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16 best self-discipline quotes

This is a collection of my best quotes about self-discipline. These will help you remember what it takes to develop self-discipline and self-control.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

There is nothing more potent than self-discipline. The ability to force yourself to do what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it is a superpower. Because the average person is motivated by how they feel, one who lives their life according to discipline is a force to be reckoned with.

Successful people understand that real power comes from the ability to resist your impulses, delay gratification, and persist in the face of distress. A disciplined mind leads you to whatever you desire on this planet. A weak mind accepts whatever is left after the disciplined are finished.

If you want to possess true power, you have to force yourself to be disciplined—especially in this world of constant distraction and promises of shortcuts. The following are things I’ve learned about self-discipline throughout my life as a professional athlete, student, former alcoholic, and writer.

I hope you learn something from these quotes and if one of them resonates with you, share it so that someone else can get something from it.

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Ed Latimore’s 16 Best Self-Discipline Quotes

Self-discipline to get shit done.
Self-control to keep you from doing dumb shit.

When they’re both developed, anything is possible. (Tweet it)

The difference between self-discipline and self-control is that the former is necessary to ensure you do the hard work required to achieve your goals. The latter is required to keep you from doing things that will knock you off track. You need both to succeed.


Self-discipline and self-control will determine the quality of your life more than anything else.

Self-discipline to make you do what needs to be done. Self-control to keep you from doing what you shouldn’t. (Tweet it)

Once you realize that no one controls your life but you, then you can start doing what needs to be done to make your life look like your greatest desires. Yes, you will occasionally get lucky, and people will give you help, but you determine how your life will turn out.


How to “master” self-discipline:

Do something when you don’t want to. Repeatedly.
Don’t ever expect it to get easier. You just get stronger.
(Tweet it)

Grenville Kleiser once said, “By constant self-discipline and self-control, you can develop greatness of character.” This little-known inspirational quote sums up the purpose of self-discipline. You need to take on difficult things to be a great person because part of becoming great is the ability to do what needs to be done—regardless of how you feel about it. You don’t master self-discipline. It’s a muscle that gets stronger with repeated use, which makes you great.


Self-discipline is the insurance policy against the failure of the fickle forces of motivation and inspiration. (Tweet it)

You will never have what you want if you only work when you feel like it. People who rely on motivation and inspiration rely on emotion. Emotions, by their very nature, are unpredictable and unreliable. You must force yourself to work if you ever want to be free from the whims of motivation and inspiration. Jim Rohn said it best: “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”


Self-discipline and self-control determine the quality of your life more than anything else. (Tweet it)

Lou Holtz said, “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” You don’t have to be particularly talented. You just have to work. You can have a fine life if all you do is show up on time and stay out of trouble. Doing those things alone will guarantee that your life is fantastic. 


The deeper your feel, the more emotional control you need.

A special type of self-destruction occurs when you combine high empathy and low self-discipline. (Tweet it)

I thought of this after reading the following quote by the Dalai Lama:

Most of our problems are related to the mind, so we have to work to reduce our destructive emotions. Use your human intelligence in the best way you can; transform your emotions in a positive way.

Emotions are a strength, but if you let them get out of control, you can damage yourself and others in a relatively short amount of time. I believe that a secret to success is not to divorce yourself from your emotions but to integrate them and gain their full powers.

The former makes you weak because you deny your true nature. The latter makes you strong because you hold nothing back: you just don’t let it control you either. 


No books for self-discipline.

Take a fight
Change your body
Learn a language
Learn a musical instrument
Run a marathon

I don’t know. Just do something difficult.
You can’t learn discipline from texts.
(Tweet it)

Discipline orders the disordered, focuses the unfocused, and makes strong the flimsy. It does this by forcing you to do difficult things. Discipline does not demand perfection or even mastery. It only requires effort and consistency. This reminds some of what Lao Tzu said of discipline: “Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength


Crime, healthcare, and the media are just businesses.

Self-control is bad for business.
Self-discipline is bad for business.
Respect is bad for business.
Health is bad for business.
Independent thinking is bad for business.

It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just business. (Tweet it)


The answer to most of your problems is more self-control or discipline.

This fixes every long-term problem you might have and almost every short-term one. (Tweet it)


Emotional discipline is the most important.

When emotional discipline breaks, that’s when you do things that change your life for the worst. (Tweet it)

Prisons and cemeteries are full of people who could have avoided a tragedy but instead let their emotions get the best of them. The graveyard of unfulfilled ambition is populated by people who couldn’t delay gratification and let themselves get blown off course. 


Fuck motivation.
Either you want it or you don’t. (Tweet it)


Young men, if you don’t control your dick, your dick will control you. That discipline (or lack thereof it) will make or break your life. (Tweet it)


Young men, If you can discipline yourself to resist fast money and easy sex, then nothing in this world will break you. It is yours to do what you please with. (Tweet it)


The answer to most of your problems is: More money, more time, or more discipline. (Tweet it)


Imagine doing 25 to life because someone called you the worst slur and you *had* to knock him out.

But he hit his head when he fell and died. Lose your emotional discipline for one moment and it can cost you the rest of your life. (Tweet it)


Get into the habit of choosing your words carefully. If you don’t have the discipline to do that, then at least have the awareness to know when you’ve chosen poorly, the humility to admit it, and the empathy to try again. (Tweet it)

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Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

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