How to start teaching discipline as a skill

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Brian Kight

"What ideas do you have for teaching discipline as a skill, particularly to high school students?"

Eric from Saranac Lake, NY, a Daily Discipline reader, asked me this on Twitter(X) last week.

I replied with the following:

"Consistently put kids in three types of situations:

  1. Their skills just exceed the challenge = Reps with success.
  2. Their skills evenly match the challenge = Reps with intensity.
  3. The challenge is just beyond their skills = Reps with struggle."

This approach isn't limited to high school students or younger. It's for everyone. For us. For you.

We can easily put kids into all three scenarios. All we have to do is adjust the target aim and the dynamics of their circumstances.

In E+R=O terms (click here to learn more about E+R=O), changes in the priority outcome or features of the event test the discipline of their response in different ways. With the slightest strategic focus and leadership effort, this can significantly impact development.

But as adults, it's rare that anyone takes responsibility for developing our discipline. That's our responsibility. No one strategically architects challenges for us to refine our skills. And only some people realize they can do this for themselves.

The result?

Comfort dominates. Discipline weakens. Complaining grows. Skills stagnate. Entitlement rises.

Perhaps this is a good week to begin challenging ourselves differently before life delivers challenges we're unequipped to overcome or endure.

Brick by brick. Do the work.

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