Discipline vs. Motivation

None of what I’m about to write is original. It’s all been said before, and in a much more eloquent manner than I’m capable of expressing. With that said I find value in reminding myself that discipline is greater than motivation.

I bring this up because over the last week I’ve had a couple of conversations with people who were interested in what I’m trying to accomplish and both conversations ended essentially the same way. “I wish I had your motivation” and “I’d love to get back in shape, but I’m just not motivated enough.” Both times I just smiled and played it off with some lame joke. Partly because compliments make me uneasy, but mostly because I wanted to tell them that they were wrong.

Motivation is a fickle mistress. Sure she’ll get you on your way or convince you to try something new, but she’ll abandon you when you need her most. Discipline, now that’s the girl you want, because she always has your back. She’s the one who will get you out of bed to run at 5:30 in the morning when it’s cold and snowing. She’s the one who stays your hand when you want to reach for that Coke or doughnut because it’s mid-afternoon and you’ve sapped your willpower for the day. She’s the Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in your head. Discipline is the foundation upon which you can build your dreams.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t maintain a relationship with Motivation. She’s a perfect muse that will set you on some pretty amazing adventures. You just have to accept that, like all muses, you can’t hold on to her. She’ll be in and out of your life, and you’ll have no control over when she comes and goes. Fortunately for you, as long as you nurture your relationship with Discipline she’ll always be there when Motivation deserts you. The best part is that Discipline is very bohemian and a little freaky. She’s happy to exist in an open relationship, and quite enjoys it when Motivation visits.

So if you’re thinking “I wish I had the Motivation to achieve my dreams” what you really need to do is change your mindset and listen to Teddy Roosevelt

The one quality which sets one man apart from another, the key which lifts one to every aspiration, while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity – is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness. It is self-discipline.

With self-discipline all things are possible. Without it, even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream.

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