Discipline over motivation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 19, 2019

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Submitted: February 19, 2019

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When people talk about working or studying, more often than not the consept of motivaton comes up. What drives you to do the same job every day? Why do you get out of bed and go listen to a boring teacher each morning? When you want to achieve something, you usually need motivation to get you going. 

Motivation can be roughly divided into extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside. It can be in the form of a reward or a punishment, or something else. The main point is, it's an outer encouragement for you to achieve your goal. Intrinsic motivation is a little different. It comes from the inside, from your own curiosity and drive to get things done. It will most likely last longer than extrinsic motivation. For example, your parents can motivate you to study by giving you rewards for good grades, but that motivation will run out. Or your parents might run out of money, whichever happens first. However, if you're actually interested in the subject, you will find the motivation for studying just because you like it. That kind of motivation will last longer.

Eventully, inner motivation runs out too, at least partially. You can love your job or whatever it is that you do, but you will have bad days when you don't feel like doing anything besides watching Netflix. That's okay. Motivation runs out. A good example is working out, especially since it's still February and many people promise they will exercise more this new year. You're hyped up to get in shape and start a new healthy life in January. You buy a gym card or whatever and then you stop. Maybe you don't see results as fast as you'd like. Maybe you don't want to spend the time to do something when you could sleep a little longer or hang out with friends instead. That's also okay, because we're humans. Everyone loses motivation, no matter how energetic and motivated they might look at times.

That's when discipline steps in. You're demotivated, but you still force yourself to get up and go do what you're supposed to do, be it working out, studying or whatever. You have goals and they require work to be achieved. When that work seems useless, discipline will give you the energy to get there. You shouldn't rely on motivation, especially if that motivation comes from other people or random quotes on your gym wall. That won't work. You have to be independent enough to rely on your own motivation, and also strong enough to keep going when you want to give up. 

That isn't to say motivation isn't good. It's amazing. More often than not, motivation is what gets you going. It's the reason you start things. And even if you lose motivation, you can always find it again. It can be different, though. Let's take the working out example. Maybe take a few days to relax and look up different ways to exercise. Instead of going to the gym, go swimming or play tennis. Same goes for studying. If you feel like you're not going to learn anything by reading anymore, try watching a documentary or listening to a podcast about the topic. Try different methods to gain that motivation back. In the meantime, replace it with discipline until you find the drive again.


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