See this post for the intro to this series of posts about rules.
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
My access to the arrogance of youth expired some time ago. However, these days I am qualified to employ a much more subtle pretentiousness, the self-assured superiority of age and experience. This rule is a little quite ambiguous, although I can easily manufacture an interpretation for you. The difference between being disciplined and self-disciplined is the difference between doing as you’re told and choosing to do as you’re told and, hence, employing a little humility.
To accept the guidance a teacher or mentor, either inside or outside a school, is being disciplined and being self-disciplined is taking advice or criticism that does not necessarily agree with your existing world-view.
In my mind this relates very directly to RULE FOUR and can also be applied to the idea of being disciplined by being critical and being self-disciplined by being self-critical. Whereas I am normally quite vocal criticising artists for being hypercritical, having an objective perspective on your own work, particularly in relation to other artists’ work, is very valuable. Also being uncritical, or hypocritical is unhelpful. However, I do try not to be hypercritical about being hypercritical. I hope that makes sense.