We live in a nation where more and more people look to the government to solve problems. Many American feel that they can shift personal responsibility and discipline away from themselves to government. Government cannot replace our duty to be responsible for our own lives and our own futures. Government bureaucrats will be more than happy to come up with another tax to pay for another wasteful government program and tax you even more to give you back 5 cents on the dollar. America’s strength lies in strong, capable and responsible citizens.

We must be strong as individuals. It’s next to impossible to know what kind of adversity or what sort of good luck will fall in someone’s lap.

We must be able to handle adversity. Will they rise to the occasion or be corrupted or destroyed by it? That will be determined by our level of discipline. Discipline will most likely be the deciding factor in the outcome.

If we look at the stoics from history like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, we see examples of discipline, temperance, moderation, self-aware, balance, and self mastery.

Can discipline chart destiny? Discipline is both predictive and deterministic. Look at examples around you of people who are self disciplined. Are they more successful than those you have known who lacked discipline? Who lives the life you would want for yourself; the discipline and the responsible or the undisciplined and the irresponsible?

So it goes for all of us. If you want to know why things are the way they are in your life right now…look to your level of discipline. It got you here, for better or worse. If you want to know how things are going to go for you in the future…your discipline will take you there.

It’s not merely that disciplined people do well and undisciplined people fail—we know life is more complicated than that. The maxim means that traits of discipline predict the kind of actions we will see.

The undisciplined person may succeed…but it will be an unstable, chaotic success. The unrestrained will end up unraveling the institutions around them. The lazy will end up missing some critical piece of information that costs them. The overly passionate will take it too far and pay for it. The arrogant will ignore the people and the warnings that could have saved them.

Discipline and responsibility will be better indicators of the trajectory of our lives than talent, resources, or privilege.

“Most powerful is he,” as Seneca tried to instill in the rulers he advised, “who has himself in his own power.”