Discipline and motivation take two paths to the same end – to drive action. They are not evenly matched contenders; however.
Motivation is an artificial catalyst for action created by the manipulation of emotions. It is only a matter of time before motivation will wane and without something else to pick up the torch, progress will be stunted. The progress made with motivation will slowly revert back to where one started only to wait for the next wave of motivation to come.
Conversely, discipline is reliable and consistent. Rather than rely on external stimuli to create intention and action; discipline comes from within. It is created from strong values and defined by a person’s code. These values alone define the urgency and intention in one’s actions that motivation will artificially produce.
A disciplined person does not require motivation to achieve. Regardless of the difficulty of the task at hand, the actions taken as a result of discipline happen out of need, rather than out of want. Disciplined actions inherently have a significance to them; the actions support a larger picture. Discipline will define a set of non negotiable requirements that a person must fulfil. It is who they are. The drive to take action; therefore, exists without motivation being needed.
To the uninitiated, discipline may look like sacrifice. Discipline is easy to blame from the outside for one missing a night out at the bar or skipping out on desserts at the family birthday party. However, to the individual, going out to the bar or eating junk food is the real sacrifice if it is in conflict with their values and goals. A night out at the bar may result in waking up late the following day, sluggish performance, and sacrificed productivity; and keeping on diet may be more important than indulging on cake.
This dedication to a goal speaks to the understanding of the larger picture. Discipline allows one to see past “one night out” and “one piece of cake” out to the next many nights out and offered cake. There is a higher meaning to one’s actions that does not involve maximizing immediate pleasures at the detriment of future progress. Discipline and the values that underpin it are the higher meaning themselves.
Motivation will artificially create a higher meaning or a call-to-action where one does not exist. The lack of higher significance is preyed upon by those selling motivation – it is the only way that they can be successful as motivation is relied upon when an individual cannot provide purpose for themselves. The lack of purpose comes from their own lack of strategy or real, tangible goals.
Where motivation will fail an individual, discipline will remain. It is woven into the being of the Initiated individual and will remain with them wherever they go.
Stop seeking motivation and instead cultivate discipline.
Yours in strength,
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