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Motivation vs Discipline


Motivation vs discipline

If you want to get anything done, there are two basic ways to get yourself to do it.

The first, more popular and devastatingly wrong option is to try to motivate yourself.

The second, somewhat unpopular and entirely correct choice is to cultivate discipline.

This is one of these situations where adopting a different perspective immediately results in superior outcomes. Few uses of the term “paradigm shift” are actually legitimate, but this one is. It’s a lightbulb moment.

What’s the difference?

Motivation, broadly speaking, operates on the erroneous assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to complete a task.

That’s completely the wrong way around.

Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings and thereby ironically circumvents the problem by consistently improving them.

The implications are huge.

Successful completion of tasks brings about the inner states that chronic procrastinators think they need to initiate tasks in the first place.

Put in simpler form, you don’t wait until you’re in olympic form to start training.

You train to get into olympic form.

If action is conditional on feelings, waiting for the right mood becomes a particularly insidious form of procrastination. I know that too well, and wish somebody pointed it out for me twenty, fifteen or ten years ago before I learned the difference the hard way.

If you wait until you feel like doing stuff, you’re royally screwed!

That’s precisely how the dreaded procrastinatory loops come about.


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