Cognitive Daily have an interesting post on correlation between achievement and self-discipline. IQ, the conventional indicator of mental skill, does not seem to translate itself into achievement as widely as self-discipline does.
What intrigues me about the study referred to in this post is how the scientists have gone about measuring achievement, discipline..all such subjective characteristics. Note that am in no way officially qualified to speak or even approach this subject, but as a sentient being who has grappled with “what the heck is happening here in me”, I suppose I could speak about what my thoughts are on this.
I understand the rational instinct to measure things but how on earth does one measure a mind or even characteristics of a mind? I have never bought into IQ or EQ or any other index that tries to measure an individual based on a bunch of questions. The mind has to be one of the most complex entities ever created by nature. Infinitely plastic, capable of self-awareness, can cognize everything manifest and even hypothesize about the un-manifest. Its the discoverer of infinite variety. To measure this entity seems folly, but perhaps it is the mind’s own way of trying to make sense of and assess itself.
The eastern way of life emphasizes discipline above anything else. The individual soul is known to be infinitely capable but born with a certain “svadharma”, loosely translated to “law of self”. It is not only the hereditary factor but the distilled essence of all the impulses and tendencies of many lifetimes. It is this that is said to govern an individual’s current and future state. But note that this is not a straightjacket that forces the individual to a single slot of any classification scheme. Self-discipline is said to be the way out. Ignoring the spiritual and religious connotations, we could see that the ancients viewed discipline as the the crucible within which the mould of personality may be re-forged. That nothing shall be denied to him who chips away at every impediment with discipline.
I hope you see my viewpoint now. Any human measure can be exceeded, with discipline, and sufficient number of lifetimes! Its good to see the rational mind “discovering” it now. On the question of whether discipline can be taught…I wont enter there!
What are your thoughts?