By effort and mindfulness, discipline and self-mastery,
let the wise one make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.
—Mortimer J. Adler
Rule your mind or it will rule you.
Meditation is one of the best ways to train awareness. And awareness is at the core of Mindful Self-Discipline—because discipline starts in the mind. It starts with how you think and how you manage your emotions.
Meditation also trains your willpower—and this is something most people don’t realize. In meditation you don’t just sit and passively watch your mind; you also actively control your attention. You choose where you want to place your attention (e.g., your breathing or a mantra), make an effort to keep it there, and bring it back whenever it wanders into thoughts. That micro-exercise of self-control happens dozens of times whenever you sit to meditate, and it is thus a great training for willpower.
Awareness (to see) and willpower (to act) are the two core ingredients of Mindful Self-Discipline. Therefore, the more you practice meditation, the more you are able to practice self-discipline because it trains them both. Meditation is the ultimate self-discipline gym.
Yes, you can find some extremely disciplined people who never had a formal meditation practice. How is that possible? They have taken another path and trained their awareness through relentless self-reflection and self-observation. Or they overcompensated lack of awareness through forcefulness and by sticking to supportive environments. They are, however, often unable to translate that self-discipline to other environments or areas of life.
Meditation is an easier path to self-discipline. It is less forceful and more direct. And it also brings with it several scientifically proven benefits to your health, relationships, and wellbeing. When your physical and mental health improve as a result of regular meditation practice, your ability to be disciplined also improves. So meditation helps self-discipline both directly (by enhancing awareness and willpower) and also indirectly (by contributing to better health, mood, clarity, focus, and energy levels).