Discipline Beats Motivation. Every Time.

Motivate yourself all you want, but if you don’t have the discipline to do things, you’ll never get where you want to be.

Discipline Beats Motivation. I think I came across that saying on one of my friend’s Facebook posts some time last year. I don’t know who the quote originally came from (certainly not me) but it really struck a chord within me. 

There is a lot of self-help material organised around this concept of self-motivation and the actions that one needs to take to become motivated. These can range from the sensible (like being grateful, setting goals and staying positive) to the questionable (like taking drugs, sniffing essential oils and ‘rewarding’ yourself with junk food). But the problem with motivation is that it is often fleeting and can disappear very quickly once the going gets tough.

I tend to see motivation as a quick fix. A sugar and caffeine loaded energy drink for the human soul. Sure, it gets you up and going – but it doesn’t sustain you. And just like energy drinks, taking too much of it makes you reliant on it, and is bad for your (mental) health.

Motivation will help you set your goals and give you direction but ultimately it is discipline that will get you there. Discipline is, to quote my English teacher from primary school ‘The act of doing something you don’t like because you know it is good for you,’ and I would add to the end of that sentence ‘…consistently,’. Discipline is the hard medicine we have to swallow in order to get to where we want to be.

Motivation tells me to become healthier and fitter. Discipline tells me to run 60 minutes every week and watch my sugar/junk food intake.

Motivation tells me to sort out my finances and visualise my retirement. Discipline tells me to put in up to 10 hours of work everyday and keep on networking for opportunities.

Motivation tells me to help others with accounting and finance, so that they can become financially literate. Discipline tells me to put out content at least once a week (with drawings) and engage with people on the right forums regularly.

It is good to be motivated – but if you don’t have the discipline to back it up, it’s worth nothing.


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