Thought for the Day – Aristotle on Self-Discipline

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”– Aristotle

Earlier this week, Cameron Douglas, 31 year-old son of Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas, was sentenced to a 5-year prison term on charges of dealing large quantities of drugs (read story). Offering what he said “may well be his last chance to make it,” the U.S. District Judge in the case handed Cameron what is considered to be a lenient sentence. In his appeal to the court, Cameron, an abuser of drugs since he was 13, remarked, ”I squandered a lot of [opportunities for recovery]. If I should be so fortunate as to have another chance, I will never squander that opportunity.”

As I read this tragic story, I couldn’t help but think about how much talent went unnurtured in his escape to drugs. Addictions of any kind rob the addicted of so much potential. Ever so quietly, so also does living unintentionally. Without worthy goals and the self-discipline to work toward them, I will squander the opportunities I have to nurture my talents. Every day I have a choice to make between merely desiring a change and working toward it. The difference is self-discipline. “The problem with self-discipline,” as my friend and co-teacher, Roger Thompson, points out, “is that not doing it is instantly rewarded.” But like drug use, it’s a hollow reward.

Your thoughts? Are there some time-wasting habits that are squandering your opportunities?

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