Value of Self-Discipline for Knowledge WorkersEstimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes
We are today in the age of knowledge. Most of you have become knowledge workers. The knowledge worker needs tremendous focus. This ability to focus means that you can concentrate your physical, mental, and intellectual resources on the most important tasks at hand without getting distracted and this requires self-discipline.
How successful people get more things done?
What is the importance of focus? Look, the sunlight is falling all over the planet earth. It does not mean make such a big impact but when you focus it through the magnifying glass, it burns the paper below. That is the power of focus. Water vapor is evaporating from the lakes, the ponds, the rivers, and the seas. That same water vapor, when it is focused on the electric engine’s piston and made to fire in a proper way, develops so much of power the steam engine, that pulls 10 of thousands of tonnes of bogies and wagons behind it. That is the power of focus.
This focus requires for success because there are so many distractions Warren buffet was once asked: “What is the secret of your success?” He answered “My ability to focus” because when I say one yes to this enterprise, this investment, I have to say 1000 nos because 1000 people are bringing the prepositions. To make one yes succeed, I have to say 1000 nos. This is only possible if I am fully focused. Steve Jobs said Apple is as proud of the things we don’t do as we are of the things we do because if we went into 10000 products, we would not have had superior products anywhere like we have today. In the same way, there are so many demands on your time. There are things that are of low value but high stimulation; such as surfing the web, browsing social media, phone notifications, and then there are things that are of high value, but low stimulation; such as productive and deeply thoughtful work.
So, there is always the scope for distraction. You are writing a memo and the distraction is just one click of a mouse away. The mind says, “that is so boring, can I just distract myself?” So, if you can learn the quality of focus, you can increase your productivity.
Many of you have heard the Pareto principle. It is an essential part of managerial coaching. Pareto’s law states that 20% of the people of the country pay 80% of the taxes and 80% of the people only pay 20% of the national tax. In any organization, 20% of people are responsible for 80% of the effective work, whereas 80% of people are responsible for only 20% of the effective work.
In a consumer situation, any organizations 80% of the revenues come from 20% of the customers and 20% of the revenues come from 80% of the customers and so on
So, in this manner, your activities throughout the day also distributed like that. 80% of your activities result in only 20% of the value, and 20% of your activities result in 80% of the actual work value. everybody has got 24 hours a day. those who are effective are experts in time management. it is not that they have 25 or 28 hours. it just that they Bury the time and utilize time properly they realize that this is the most important work and I need to focus upon so other say okay I had 10 works I’ve done 9 of them only 1 I didn’t do but that one was the most important if you had done that and left of the other 9 it wouldn’t make a difference.
This ability to focus means that you can concentrate your physical, mental, and intellectual resources on the most important task at hand without getting distracted. This requires self-discipline.
What does self-discipline mean?
Self-discipline means you do what is beneficial not what is of pleasure value. In other words, your focus is not on gratification, not on pleasure, but on what is beneficial, what is productive. That ability to restrain yourself is called self-discipline. Self-discipline is one of the most powerful virtues, where you are not running after gratification pleasure. You are willing to embrace even pain If you know this pain will lift you up. See look at what happens with children. The child who runs after pleasure rejects knowledge. Why study? Video games give more pleasure. The seeker of knowledge rejects immediate gratification. So, the same principle holds all through life. self-discipline the thing that is beneficial even though it does not have any pleasure, even though it is painful, are you need to do it that is the discipline? That is self-discipline.
There was a black American athlete in the 1980s. Some of you may be remembering his name. He was none other than Edwin Moses. He was an astonishing track and field athlete. He had the world record of winning to 122 events at a stretch. He was a 400-meter hurdler. Edwin Moses entered the Hall of Fame in different places. He was asked what is the secret of your success? He gave a very interesting answer. His answer was “I have a greater ability to tolerate pain than the others”. Why? because athletes are always facing pain. The body says no and they are forcing them beyond the limits of their pain. So how much pain you can tolerate, to that extent that you can stretch yourself. If you say no pain, then no gain. You stay in your comfort zone. Edwin Moses said, "I have a greater ability to tolerate pain than the other athletes". He has made his mindset such. He had imposed that self-discipline upon himself.
Self-discipline is so necessary for life. It is the first lesson taught by Mama giraffe to the baby giraffe. In the African Savannah, when Mama giraffe gave birth, it doesn’t sit down and release the baby from its womb. With its long legs standing tall, it releases the baby from the height of 12 feet. So that little infant giraffe falls to the ground with a thud. How cruel! You can think of you will say this Mama is a terrible mother. And then what happens? The baby giraffe is shocked by the pain and it tries to get up, it totters up. The moment it gains balance and is standing, the mother comes and kicks it and drops it to the ground again. How harsh and inconsiderate! But this is the love of the mother. The mother is teaching the baby "it might be painful, but you need to do it". You will need to get up because it is only a few minutes and lions will arrive. Your only chance of survival is to tolerate the pain.
God has always kept those 2 options now choose do you want that happiness that seems like nectar now but will become like poison later on or you have the good intellect to choose that which is like poison now but will become like nectar later on. That choice you can make right now if you enhance your ability for self-discipline and self-control.
Why do you want to be self-disciplined?
- to achieve the goal in life
- to be happy in life
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