Friday, November 3, 2017

Life Lessons and Wargaming: Self-Discipline vs. Self-Control

Hey Everyone.  Today I wish to continue my series on "Life Lessons and Wargaming".  The point of this series is to take lessons we learn throughout life and how we can apply them to our miniature wargaming hobby.  We often will learn these life lessons and put them to use here and there, but often these lessons are universal and can be used to improve every aspect of our life, including on the tabletop.  The topic for this post is the difference between Self-Discipline and Self-Control and how to use both of these life tools to improve your hobby as well.

I would like to begin by defining what each tool is before we explore their similarities and differences.  Self-discipline is defined as "Correction and regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement" while Self-control is defined as "Restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires".  Both are very clearly their own tool, but they also work together and work off each other in a cycle of constant improvement.  These tools combined are immensely powerful in wargaming as well as in life.  Looking at Kobe Bryant and his "Black Mamba Mentality" you can see how his self-discipline and self-control were cultivated and used to give him an edge that set him farther above the rest.

Based on my prior article in this series regarding setting goals and having a purpose you may be wondering exactly how to achieve the goal you are visualizing.  Let's look at a new example within wargaming and assume we have the goal of winning first place in a Grand Tournament. The path toward any goal is often quite simple.  If you want to win a Grand Tournament you need to practice a list while studying the games changing meta and examining other high-level player's tactics.  It is not the "How", but the "how do we practice" the "How" that is the most challenging.  The secret to achieving any goal is simply hard work.  These two words are what ends the quest for our goals before we even start, but there is no way around them to get where you see yourself and achieve the goals set for yourself.  So let us get into the hard work of achieving our goal and using the tools of self-discipline and self-control to make hard work simply become work and potentially even fun.

So let's continue with the idea that you wish to win an upcoming Grand Tournament and you are visualizing your goal of holding that first place trophy aloft at the end of the event.  You begin looking at the top lists from various events across the global community and begin to assemble a list.  You need to begin cultivating your self-discipline because the community will focus on something new and change often, sometimes week to week, and it's tempting to chase the new shiny army or jump on the new off boxed game, but you need to have the self-discipline to stay your course and focus on your goal and keep examining your army and playing your army. After a while you will find your interest waning, but not due to any change to your goal.  You will be so far into doing the hard work for your goal, but you might not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Perhaps you are losing game after game despite adjustments to your list based on your games and studying the meta.  The hard work will not appear to be paying off, but this is simply not true.  At this point, your self-discipline is what will keep you going.  It will keep you adjusting and studying your list.

The hardest part in developing and maintaining your self-discipline is that you will never know when the hard work really begins to pay off.  It is hard to pinpoint just when it begins to click because by maintaining the self-discipline you will be growing, even if you feel as if you are losing every game with your top tier list.  However, at some point, you will be winning more and more of your games and finding the flow of the meta is matching what you are doing just as you are matching the meta.  Each moment spent on studying lists and playing games is a moment closer to achieving your goal.  Use the tool of your self-discipline to become almost obsessive at achieving your goal.

Now how does the tool of self-control help you achieve your goals?  You might feel that self-discipline covers everything regarding self-control, but it does and it doesn't.  Let's continue the example to explore this a bit more.  If a new army that grabs your interest comes out you might want to run out and buy it, but if in doing so you know you will build and play with them a fair bit then you need to use and develop the tool of self-control.  You might have the self-control to buy the new army and set it aside until after you have accomplished your goal, but others do not.  Self-control is not switching armies due to a potential meta shift, it is not making drastic changes that do not appear necessary to your list based on what you are examining in the meta as a whole.  Self-control is choosing to throw yourself against the toughest opponents to improve, it is choosing to do the hard stuff while using your self-discipline to reach that goal through hard work.

Having the self-control will let you maintain your self-discipline.  It will keep you on track toward your goal as your discipline keeps you looking toward your goal.  However, it does not guarantee you will achieve your goal.  You can and will fail on your way to your goal.  Failure is a way in how we learn and you should not be afraid of failure and I will look at Failure in a future article in the series, but for now, know that you will need both self-control and self-discipline to fail and get back up and chase your goal.  Your self-discipline and self-control will only help you become the best hobbyist version of yourself be it in gaming, painting, or any other aspect of our wonderful hobby.

When you use these tools of self-control and self-discipline you develop a mental state that is essential for achieving your goals.  Once this mental state and your discipline and control are cultivated and moving you begin to see the change you are after in order to get to your goals.  To our example, you might find that lists you once feared are nothing to worry about and scenarios that might have put your list on a back foot now become a smaller and smaller hurdle.  Then the discipline and control you put into your work will become a habit and perhaps even enjoyable as you develop your routine around these tools to help you improve and ultimately reach your goal.

There is no way around putting in the hard work to achieve your goal.  Push to be better and always improve and use your self-control and self-discipline to keep the mental edge to get to those goals.  It will not be easy and will not always be fun until you realize that these tools and hard work are getting you closer and closer to your goals.  Let me know how you are using your self-control and self-discipline to push for your goals and develop that mental edge.

Until next week, Happy Hobbying.

Previous Articles in this Series:
Life Lessons and Wargaming: Goals and Purpose