First of all we must agree to what we think self discipline actually is before we can answer this question. Simply stated I would say that self discipline is basically the ability to do something even though you don’t feel like doing it, right? We all do this every day of our lives; waking up early, going to work, taking a shower when we are tired and so on.
Obviously if we had zero self discipline our lives would be chaos but is it possible to actually be too disciplined? The truth is that when discipline becomes an obsession there is a definite problem. I had an uncle that was the most disciplined person I ever knew. He would exercise 3 – 4 times a week without fail and I remember when he decided to quit smoking cigarettes he did it, just like that! No fuss, no muss, he simply stopped smoking.
This is a good example of how useful self discipline can be but some people take self control to a new and unhealthy level. Forming a good habit (such as working out) is great but if it turns into a compulsion, it is a serious problem. I saw a television show years ago where a man had this exact compulsion, he would work out at the gym 4 or 5 times every day and he could not relax if he didn’t. He was a member of several different athletic clubs and his workout schedule completely dominated his life. It was a very strange situation to observe.
For me it is easy to see how discipline can become obsessive behavior. We all know someone that we would define as a workaholic. These types of people are very successful in their careers but is it really healthy for them? While most of us strive to work harder and become more successful in our chosen careers people that are obsessed with work are quite the opposite, they must strive to work less. For them taking a well deserved vacation or not answering a business call regardless of what they are doing at that time is almost impossible.
If you are thinking that this could never happen to you, you should think again. It’s easier than you think to become too dedicated to something, especially your career. If you find that you have lost the ability to “leave it at the office” than maybe, just maybe you too are a bit too disciplined. Remember to take time off, enjoy family and friends and stop answering that phone at a certain time every night. If you have the discipline to work so hard, you also have the discipline to know when to stop.