How Discipline is Better Than Motivation
This post is about how discipline is better than motivation.
I will give 5 important reasons why you should prioritize self-discipline over motivation in your life.
Let us first define both terms aka self-discipline and motivation.
Self-Discipline – the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses.
Motivation – a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.
When we consume motivational content on the web or through books, we are constantly looking for that one defining statement or philosophy that will change our lives for the better.
It is why people spend a fortune attending seminars
It is why people have mentors.
It is why people form mastermind groups.
It is why people often say affirmations every day.
It is why the motivation industry is one of the fastest growing on the planet.
When times are difficult, I can’t help but overindulge like a Netflix show a whole weeks’ worth of motivational content.
There is nothing wrong with this, but there is a fundamental problem.
Motivation is temporary.
Yes, it may seem controversial what I am telling you, but it really is the truth.
Say for example we have the motivation to start a blog.
When we are motivated to do something, especially something new we have a huge burst of energy to get going straight away.
We tell our friends and family how excited we are, and we consume as much content and read as much about it as we can.
But slowly and surely over time, when the excitement fades, and it is just you alone with that blog, and it is down to you to do the work, and it is not easy etc, that is when the motivation has gone.
You realize it is just like anything else in life, it requires the work.
It requires the dedication to design the blog, maintain it, write it, and market it and rank it on google to get visitors.
That is HARD!
So, what do you do when the motivation inevitably fades or worse, we work ourselves so hard that we experience burn out and exhaustion?
We instil discipline, because discipline is not only better but far more important than just being motivated.
Here are 5 reasons why self-discipline is better than motivation:
#1 – Discipline Creates a Habit
Discipline creates a habit, where as motivation only inspires you to have one.
What is a habit – “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
As a former gambling addict myself I am very familiar with the notion of habits, but through discipline I became clean, and remained that way.
I always wanted to get rid of my horrible addiction that burdened me for almost 20 years, however the motivation to do so was not enough.
Having will power when you want to do something is not enough when you want to become disciplined and make a change.
I would consume hours of motivational content and be inspired for a short period of time, only to return to the slots, back to the casino, back to the addiction.
When a smoker gives up smoking, they are fighting their will power to never pick up another cigarette again.
But that is why most smokers find it exceptionally hard to quit.
I am not bashing motivation here, but simply explaining why and HOW discipline is better.
When nothing was working, I researched all over the web a way to finally become clean of my dreadful gambling addiction.
And I came across a book “The Easy Way to Stop Gambling,” by Allen Carr, a self-help author who also wrote “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.”
Mr Carr insists that willpower is not the way to stop a negative habit but having the discipline to be able to learn and take in information as to WHY you are an addict is better.
He stresses to educate yourself “why,” and see what your triggers are.
Sure, enough by the time I put the book down I had no desire to ever gamble again.
Because I was disciplined to listen to his advice, to be open-minded and to remember that when I am triggered to gamble to channel that energy into something else.
Quitting gambling has made my life so much happier.
I have saved more money.
I have invested more money.
I no longer have the guilt and shame.
I am wiser and manage money better.
I am a better person overall too.
In summary being discipline will create habits to improve your life, whereas motivation is just the trigger to start it that eventually fades.
#2 – Develops Attitude
Discipline will create a better attitude for your life, whereas motivation will only change your attitude temporarily.
Let me use my example of quitting gambling again.
When I was a gambler, I was always very private about my addiction, which is dangerous because I was suffering in silence.
However, those closest to me noticed my behaviour:
I was irritable
I was angry
I was moody
I was judgemental
I was negative
I was a liar
My overall attitude absolutely stank.
I had the attitude of a degenerate gambler, not the one of a successful happy person, which is what I always strived towards.
When I was motivated, I would only temporarily have a burst of energy to be a positive person, but all of that would die instantly when I would return to the casino etc.
Whereas when I applied the discipline to never gamble again, and channel that energy into positive habits such as saving money, being charitable and investing in things I could hold in my hand like books, vintage toys etc, my attitude changed.
I was a calmer man
I was more grateful
I was happier
I was less judgemental
I was more positive
I aimed to live a more virtuous life
Discipline not only develops a better attitude it can also build your character.
