Scarcity Teaches Discipline

Recently, I happened to meet one of the persons whom I admire. For the sake of this post, let’s call him an old pal. He is quite successful in his corporate life and talks straight to the point. He has come a long way up in his life, and happens to be no-nonsense, simple person. We (along with other friend of mine) chatted for couple of hours, kind of catching up with contemporary topics. I like my old pal because he generally walks down the talks!
The topic turned towards discipline, specifically the personal financial discipline. Old pal was very particular about the phrase – scarcity teaches discipline. He elaborated it saying, if a person has to spend Rs 15 on a cup of tea in the afternoon, but all that he has is Rs 25 in his pocket for the day, he is likely to spend on some stomach filling food rather than just a cup of tea. On the other hand, if he had Rs 500 for the day, spending Rs 15 may not seem that big of a deal. If your monthly earning is many multiples of your basic necessities, you are likely to aspire/splurge for luxurious products.
Let us go one step further. Assume someone’s dad was working in a low paying job all his life. If the dad was financially well disciplined, children may have had access to what they needed more or less consistently. Furthermore, starting point for those children is way higher than their dad! There is very less likelihood of children being that well disciplined as did the dad, since there was no real scarcity or unpredictability. Instead, if someone faced more unpredictability early in his life, is likely to be well guarded at his approach. Very few people can claim that they’re life driven and ready to take up uncertainty with ease.
If an individual has the goals and objectives clear I would expect the person to far more disciplined than the one doesn’t aspire to have clarity about future. My mom would always say, ‘rich man won’t find reasons to rest while the poor man won’t find reason to move out of couch (of his comfort zone)’. Lazy person may not find the value in time and waste it, while an ambitious person would consider even the right amount of sleep to improve productivity. That’s right – optimum amount of sleep means discipline that’s the result of time scarcity!