According to Merriam-Webster, refers to a training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. It is a control gained by enforcing obedience or order. Of course the other meaning which refers to orderly or prescribed conduct of pattern of behavior (as in ‘area of discipline’ in fields of study or profession) is set aside for this topic.
Discipline might also be taken as a strict state of being consistently doing something with premeditation and full consent in achieving specific targets or goals. For example: one decided to lose weight. The person wanting to be slimmer should observe proper diet, does exercise regularly, and maintain such routine until the satisfaction of the end results. Although the driving force may come in a form of a strict order, it can also come from one’s initiative. Hence, for the instant example, a person wanting to lose weight might have experienced ‘social pressure’ from peers, or it might have came from dissatisfaction of one’s view of own aesthetics. Whatever the driving force is, discipline can still exists whether the cause or the end is achieved.
Can one person be disciplined but does not perform the professional and moral acts expected of him? The answer is YES. That is because not all are law abiding citizens. But you might argue, then there is no sense of discipline among them. NO, in fact there is. A criminal, with its criminal mind, necessitates certain level of discipline to attain certain crimes. Like for instance the criminal wants to rob a bank. The criminal must be able to know how many guards are there, what are their weapons, how many tellers are there, what are their warning or fail-safe devices, the flow of traffic on certain times, proximity of police, time of accomplishment, and etc. The said criminal must exercise a high level of discipline to obtain all the information and to be successful in the commission of the crime. Then, there is discipline.
If discipline exists between a criminal and a non-criminal, so what’s the point? What differs a criminal from non-criminal is moral depravity. And if we lose moral uprightness in the purview of discipline, we are no different from any criminal. We should have the discipline and thinking of a well trained and motivated criminal, but we should act like a person in authority, adhering to the rule of law and high moral standards. Discipline is not just a state of mind and body. It is also the state of one’s spirit, that gives hope or the power to surpass any limitations. So how about the case of those who do not have any sense of discipline? That is a different story.