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Why I cherry-picked discipline over motivation!

By Tendai Nyangari
Why I cherry-picked discipline over motivation! picture


“Only the disciplined are truly free.  The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites, and passions.”  — Stephen Covey

I like to think of discipline as “what to do” and motivation as “why to do. “Motivation is the why behind the goal.  It’s your modest engine that says you can, when the rest of you says you can’t. Motivation starts the engine conversely disciplines is the one that commands the direction. When you have the two, you get to have spot-on mindset that will unquestionably take you to greater heights. When you possess self-discipline, you can control your feelings, impulses and behaviour. You do not easily give in to pleasure or immediate gratifications that will compromise long term success.

When you are disciplined, you can make precise decisions and actions. It takes discipline to conquer the distressing voices in our minds: the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of poverty, the fear of a broken heart. It takes discipline to keep trying when that nagging voice within us brings up the possibility of failure. “Consider an analogy, think of your goal as a physical destination and you want to reach there by a car. Turning on the ignition is motivation and the fuel in that car is the self-discipline. Turning the ignition on and off inconsistently is not going to get you to your destination. Once you start the car, it is the fuel that will get you through all the ups, downs, turns and even the traffic during the journey………common obstacles faced by entrepreneurs.

As an entrepreneur, you aim to  solve people’s problems. Even though you are doing something that you love, the process gets repetitive and boring. Not getting a return on investment, even after continued efforts is one scenario. This is where patience kicks in. Self-Discipline instils that patience in you. Self-Discipline gives you the Commitment, Consistency and Patience that will take your business from just a name to a brand you want it to be.

On the other hand, the idea of motivation is highly overrated. It is inconsistent and driven by feelings which cause you to make spontaneous decisions that are inconsistent because feelings change everyday. Motivation will last for a day or two but self-discipline will make you work for your goal when you don’t want to. Motivation is like a fire that burns within you, but with fire, it needs to be continually fed. If you want to do more, be more, and you are counting on motivation, then you need to feed it even more, to keep going back to those motivational gurus on Youtube to fill yourself up from their enthusiasm and then grind away until you need another top-up from YouTube. Whereas I believe that self-discipline is not as fiery as motivation, because fire needs an external supply, but rather, self-discipline is cold because it doesn't need a supply of anything from anywhere, it just is. It is cold and relentless, it doesn't care if it doesn't feel like it or wants to quit, it will keep going because feelings have no say in the matter. With discipline you follow your plan, not your mood.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but guess what? Rome didn't fall apart overnight either. It takes small steps to achieve success, but it also takes small steps to fail...you sleep-in just one time, then the next week you sleep-in twice, then you start justifying it, next thing you know you are sleeping-in most days and you start wondering: 'How did I get here!?'You have one piece of chocolate a week, then two pieces, then three; before you know it you are eating chocolate on a daily basis, sometimes two pieces per day! Then you get on the scales...

Do you see how it builds up? How neglecting the small things can build up into big things? You need to stay vigilant, forever disciplined to keep yourself from straying off the path. You need to keep holding the line against weakness.

  • Don't see results? Keep going!
  • Don't feel like you are improving? Feelings can be deceitful, keep going!
  • Don't feel like studying? Study!
  • Don’t feel like exercising? Just do it!

For you to succeed in any path or endeavour you wish to take, you need self-discipline. Motivation is an emotion which can fade whereas discipline is an action which perseveres. Motivation starts the project, but discipline finishes it.No matter how hardworking and motivated you are, without discipline, you will never be able to realize your goals and achieve success. It is one crucial attribute that you need in order to be the best in anything that you do and to have the right attitude and mind-set to realize your goals.



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