One of the most difficult things a student must learn is not something they can be taught in a 44-minute class period. As a 17-year old high school student, self-discipline is a virtue I have not quite gotten the hang of yet. I am constantly asking myself: What is the importance of self-discipline? Do I really need it? What does it even mean?
My parents have always taught me to be disciplined, respectful, and grateful. To me, self-discipline has always been a big part of someone’s character. People are taught to be well behaved from a young age, whether it’s sharing their toys during school or taking a nap when they’re supposed to. However, well behaved doesn’t equate to being self-disciplined. Self-discipline takes a lot of hard work and focus. I’ve been in a lot of situations where I needed self-discipline. For example, shopping calls for a lot of self-control, especially if you’re an impulse buyer like me. If I see something in a store that I like, I pick it up immediately and get it. As hard as it is to admit, I only discipline myself about half the time. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on for a while now. It isn’t an easy thing that will come to you overnight. Self-discipline and self-control are virtues that take time, effort, and focus to obtain. The quote from Aesop’s fable is fitting: “Vanity is largely a matter of self-control, or lack thereof. Others may try to feed your ego, but it is up to us to restrain it.” It’s useful in the real world. It’s practical. It will keep you on the right path if you’re doing it right. You’ll be able to say ‘no’ to yourself and spend your energy, and money, in places where it really counts. Self-discipline is a hard lesson to learn, but the only way to learn is to go through a tough situation and grow from it.