We're all chasing the ability to better control our focus and self discipline – the motivation may be to achieve an extraordinary objective, reach an interim goal or simply stay out of negative situations or trouble.
A common approach to tackling self discipline is to micro-manage our behaviors – become much more aware of our behavior within a typical day with the hope that we will recognize where we run off course and can right the ship – so to say.
The challenge with this approach is that micro-managing is tough, subject to interruption and error and hardly ever works as a long-term approach to improving self discipline – so what other way do we have?
Self awareness should be both "strategic" and "tactical" where the "strategic" element is awareness of what you want to help others achieve, what your value will be within society that will 1) Make you feel fulfilled, and 2) Will be seen as valuable enough that people will pay you for your value – how much you want to be paid is another aspect of self awareness and something you need to come to terms with.
In 'Beyond Greatness' we point out the key pillars to "getting unstuck" in your life and finally propelling yourself toward greater achievements that are fulfilling, make you happy, allow you to make an impact on others – if your goal is to get paid handsomely for that ability – that will come too.
Once you have the self-awareness of what you passionately, desparately want to achieve – then self-discipline will come easier (not automatically – there will still be distractions and aspects of achieving your goals where you will experience resistance).
Then, you can apply your tactical self awareness to make sure you are staying on track – and yes, then ruthless self discipline can certainly be effective.
In my case I operate at two levels…for any objective I know there are times when I need to be "ruthless" – say for a few weeks to finish a book. After that, I don't need to be as ruthless, but still focused and on-track. I immediately know when an objective or goal is NOT something I have a deep desire or passion for, that's when self-discipline becomes most challenging – if not impossible. The opposite is also true, when you are living in alignment with your passions and desires – self-discipline becomes much less of an issue and you get to enjoy the journey as well as the ultimate achievement.