Virtue of the Week: Self-Discipline



Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to haveAndy Andrews

Self-discipline Matters More Than IQ (Are we studying the wrong topics?): An American study has found that a school pupil’s self-discipline is a stronger predictor of their future academic success than their IQ, leading researchers to conclude that self-discipline may be the “royal road” to building academic achievement. In a first study, Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania) recruited 140 school children (average age 13 years) at the start of the academic year. In the Autumn, the children, their parents and teachers, all completed questionnaires about the children’s self-discipline. The measures asked things about the children’s ability to follow rules, to avoid acting impulsively, and to put off instant rewards for later gratification. Scores from the different measures were combined to create an overall indicator of self-discipline. The researchers found self-discipline predicted all sorts of academic measures taken seven months later, including the children’s average grade for the academic year, their Spring exam result and their selection into High School. A second study with 164 children (average age 13) followed a similar procedure but also involved the children taking an IQ test in the Autumn. Self-discipline again predicted later academic performance, as measured by their average grade for the year and their Spring exam result. Moreover, the researchers found that the children’s self-discipline scores accounted for twice as much of the variation in their later academic performance as their IQ did.

The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, "No" to yourself.Sydney Harris
No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, self-disciplined.Harry Emerson Fosdick
We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.Aristotle

TEDX Video featuring Dan Ariely on Self-Control. A little long, but a great illustration:

TEDx – Tempations and Self-Control

YouTube Video by The Next Generation HD on Self-Discipline:

Self Discipline – Training Series