a few weeks ago about a football player who writes down three personal goals for himself every week. At the end of the week, he looks at the goals he had tried to accomplish, notices which one he achieved the most, and crumples up the other two goals in order to write two new goals for the following week. I actually really like this strategy, by understanding that we are constantly changing, sometimes it is important to throw away our old goals and look to the future in order to design some new developments. Of course nothing is keeping you from returning to your old ways, but sometimes the goals I've had in high school are not necessary the same goals I need now.
We are easily our own worst critics. When doing an activity with one of the freshmen classes the other day, I had them write positive things about themselves and negative things about themselves. It took the class almost three times more time and effort to consider the positive than it had for them to consider the negative. This is not just first year students either, I have done this similar activity with over 10 other groups varying in age and the same trend could be seen. Unbeknownst to many of us, we already discipline ourselves much more than anyone else or as much as anyone else should.
The first step is to see that there is a problem. The easiest way to puncture through this negative energy is to get a support system who are honest with you. Have them write or say positive things about you, believe it or not, if you see the same information being said more than once, it is probably true. If you think there is something negative about you, ask them and they will provide a truthful answer. Someday the vail which covers you from seeing the truth may be lifted, but for some, this may never happen. It takes a lot of work, understand that you see the world through a certain lens and others see the world through a different lens. You, them, or even both of you might need corrective lenses because you don't see what is in front of your face :)
The second step is to turn that insight into effective discipline. Understand there is no way you will even be able to accomplish everything and it is important to figure out what you need and what you want. Make sure to bring in your hopes, dreams and desires. If you want something enough, work toward it! Understand that there aren't many goals in this world that can be achieved in a single day, when looking at the three goals, you may not have accomplished any of them, look to the goal that you got the closest to, however, and move on. We all need discipline in order to be organized and help us reach our goals, but we need to ensure it is positive discipline that can teach us something in return and lead us down the right path. I hope this made sense, I was dancing around the topic a little more than I usually do, but I hope this was helpful :)
Question time: What are your three goals this week?