Monday, April 21, 2014

S for Self Discipline

The other day I noticed there was no traffic police at the junction and one educated young guy from a reputed IT company, did not hesitate to take a wrong turn in the middle of red light.  The chocolate wrappers or plastic bags are all over the place, either on road side or in the park, indifferently scattered by us and our children for “decorative” purposes.

Let’s put all these guys in a developed country.

My friend will always follow lanes, stop for 5 seconds at a stop sign, and travel more than a mile for a turn or exit. Children and adults will always be on the lookout for a dust bin and won’t consider littering the place.
Why the same person is behaving differently in two different conditions?  Is it because of the fact that enforcement is stricter in developed countries whereas it is almost non-existent in developing countries? Surprisingly I have observed that some of my expat colleagues, riding two –wheelers, also match themselves almost equally, if not more, taking chances with discipline while in India and other developing countries J.

So am I to conclude that discipline is effective only in the presence of an external influencing agent like enforcement? Or is it that the spic and span environment of the place compels us to follow rules?

Why is it so, that the reference points have to be these external factors and not one’s internal understanding of what is right? While I took example of traffic rules and littering, these are equally applicable in almost all walks of life. Earlier I discussed about cost of corruption and brought up the point of us succumbing to pressure.

The issues of discipline in developed countries are of different type and nature - sometimes at an incomprehensible large scale leading to losses of life. The spate of gun related issues in US schools in last few years really worry me and I am sure people in authority are sincerely trying to find out the reasons for it. 

Without us being self-disciplined at the first place, we should not think about inculcating discipline amongst our children or can’t expect people to behave in a disciplined way while police are not around. A country’s progress is very much dependent on its citizen being self-disciplined to the core.

And to me, this is an internal attitude and we, educated class, should be the first to adopt and abide by this all the time for an example to be set for other sections of the society.

Are we self-disciplined? 

24 comments:

  1. Self discipline is a very conscious thing. The rules and etiquette followed by Indians in a different countryis much diff from the ones followed in their own country. Sometimes is the Ghar ki Murgi Daal barabar thinking I think

    PhenoMenon
    http://throodalookingglass.com/2014/04/succulent-ribs/

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    1. Yes, hope we also do not think that way..I am very particular about it :-).

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  2. You are correct. An Indian, when he goes abroad is very disciplined. But in his own country he is an expert in breaking the rules. Sab chalta hai . Very unfortunate.

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    1. Thanks, Ushaji. Hopefully we will get out of it one day.

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  3. Self discipline is very crucial and vital....nice topic and a great post

    ~S(t)ri
    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

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  4. In general, we are not self-disciplined. It is only the fear of getting caught that makes us follow the rules. You may be interested in reading my post http://proactiveindian.com/2014/02/12/is-fear-the-key/

    I have also seen how people follow rules abroad, but start breaking rules the moment they set foot on Indian soil. This is again due to the fear of penalty abroad.

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    1. Thanks. I think it is high time we follow strictly what we learn outside to make India really shining. Let's do our own bit..

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  5. Very true and is an irritating syndrome. When I have said anything about this I've been told, "anyway it's all so dirty, if I dont throw 1 paper it won't make a difference", to which sort of foolishness there's nothing to say. I think its up to parents to teach by example. I never throw anything on the road and tell the lil one that it's better we dirty our car instead(we put it all in a bag in the car) since we can take it all home n put it in the bin and the red light thing too, we follow it and have other ppl honking at us from behind, which we ignore. I guess each of us needs to do what we can.

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    1. You have nailed it...This is exactly, we all, should be doing...Thanks.

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  6. Unfortunatley we lack it so much in this country especially with respect to obeying traffic rules

    S for Safe-Random Thoughts Naba

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  7. The traffic rules thing, I am seeing it happen here. There's always a difference when we go out of our country. You've written a very valid article here. Self discipline is what we need to cultivate.

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  8. Good one Jayanta! I enjoyed this read. I think about: the power of the idol - you know being the good example for our kids .. How can we indeed expect them to do the right thing when we are not..?

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    1. Thanks. Yes, we need to set examples to others before anything and that is not by talking but by doing.

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  9. I believe in the power of resound and reflection. As we behave, so do others. Whether that refers to children or other people. So, the more we condone corruption or flouting of rules, the more we encourage it. My two cents.

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    1. Very rightly said. We, individually, should be sincere to abiding by discipline.

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  10. We all need self discipline and it should be taught from little on up and maintained.

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  11. I think sometimes people break rules/laws because they know they can get away with it. Why should they behave well when they do what they want and get away with it? I don't think they realise that in the end, their actions help create a society that would eventually hurt them

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  12. Certainly, some kind of external discipline is required - at least till we individually learn the value of self-discipline. But in collective/social life, that external discipline, a system of rules, laws is very much necessary, for a long, long time...At the same time I think a lot of nonsense about littering and making our streets dirty happens because we really don't care for our public places. We don't care because we don't love our city, our country. Sad really. A good post, Jayanta!

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  13. I used to live about a mile from the border of an adjacent country in an area that was inundated with tourists in the summer. It was so irritating that when people visited from across the border, they threw their garbage on the ground, got drunk and rowdy and showed no respect for us. In their own country, they were law abiding citizens. This is just the opposite to what you are saying here. Interesting.


    As far as self-discipline goes, personally I can be very disciplined in some areas of my life and have no will power in others. Do you think a lot of people are like this?

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    1. Hi Carol, Thanks for visiting my post. I would think that self discipline should be exercised in all those areas of life which touch or affect others.

      regards,
      --Jayanta

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  14. Self discipline is very low in our country, and agree completely with your post, there is no civic sense and hence we find all these common things happening only in our country, it will not happen in other places because of fear ... the change comes from within, and its nice that we discuss, talk and take decisions to have self discipline in all aspects of life ..

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