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We’re taught self-discipline is the answer to everything. But is this really the case?

While it’s important to know how to buckle down and get things done, sometimes we put self-discipline on a pedestal. Yes, it’s necessary, but is it the whole story? Or are we possibly forgetting some rather important facts along the way? Let’s look at several self-discipline myths we should stop listening to.

Myth #1: You Need to Tough it Out
When we’re told all we need is self-discipline to get things done, we’re not getting the full story. Yes, you do need a certain drive to take on hard tasks, but if all you’re doing is gritting your teeth and forcing yourself forward, you’re going to wind up resentful and probably not be giving your best. Instead, remind yourself what your end goal is. By keeping your eye on the prize, self-discipline comes much easier and with better results.

Myth #2: Self-Discipline is All You Need for Success
The truth? You can’t get anywhere on self-discipline alone. Sure, it fuels motivation, but without clear goals, you’ll only be spinning your wheels. By creating an action plan first, you give self-discipline a roadmap leading to your eventual success.

Myth #3: It’s Too Hard to Have Self-Discipline
Self-discipline only seems hard when you’re not clear on the outcome. Sure, we love the short-term happiness that comes of doing what we want right now, but is this really what’s best for us? By thinking about the long-term consequences of our actions, it’s really not hard to be disciplined at all.

Myth #4: Self-Discipline Means Everything is Under Control
Much as we love self-discipline, having yourself under control does not guarantee the rest of the world will behave. Self-discipline is only about the self after all. On the other hand, having yourself under control means you’re better able to manage what goes on in other areas of your life, and won’t get nearly so stressed when things around you go wrong.

Myth #5: Self-Discipline Strips You of Emotions
When you think about someone who has self-discipline, do you picture someone speaking in a monotone who is absolutely emotionless? It’s a common misconception. The truth is, someone with self-discipline feels every last emotion you do, with the same level of intensity. The difference? They’re managing those emotions and not letting their reactions out in violent, messy outbursts. Self-discipline means you have control over your reactions, not that you don’t have them.

Self-Discipline alone can’t fix everything in your life that’s going wrong. But with careful planning and an understanding of what you’re working toward, it becomes a powerful tool designed to help you maintain control where you need it, allowing you to focus on the future you want.