|by Bobola Oniwura|
|Published on: Sep 20, 2005|
|At various stages, societies through out the world make a conscious effort to remember those whose lives and times helped to redefine mankind. They do this in order to chart a new course for humanity, to extend the frontiers of freedom and knowledge. We remember some of them with fondness; fondness for what they stood for as men and politicians, fondness for the fire of hope they kindled in our lives, fondness for their capacity for personal denial of materialism and fondness for their elevated sense of patriotism.
We need heroes because their lives and times offer the rest of us the seductive promise that each of us has the capacity to rise above the limitations imposed on us by the circumstances of our birth. We all search for heroes consciously or otherwise, heroes that carry the values we appreciate. We search for heroes whose lives help us to chart our course to relevance and significance, heroes that help us to believe in our dreams.
There are academic, political, religious and social heroes in every field of study but one thing that is clearly found in all of these heroes is the fact that every one of them has stunned the world. Through their thought, action, disposition, character, genius, love, purity, foresight and even their spirituality each of these heroes has had an impact on the world at large.
These men and women have become eminent in our societies and we hold them in our hearts not because of what they received but because of what they gave. No person was ever honored for what he received; honor has been the reward for what he gave. Some gave money, others properties, others love, some gave knowledge others gave their life. These men and women were able to give to the society because of the habits they embraced.
One of the qualities that make men exceptional, that pushes them onward to success or drags them to failure is their habit. By nature men are alike but their habits carry them far apart. Our habits though little as they seam determines our character and our character determine our destiny. Samuel Johnson once said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." Our habits determine us as much as we determine them. People who have become and remained eminent in any society the world over are those who developed and maintained a habit of discipline. They very thing that separates the eminent from the rest is the degree to which they have been able to discipline themselves.
Discipline of their thoughts, discipline of their moods, discipline of their words, discipline of their actions, discipline as regards to their schedule, discipline in how they manage money and discipline in the way they maintain their health. Those who gained prominence and significance in the society are those who choose to deepen discipline in these areas of their lives.
To direct ones thought is to use the process of thinking consciously and creatively. The recreation of any man begins from his thought. One will become as small as one can imagine and as great as one can think. Discipline is to choose to think big and positively. To master ones moods is to get a handle on our feelings. Our behavior must become a function of our decision, based on values rather than a function of our condition based on feelings. Discipline is doing what you will, not what you feel. To watch ones words is to be intentional about what we say. Integrity is conforming reality to our words by keeping promises. Any communication with the intent to deceive is a lie. One must learn to build people using words. Discipline is the ability to say what you mean and mean what you say.
To restrain ones actions is to have a good control over our actions. Our actions must be proactive not reactive. One must never act out of anger and one must not be too angry not to act. Discipline is the ability to choose your response and actions. To stick to ones schedule is to do all we have planned to do today without postponing any. Man does not have time for everything therefore he must be selective. One must learn to manage himself in time. Discipline is keeping to ones schedule and not allowing the activities of others to overcrowd ours.
To manage ones money is to live within ones means. Why do men spend the money they do not have to buy the things they do not need to impress the people they do not know? One must never spend all one earns and one must remember that to invest is wiser than to save. Discipline is spending and investing our profits but not our capital. To maintain ones health is to choose to live responsively. To be responsible to ourselves in terms of what we eat and drink and how we keep to our exercise regime. Why do men use all their health to make their wealth only to use their wealth to try and recover their health? One must learn to use food and exercise in a wise and balanced way to gain self-renewal. Discipline is choosing to eat what is right for our body and keeping to our regime of exercise.
Discipline is the factor that differentiates the eminent from the rest of us. It is the key to personal achievement. Eminent people cultivate a habit of discipline very early in their lives; it separates them, makes them stand out, makes them unique and makes us admire them. You can also become eminent in your society regardless of the society you belong to either among the Arunta of Australia or the educated of Athens or among the cultured of Ancient Chinese what you are to do is to embrace and maintain a habit of discipline.