10 Rules for Profitable Self Discipline

It was a sunday evening and we were discussing random topics among our friends. One of the topics that came up, was on how to communicate effectively? or more precisely, how to discuss crucial topics, …


Bargav Kondapu
Bargav Kondapu
Nov 13, 2018 · 6min read
People communicating at work © [ivanko80] /Adobe Stock


It was a sunday evening and we were discussing random topics among our friends. One of the topics that came up, was on how to communicate effectively? or more precisely, how to discuss crucial topics, without either one being offended. This discussion, reminded me of an old yet, timeless speech by Napoleon Hill on 10 Rules for Profitable Self Discipline.

The 10 Rules for Profitable self discipline are
1. Keep cool when others get hot.
2. Remember that there are 3 sides of an argument. Your side, other side and the right side, which is usually between the first two.
3. Never give directions when angry.
4. Treat all people as good as you would, yourself.
5. Look for the seed of equivalent benefit in every situation 6. Learn the almost forgotten art of asking questions and then listening to their answer
7. Never say or do anything that may influence other person, without asking yourself this question : Will it benefit them or hurt them ? If it hurts, don’t say or do it.
8. Learn the difference between a friendly analysis and unfriendly criticism
9. A good leaders in any calling, take orders as cheerfully as he/she gives.
10. Tolerance in human relations is just as important as tolerance in operation of mechanics

These principle apply in any healthy relationship, be it work, friends or family. Let’s discuss more about what each of those statements mean.

People communicating © [ivanko80] /Adobe Stock

Napoleon Hill is one of the greatest and influential authors of all time, famous for his best selling books likes ‘Think and Grow Rich’, ‘Law of Success’, ‘Outwitting the Devil’ and many more. His books had a profound impact on me and this post is one of his precious advices.

1. Keep cool when others get hot

We all get angry when others get angry, we raise our tone, when other person raises theirs. It takes extreme self-discipline to stay calm and not loose our composure, even when the other person is out of control. When we get angry or emotionally off-balance, we would loose our thoughts and say things, that we do not intend to. It would just make the situation even worse. On contrary, being composed, puts you in power, allow you to think rationally and also give the other person a chance to realize their emotional state and to cool down.

2. Remember that there are 3 sides of an argument. Your side, other side and the right side, which is usually between the first two

In majority of the arguments that I came across, it’s either both people are partly at fault or neither are at fault. Next time when you get into an argument, remember that other person could be true from his or her point of view, as well. Try to find a common ground, that would support both your logic.

3. Never give directions when angry

As discussed in the 1st rule, Our brains are vulnerable, when angry, cannot think rationally. When angry, the decisions we take or orders we pass, will always have a negative effect on us and people we give orders to. Think about various scenarios in your life, and think how you reacted to it, when angry, when happy, when sad, when in love… and you will understand this. Would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

4. Treat all people as good as you would, yourself.

When engaged in a conversation with any person, treat them as you would treat yourself. Stop treating them like inferiors, superiors, juniors,… Need not have any extra dominance or extra servitude in any of your conversations. Treat them like equals. It will be a mutual respect.

5. Look for the seed of equivalent benefit in every situation

An interaction doesn’t mean that one has to loose, for other person to win. For example, in a work meeting, instead of going into ‘my idea vs your idea’, try to find a solution that would benefit both. Look for a seed of eqiovalent benefit in every situation.

6. Learn the almost forgotten art of asking questions and then listening to their answer

Father having conversation with son © [LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS] /Adobe Stock

Everyday, I hear at least two people, asking me ‘How are you?’, and then walk away before I even answer. I have done that a lot of times too, we ask questions for sake of asking, never really concerned about the answer. It has became an almost forgotten art. So next time, when you ask a question, try to pause/refrain yourself from walking away or asking more questions, and listen to what they have to answer. You will experience an exponential growth of friendship, trust and connection with them.

7. Never say or do anything that may influence other person, without asking yourself this question : Will it benefit them or hurt them ? If it hurts, don’t say or do it.

We all were and will be in situations, where we could have a profound influence on other person, as a parent, boss, mentor, friend, … During these situations, be extra cautious about what you say or ask. Never say or do anything that will hurt them. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine, would it hurt them or encourage them and act accordingly.

8. Learn the difference between a friendly analysis and unfriendly criticism

Friendly Analysis is important. It is what makes the world better. But Unfriendly criticism is un welcomed, un necessary. Learn how to give a friendly analysis, instead of criticizing. Everyone must learn the difference between a friendly analysis and unfriendly criticism, weather you are on receiving end or on giving end.

9. A good leaders in any calling, take orders as cheerfully as he/she gives.

It’s easy to give orders, telling people what to do all the time. But it’s more important to listen to your people and take action based on that. It’s extremely important to be able to cheerfully take orders, as much as he/she gives. For example, if team decides to go for lunch at some ‘X’ place, be happy eating there with team, instead of forcing them to go to a ‘Y’ place.

10. Tolerance in human relations is just as important as tolerance in operation of mechanics

In mechanics, no machine can hold dimensions precisely to the nominal value, so there must be acceptable degrees of variation. Tolerance is that boundaries for acceptable build. For example, A machine needs 100 units of power, it has a tolerance of +/- 1%. Which means, machine should accept 99 as well as 101 units of power, without any problems. In human relations too, No one can have nominal value. One must have a tolerance, and let go/ ignore few things that you might not like in other person.

I came across these, initially through a video on youtube, with title ‘Napoleon Hill - 10 Rules of Self Discipline’. Since then, I try to incorporate these rules into my daily interactions and I observed a great improvement in my self-being, as well as relationship with other people. These principles are originally from his book ‘The Law of Success’. I would highly encourage everyone to read Napoleon Hill’s books. They contain timeless pieces of advice, that will help you throughout your life.



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