Here’s my fifth essay regarding the Nine Noble Virtues.
The concept of discipline is a simple one, but self-discipline takes an incredible amount of self-knowledge. I think self-control is the best word to use as a synonym for discipline. Because self-control implies a type of self-knowledge, and it also implies a type of wisdom. It implies an understanding of when to act and when to wait, and it lies between impulse and responsibility. I think discipline is the tightrope we all walk, and I think nearly every person tries to act in a disciplined manner. Not everyone succeeds, of course, but I think disciplined behavior is where honor springs from.
If I decide to act in a certain manner in certain situations, then I must choose to act in that manner in every situation that arises that fits the criteria in order to act with discipline. For example, if I choose to be respectful of other people’s beliefs, even when I disagree with those beliefs, then I must act in a respectful manner towards others without allowing myself to be drawn into a battle of superiority. I must resist the urge to say that my faith is better, and I must allow myself to acknowledge that the other person’s truth is unique to them, and that to respect their truth, I must be respectful of their right to believe as they wish.
To me, that’s a large portion of what it means to act with discipline, but it extends further than faith. If I choose to act with kindness, then I must be kind in order to behave with discipline. If I choose to be courageous, then I must act with courage in order to behave in a disciplined manner. In essence, discipline comes down to being the person I already am, or the person I am trying to become, in reference to the moral code I follow. Thus, the behavior born of discipline eventually becomes the baseline for a person’s honor. To act with honor, a person must behave with discipline. To display discipline is to display honor. The two are linked, and I believe honor and discipline fit like sword in sheath. Without discipline, there is no honor. And no honorable person can act without discipline.