18 September 2017
Stop seeking motivation
It's fickle. And I can prove it.
We all know the drill: we hear a rousing speech, watch a spine-tingling video, read a hero’s journey story, and all of a sudden we’re full of beans. We’re going to take on the world, leave our mark. Create a legacy. We’re going to right all the wrongs, build our dreams, and inspire humanity with our art.
And it’s such an incredible feeling! Until thirty minutes later when someone pulls out in front of us in traffic and we scream at the tops of our voices all the bad things we want to happen to that person. Or we spill coffee down our clean shirt and curse our lives ("I can’t even keep my fucking coffee in my mouth, how am I going to save the world?”) Or we get a little bit hungry. Or a tad tired.
Instead, we need to develop discipline.
I made this joyous discovery after reading Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. I was struck by how the vast majority of the people documented in the book approached their art as professionals. Day-in, day-out they went to work whether they wanted to or not, the same way you or I go to work on a construction site, the office or at home all day with the kids.
Discipline laughs in the face of motivation. You simply get on with it. No excuses. No ifs or buts.
Do you think I have the motivation to write this blog every single day after ten hours of manual labour? Hell no. Oftentimes it's the absolute last thing I want to do (usually is the last thing I do as you can probably tell by the quality of some posts).
What gets me through is discipline. I sit down and write. Day-in, day-out. Whether I have something to say or not. Whether I’m feeling sprightly or hungover. Whether I have the time or not. Whether I’m full of energy or trying my damnedest to stay awake.
Discipline has allowed me to be the most productive I’ve ever been, to make some progress down the path that I’ve chosen, the path I’ve dreamed and speculated about for so long.
Discipline is freedom. (h/t Jocko Willink)