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Quotations for Motivation #8 --- Self-Discipline

Updated on March 8, 2011

Quotations on Self-Discipline

You've never seen a successful man who was undisciplined. It can't be done. The motivation must come from within us and not from anything which is external. Now you set discipline rules for yourself and then follow the rules. It's just that simple. And a man who can't follow the rules can't be successful. It's just that simple too. But if he will, he's on the way. A successful man isn't one who stays in bed in the morning. He can't be successful! It's against the law of success. You must budget your time. You must use all of your waking hours and all of your energies in the direction you want to go.

—Howard W. Hunter, Gulf States Mission, Shreveport, La., May 1964.

Through self-discipline you develop the power to turn on more will power, rather than quitting, when you run into obstacles barring the way to your goal. With its help, you will learn temperance and how to exercise the budgeting of time and money. It's important that you learn to budget your time as well as you do your money. Check whether you are using your leisure time in pursuits that will help you reach your goal.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 28, 1956.

Self-discipline without definiteness of motive is impossible.

—Andrew Carnegie, quoted by Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, April 8, 1957.

Character cannot be built nor anything of value accomplished without self-discipline. It is self-mastery which demonstrates maturity. The disciplined individual has chosen between the two freedoms–the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought.

—George W. Romney, Give Yourself to Something Great, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 5, 1960.

Self-discipline is one of the important ingredients of leadership. A leader must submit himself to stricter discipline and closer observance of the rules than is expected of others but through this he is able to maintain his individuality and freedom of action because he has learned the art of obedience and does not squander his strength by fighting the rules or trying to avoid that which is expected of him. The leader has learned one of the greatest principles of life–that happiness is not doing what we want to do but enjoying what we have to do.

—Dale Thomas Tingey, Indian Israel, Holbrook, Ariz., February 1969.

Leadership has meaning only as it brings about cooperation. When men are working upon a great problem, but must work by themselves or in small groups without close contact, there is danger that they may not pull in the same direction. Cooperation therefore means discipline; not the meticulous though unthinking obedience to guard-room techniques; not the blind mass cooperation of a Macedonian phalanx or the close-order attack. Discipline is the well-tempered working together of many minds and wills, each preserving independent judgment, but all prepared to sink individual differences and egotisms to attain an objective that is accepted and understood. When men are taken apart by mechanics and specialization teamwork os far more essential than when they are close together; teamwork must be teamwork of the mind as well as of the body. ...

To do this requires sympathetic knowledge of how other men's minds work. ... There is no greater quality of discipline than the ability to recognize different processes, and by persuasion and reason to bring these divergent forces into fruitful cooperation. ... These qualities of cooperation, discipline and the self-restraint and self-reliance which make them useful, are the very fabric of modern life.

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York Times, New York, N.Y., June 13, 1939.

Self-discipline is usually inspired by ambition.

—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1919.

Discipline is the pathway to efficiency, an open door to achievement, a short cut to power, the first necessity for success, something no man can counterfeit, the first step toward mastery, and the mark of an organized life.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 21, 1935.

Self-discipline is the subordination of our desires to our will.

—Ralph T. Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 16, 1913.

Self-discipline is free agency in action. The disciplined man always seeks to do the best thing in the long run--not the easiest thing of the moment. He knows so well where he is going, what his goals are and how to get there that he has great "bounce back" power. His goals, not momentary desires, control life. The self-disciplined man or woman has the right goals for his total life, not just a part of it. Discipline means we are stronger than our surroundings. Discipline is a self-directed, self-motivated fulfillment of our duties and responsibilities. Self-control is the badge of the winner, the achiever, in life. Discipline helps us to bounce back, overcome difficulties, carry through when the going is difficult.

—Ernest Eberhard, Jr., Motivator, Portland, Ore., May 1973.

Self-discipline is the only effective method to achieve character transformation. Right reasoning, sane thinking, understanding, is the ability to relate all observed phenomena to their interlinked connectedness and consecutive processes and order of manifestations and to so coordinate your plans and activity to them that the outcome will in every instance achieve the object aimed at. The law of cultivation is special, purposeful, systematic action. It must be special in order that there may be enough of it. It must be purposeful in order that the right faculty be chosen. It must be systematic to be sure of the result. The creative principle, a great superhuman power or authority exists irrespective of our choice or predilection and we can only prosper insofar as we yield a willing obedience to it or its sway. Obedience to this experienced and manifesting power or authority is the only way by which man can master any situation that confronts him and thus ensure his own well being and happiness.

—Carl Henry Gleeser, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., Sept. 15, 1928.

Mental discipline is almost the whole of character. No man untrained in honor can be trusted under temptation. ... The only dependable man is the one who is mechanically honest. ... The only character that will stand fast in time of trial is the one that need make a decision–the one so thoroughly trained in decency that honor has become second nature.

