"When a person joins the military, his first taste of discipline is external.
His drill sergeants assume that he has no self discipline and thus seek to install it; left to his own devices, the soldier, sailor, or airman would be slovenly and too self absorbed to succeed.
Had the new recruit chosen another life, college or a civilian job, his time away from the classroom or the shop would have been his own. He could have decided on his own when to get up, when to study and what to do after hours. No one would have spoken to him about the shine on his shoes and the length of his hair.
This is not to say that the young civilian would not find discipline in his life however, his path to maturity can be slower."
Military discipline is not a sadistic way to turn free spirited young men into robotic drones. It is a way to fast track the discipline that one inevitably finds in life and bring it about in a very short space of time.
I find that the above quote sums it up perfectly. The insulated full on nature of basic training brings about personal discipline much faster than one would develop in the civilian world.
The discipline and habits that young men form in the military are carried with them long after they leave the service.
However for those who have not been in the military and are not planning to join military discipline is something you can acquire with a bit of commitment and a hard nosed attitude. For most young men discipline comes grudgingly as work and family slowly impose their needs. But if you stand up and actively seek discipline it will come faster and you will be a better man for it.
These are five aspects of military discipline I feel can be adopted by anybody who wants to improve their life.
Waking Up Early
There are several reasons recruits are woken up early in basic training. One is to develop routine, another is to place upon them an element of stress, the most important is that there is just so much to get done during the day.
The most productive people are early risers. The quiet hours are a great time to get things done. If you are disciplined you can get more done by the time most get out of bed than they would during their entire work day.
It is an excellent habit to get into because it provides a stable routine. If you wake up at the same time everyday, including weekends, your body will adjust to find the right time to go to bed each night. You will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.
Taking Care Of Your Appearance
On one hand we shouldn't judge people by their appearance. On the other hand it speaks volumes about someone's attitude and since people do judge on appearance it is something you should concern yourself with.
There is a reason why the military places such an emphasis on cleanliness, grooming and uniform. You need to be clean when living in such close proximity to others. You need to look good if you are going to communicate a sense of pride and self respect. Attention to detail in your appearance is reflective of attention to detail in other areas of life.
Choose your wardrobe carefully. Make sure you look crisp and smart. Iron your clothes. Practice proper grooming. Get a haircut, shave, cut your fingernails.
Being Organized and Efficient
Everything in the recruits life must be organized. Uniform, personal belongings, equipment, papers.
Compare this to the messiness and slovenly behavior demonstrated by the average citizen.
Discipline in this area is something that will add huge value to your work and life. When things are busy but you are organized stress stays low and you can get things done.
Keeping Fit and Healthy
Recruits are regularly pushed to their physical and mental levels. Physical training is not just a means to keep fit but a way to test people and help them break barriers.
One key thing I have always kept from the military is the need to push myself in my workouts. So many people will attend a gym but just go through the motions, as if just turning up is enough.
Joining something like Cross Fit is a great way to develop yourself both physically and mentally as it ensures you keep fit and healthy but at the same time make sure you are breaking new ground.
Having Tenacity in Everything You Do
Military discipline teaches you to take a determined and measured to everything. Where other people will quit because it is too hard to person with military discipline will push themselves to make it happen.
It doesn't matter what the challenge is or whether it is physical, intellectual or whatever. If you have discipline you will find what it takes to succeed.