How to Use the D Word to Improve Every Aspect of Your Life!

This is NOT the real meaning of the "D" word!

We live in a society that despises the D word.  I received some of the harshest critique I ever received  on a post where I used the D word.  So what is this nasty word?

It’s the word Discipline!

If the mention of the word made you shudder in disgust, then for your own sake may I suggest you take a few  steps to the right and look at the word from a different perspective. Knowing what the word really means and how to use it can change your life.  Too often the word discipline and punishment are used interchangeably and therein lies part of the problem.  When we hear the “D” word, we can see the finger being stabbed in our face, feel the switch being applied to the seat of knowledge or smell our own breath as we stand at time out in some remote corner of a room.

Punishment and Discipline are not the same word!

Punishment Mortifies
Discipline Motivates

Punishment is being controlled
Discipline is being in control

Punishment is based on fear
Discipline is based on trust

Punishment is time out
Discipline is time put in.

Discipline is practice
Punishment is penalty

Look what the book of Proverbs say’s about discipline.

  • A fool despises wisdom and discipline
  • Do not despise the Lord’s discipline do not resent his rebuke
  • He who hates correction will die
  • Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,  but he who hates correction is stupid.
  • The corrections of discipline are the way to life.

The earliest understanding of discipline was not about punishment but about instruction, study and order.

I love this from Webster’s Dictionary.  Discipline is:

“ that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.”  And who hasn’t watched a professional athlete or musician without wondering about the discipline that brought them to such a place of excellence.

Webster also defines discipline as:

a:   control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b:   orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior

And my favorite:

c:   self control

Although punishment is sometimes used to enforce discipline, distaste for punishment should never allow us to  banish the word discipline to the land of the “D” word.  If we want to accomplish anything worthy in life, discipline will be part of the process.

In my book Fully Alive I confess that my weight loss and regaining my physical and spiritual health were a result of grace and discipline.  My ability to make a living speaking and teaching is a greatly a result of discipline.

So what do you do with the “D” word.  

1. Say it!  Out loud!  Right now! See that wasn’t so bad!

2. Embrace it!

3. Practice it!

4. Enjoy the benefits that come from living a disciplined life.

What do you think?  


  1. Brilliant Ken. I could get into a very long discussion about this as I feel it’s the desperate lack of discipline that’s a large part of the problems we see today.
    But that’s not what you were talking about and it’s me, myself and I that the word is directed at, for my own life right now.
    Thank you for this, very nicely put and easy to read; (I accept the lesson Lord)!

  2. Ouch! What a lesson to learn today. Thanks for the kick in the pants that I needed. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday!

  3. Excellent post, Ken…thank you! In the education world we teach our future teachers about the D word. We teach them “we have expectations not rules,” and “we use consequences not punishment.” Future teachers are taught that there are three very important ingredients to discipline—1) consistency, 2) consistency, and 3) consistency. 🙂 This post also reminds me of what I heard you say on the radio the other day…”change your life, one choice at a time.” Our choices take a large dose of discipline! Thanks for all you do!

  4. Whom the Lord loves he Disciplines. If we just remembered that when we are being “disciplined” by God, it should make us realize how much we are loved by the Father!

  5. Thanks Ken, I love your attitude and ideals.
    Carry On with the Word.

    God Bless,

    Kevin Gibbs

    1. Author


      Thank you friend. I have to decide every day to respond with gratitude for the privilege of having that day to live.


  6. “If you are the landlord and you make the decision to evict Discipline, save the room because Regret will be moving in very soon!” – Greg Gilbert –Accountable Seedership™ Consulting

    1. Author


      What an amazing quote. I am definitely going to read your book and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


  7. Love it Ken! I’ve found discipline to be a key factor in improving my life. By disciplining myself to get up to exercise I’ve lost 40 pounds, by disciplining myself to read I’ve learned more in the last 5-10 years than I had previously, by being disciplined I’ve been faithful to my wife.

    It’s all in how you look at it.

  8. As a mom of four (my oldest is 9), discipline is absolutely necessary to making sure things somewhat hold together at our house. Routine and consistency are HUGE! Teaching my kids discipline is different than having to discipline them. I prefer the first one… 🙂

    1. Author


      Instruction and disciple are the same thing. I know you. I know your children. Because of the way you lovingly discipline your children, they will live!!


  9. Amen! Cannot imagine how different my life would be, and would have been, had I not learned discipline in many dimensions. Thanks be to God for that gift! And thanks for reminding us of the value of that gift, Ken!

    1. Author

      Gwen, I felt the same regret until a friend said, “You’ve got today” What a privilege to have today to be everything we were created to be. You go girl!


  10. all I can say is WOW! Thank you for taking the negativity out of THAT word!


  11. Please change the word “shutter” to “shudder.” Thank you!

    1. Author

      Thank you for that catch Katy. I changed it to shooter… (-; I welcome those eyes that see what I miss. Ken

      1. Thanks for changing it. After teaching for ten years (English, of course), I agree with what you’re saying, here. Parents need to stop enabling and start parenting. I had to give up on the teaching gig, not because of the students, but because of parents and politics. Discipline is underrated.


  12. Ken…

    …thank you for your Sunday discipline.



    1. Author


      That is what friends are for. I expect the same from you. Thank you for seeing my heart in the process. Keep in touch.


  13. Discipline is a much better word then punishment or grounding when it comes to children. Thanks for putting new light on the subject. It came just at the right time in my life.

    1. Author


      When I was a kid, time out meant the actual time I was unconscious!! (-;

  14. Love it, discipline is all to often associated with punishment, but it is much more then that. Discipline is almost a different way of thinking, doing things that may not be gratifying today, in exchange for greater rewards in the future. I agree with Dee, more people (children, adults, even senior citizens) need to have discipline in their lives, and realize that discipline is closer to responsibility then punishment.

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