When I used to go to bed at night full of dread, guilt, and shame for the money I had lost in the casino, it was a tough night sleep.
Whereas going to bed knowing I did not gamble, I didn’t lie, I didn’t do anything to harm me or those around me was a huge sense of relief.
I never stole from anybody and never will, but in a way, I did, because I was not being the man I was making myself out to be.
Having a good mental attitude is the foundation of some of the wealthiest and most successful people throughout history.
#3 – Discipline Increases Confidence
Discipline increases confidence for the long term, whereas motivation only does so for the short term.
On top of creating good healthy habits and a better positive attitude, having discipline will dramatically increase your self-image.
When I was a gambler, my self-image was terrible.
I was disgusted with myself, as I did not like being a gambler.
Sadly, most drug addicts and alcoholics feel like this too.
Think about it who wants to be an addict?
Nobody, it just sadly happens unfortunately.
And how do you think their confidence is?
But instead of being motivated for a short period and applying the discipline to overcome adversity and reach your goals, you will start feeling so much better about yourself.
Here is how discipline increased my confidence because of what I achieved:
I wrote two books
I started a YouTube Channel
I started a Blog
I worked for myself
I earnt my own money
I read more books
I coached people around the world
I inspired people
I quit gambling and remained clean
I left a narcissistic relationship
I am not writing these to brag, but to show you how being disciplined got me to do some incredibly challenging but rewarding things in life.
And it is that what makes you more confidence.
I was told I would never amount to anything.
I was told I will never achieve anything good.
I was told I was ugly, etc.
But when I look back at the discipline, I displayed to reach my goals and do things others say I could never do, my life changed for the better.
And having the confidence in yourself will only lead to a more rewarding life, because you will live with far less regrets and surprise yourself at what you will accomplish.
In summary, discipline will dramatically increase your confidence.
#4 – Discipline Completes Targets
When I was inspired to write my first novel back in the summer of 2016, I knew I was met with an incredibly daunting task ahead of me.
FYI – the first time you try anything new is always challenging, but it is about doing it and getting it done to realize you can handle anything you set your mind to.
I was thoroughly inspired and motivated, in fact I had this idea in my head for over ten years and when I was on vacation I thought to myself, “when I get home I am going to write this book!”
And sure enough when I did come home I spent months writing.
But then I hit a wall, I could not do it anymore.
I was exhausted, out of ideas and realized that I absolutely hated writing and hated my book idea too.
Aka, I had lost the motivation to keep writing, I was barely halfway through it.
It was early 2017 and all I had were several pages that were a complete mess.
I lay down on the sofa eating Doritos when all of a sudden I thought to myself “if I just write one page a day, for one year I can have 365 pages…that is all I need to do.”
It seemed like a realistic goal, one page a day after work, what is the harm in that?
And sure enough I did exactly that, but I was so into the habit of writing that I was writing almost 10 pages a day.
The habit had been formed and slowly but surely, I had finished the book!
Then I had to do the editing, design the cover, proofread etc.
I applied the same discipline and said, “no matter what it takes, I will publish my book in 2017 if it kills me.”
Sure enough I am proud to say I completed that target, and to say I am a published author on Amazon of my first novel “The Coyote.”
Coincidentally it is a motivational novel!
Discipline gets things done.
Discipline gets you sober.
Discipline gets you healthier.
Discipline gets you opportunities.
Discipline makes you successful.
Discipline makes you fitter.
Discipline makes you wealthy.
Discipline makes you a better person overall.
Motivation will only get you started, but discipline will 100% get you over that finish line, regardless off what you want to achieve.
#5 – Discipline Creates a Better Life
Motivation will create a better day, week, or month, but having the discipline you need to reach your targets and improve will give you a better life.
Here are some ways being disciplined will create a better life for you:
You accomplish goals
You lose weight
You build muscle
You become healthier
You become richer
You attract better people
You become clean and sober
You attract more career opportunities
You build your own business
You save more money
You invest more money
You have more good memories
You have more rewarding experiences
You increase your pride
You increase your awareness
You increase your confidence
I am sure I have left some stuff out there, but I can almost guarantee that if you prioritize discipline over motivation you will have an amazing life.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”