—Robert Quillen, San Jose Evening News, San Jose, Calif., March 4, 1932.

Discipline depends on self-reliance. One of the more common reflections on self-reliance is the ability to make a decision. Hesitancy stems from fear of making a mistake. Discipline, self-reliance, and decision making come from stressing and re-stressing our talents until confidence uncovers the talents that are ours.

—Don H. Rasmussen, Amo Servitum, Los Angeles, Calif., November 1968.

Discipline is developed through exacting, high standard work.

—Vera C. Stratford, Northern States News, Chicago, Ill., January 1958.

The attainment of discipline means arrival at a state where authority and responsibility rest with the disciplined person himself, and not with some outside power. This in turn presupposes maturity and reasoned judgment, with much experience in the exercise of making wise choices.

—Marion M. Miller, Delineator, New York, N.Y., April 1933.

There is nothing we need more than to discipline the mind. We not only waste hours, but we deteriorate our whole personality by uncontrolled and unregulated thinking. We float on the waves of reverie when we might be listening, reading or thinking. We let our imagination run wild instead of directing the imagination into constructive activity. It's not easy to discipline the mind. It is hard to discipline the body and make it go through exercises or conform to the ways of health. It is harder to control imagination. Henry Churchill King said, "Keep yourself persistently in the presence of the best." It is not easy, but it is the way to build character and triumphant personality.

—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 27, 1930.

Discipline is the steel rod that goes through the concrete of experience.

—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 1, 1931.

A man without self-discipline–a man who is lacking in inner controls animated by objective motives–cannot be a good citizen in a democratic society. Such a man has to be controlled by exterior forces--the peace officers, the law, the courts, the jails, the penitentiaries, etc. It is of such people that our criminal class is composed. These are they that cost us much. Now what are we to do about it? Primarily, the answer is to be found in the right type of education--the understanding type. The child is not born with INNER controls--that is, none except physical appetites, mainly hunger. He has yet to learn the existence of a Higher law. He must get acquainted with the abstract virtues of truthfulness and honesty and patience and temperance and obedience to authority and regard for the other fellow ' s rights, and so on. In the absence of this acquaintance and while he is acquiring it through precept and example he may need (and probably will) some external restraints–some laws with penalties attached–some "thou shalt nots"–maybe some physical chastisements for purposes of emphasis. Children and youth must be taught that obedience is part of our system of free society and that defiance of it is anarchy and the negation of liberty--all this while they are coming to establish their own system of inward controls and getting ready to live abundantly and without the threat of legal restraint. While discipline without freedom is tyranny, freedom without discipline is anarchy. In either case the value of life is all but nil.

—J.A. Hill, Amarillo Times, Amarillo, Texas, Jan. 21, 1949.

An introvert is a person who thinks too much of himself and is not willing to make sacrifices for others. He is never happy. An extrovert is a person who goes about doing good, helping others, making friends and keeping them, working for his family, his business, his community without material reward he will receive. He lives a happy and useful life. Extroversion is acquired by self-discipline, by doing the things that ought to be done whether it is pleasant or not. The courage to enforce such discipline is not provided by science or reason but by faith and a truth, beauty and goodness. Man realizes that he possesses an essence or spirit which is himself just as real as the body. That essence or spirit is known as personality and it is the function of religion to improve and elevate the personality.

—Harry C. Withers, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 25, 1939.

Discipline is not the fear of punishment which it might evoke so much as it is the individual inclination to act for the good of all. Discipline creates a willingness for prompt action under any condition, regardless of hindrance or obstacle. Character is enhanced to the same degree that discipline is acquired.

MaryviIle Times, Maryville, Tenn., Oct. 11, 1943.

Discipline is the crucible of responsibility.

Taylor County News, Abilene, Texas, June 3, 1898.

A man is mostly likely to acquire a lot of horse sense by being continually in harness.

—Benjamin Arstein, San Antonio Express, San Antonio, Texas, June 6, 1911.

Success or failure in life depends on acceptance or rejection of discipline.

—Cal Farley, Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Roundup, Amarillo, Texas, July 1965.

The development of poise, moral bearing, faith to win, calls for self-discipline. But, sometimes it comes through a self-discipline which no one ought to consider really impossible. One of the disciplines might be called a daily "contemplation." This means, in simple words, to take time for the filling of the mind and spirit with worthwhile things.

—Eugene M. Frank, The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, Kan., Jan. 22, 1952.

Success has always been marked by self-control and self-denial–not perfect self-control and self-denial, but a degree of self-discipline beyond the grip the ordinary mortal gets on himself.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Aug. 21, 1924.


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  • Reynold Jay profile image

    Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

    Another thought provoking article. My wife and I are self motivated and became entrepreneurs for 40 years and did very well. We look at younger people who need to get jobs, etc. and end up doing nothing. Lack of motivation seems to be a big problem in our society right now. RJ