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Types of Discipline
Just Say No
Anger Management Class
Although different people have differing ideas about discipline, it can be valuable to hear what the great minds of yesterday had to say on the ...
Self Discipline Tips
Self discipline is not a trait, it’s a skill and you need it to succeed at almost anything in ...
Discipline Social Pressure
In addition to self discipline on an individual level, social pressures from peers, relatives, and co-workers can also work to impart increased ...
Failure to Discipline
Much like in U.S. schools, classrooms in Australia now suffer from discipline problems due to family breakdowns, alcohol and a dangerous cultural ...
The Armys Discipline Program
A new education and training program organized by the U.S. Army will focus on standards and discipline to reinforce the concept of the ...
The greatest difference between discipline and self-discipline is that discipline is external and self discipline is mostly internal.
Although many people commonly try to use both “discipline” and “self discipline” as terms that are synonymous, in real life both terms actually mean and refer to completely different aspects of behavior. The difference between the two terms begins to show up more clearly when we realize that discipline refers more to the system of rewards and consequences or punishments, and the word self discipline usually refers to the act of creating those conditions. This shows that the biggest difference between discipline and self-discipline is that discipline is external and self discipline is mostly internal. The situation gets less clear when you try to help someone else create their own sense of self discipline, which is an internal action. When you have to discipline someone, even if it is “for their own good” and you are trying help them develop their own sense of self discipline in the process, you are applying external discipline to the situation.
When we want people to exhibit the correct behaviors, we try to help them become “be self disciplined” or “show discipline” and this means the other person is capable of behaving correctly without external help. The difference between the terms gets cloudier when you understand that the word discipline alone can have two separate meanings depending on how it is used. Discipline used as a verb implies an external change to prompt correct behavior. Discipline used as a noun means an interior change that motivates the correct behavior. In the field of psychology, consequence and reward discipline is known as “extrinsic motivation” and internally-based self discipline is categorized as “intrinsic motivation.”
With these similarities and the unclear differences, it is understandable that many people end up confusing the terms and often end up using extrinsic motivation (punishment-and-reward systems) to generate more intrinsic self discipline or self motivation. Unfortunately, research has shown that extrinsic motivation alone can actually retard intrinsic motivation. This explains why people can successfully lose weight as long as they are actively training and working at it, but then will gain their excess weight back after they stop being self motivated enough to continue actively working on their weight problem. It is a part of human nature that when rewards are offered and realized, behaviors are reinforced, and the minute the rewards are taken away, the intrinsic self disciplined behaviors will often disappear. Turning large goals into smaller ones can reduce the amount of intrinsic self discipline needed to reach those goals, and can make it easier to recognize any eventual progress that is made.
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