Discipline vs. Motivation: Which is better? How Much of Each Do You Need?
Despite the differences in opinion about the most needed between discipline and motivation, getting things done requires at least one of them. Some athletes and war heroes would tell you that discipline is preferred over motivation. However, some entrepreneurs would confidently tell you that motivation was the energy needed during their down times, not discipline.
We’ve all had those days when we know we have to do something, but we were just not “feeling it”. There will be times in your life when what you love doing – occupation or a hobby, just doesn’t seem magical anymore. After all, we like to do more of what makes us feel good and less of what makes us feel the other way. During such times when you are demotivated, you would think “I need motivation” would bring motivation and all will be well. But it is not always that easy.
Motivation can lead you to think (oftentimes too much) about a problem without being real with yourself and the situation. This is where arguably, motivation can work against you. How many times have you got stuck in a pickle? You know the solution, and you just think your way out of that solution, only to realize your mistake later on when it’s too late. While motivation can help a person move mountains, it sometimes take a lifetime to develop and improve upon. Motivation is what’s needed to get up-and-running while discipline is needed to stay on the right course.
If you want to get anything done, what you need is discipline. Discipline is far better than motivation. The latter focuses on the assumption that for you to complete a certain task, it is necessary for you to be in a particular state of mind. A state of happiness where you enjoy every process of what needs to be done. However, having discipline enables one to separate the hardship involved in a process and need for the process to done. This ultimately gives one the only option which is to take actions. This enables a person to maintain positivity by dodging the “glass-half-empty” mindset. It takes discipline to conquer the fear of failure, prepare, and take actions towards the goals one planned to achieve.
Let us go back to where we began, an athlete like LeBron James who is presently one of the greatest basketball player, watched Michael Jordan played basketball. He learned from afar and broke out of his hometown. Jordan who is one of the greatest among the players who ever played professionally inspired millions of people to dare to be great and even greater than him. Without any doubt, James was among the millions inspired and transpired to be a great athlete because he didn’t only watch Jordan but disciplined himself. He ‘put in the work’ – early morning workouts, practices, eating right etc., faced rejections, skipped college and consistently increase his stats. There are thousands of inspired players who never made it pass college basketball because of the absence of disciplines. Some kids went as far as getting Jordan’s collection wears but never made it to tryouts because they don’t have the grit.
On the other side, entrepreneurs who believe that motivation is paramount often times forget the hours they stayed behind at work, stayed up late after bed time to work on their projects. The times they have to choose honesty and authenticity over cutting-corners. Discipline gives you a lot more tools that motivation cannot give you.
"Motivation gets you going and discipline keeps you growing" - John C. Maxwell
In other words, with the right discipline, one is able to consistently work on small projects or on daily tasks, until success is achieved. Here’s the kicker, the successful completion of a task brings about a positive effect on one’s inner state, leading them to further pursue the task or take on more tasks. Long story short, you don’t wait to become a bodybuilder, and then go to the gym. You hit the gym regularly. Likewise, the consistency and discipline employed on any given task would ultimately lead you to success.