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Discipline is the process of changing a behavior to make it conform to a rule or standard. For many people, discipline has a negative connotation to it, especially when it is their behavior that is being adjusted.

In truth, though, discipline is more than repeating the standard and doling out punishment.

There is an interesting quote on discipline by Major General John M. Schofield from when he addressed West Point’s Corp of Cadets back in 1897.

The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

It is interesting that well over a hundred years ago, in the profession that is perhaps most known for its discipline that one of its senior leaders talked about discipline in this manner.

Discipline comes from respect, which comes from leaders adhering to the standards they are enforcing.

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