130-year-old Truth

Of all the things we memorized at West Point, one of my favorites was Schofield’s Definition of Discipline. It’s an excerpt from Major General John Schofield’s address to the Military Academy’s graduating class of 1879. It’s 130 years old, but it’s still true today. Enjoy it. Then employ it!

General Schofield
The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself. While he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect towards others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

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