The Myth of Disipline

When I think of discipline, I think of high school sports – more specifically, high school coaches.

“You need more discipline boy,” snarls the overweight, sedentary coach. It’s the only way we’ll win, and it’s the only way you’ll succeed at anything in life.”

Poor presentation aside, I used to believe in the power of discipline. When I failed at something, I blamed it on a lack of discipline.

I was completely wrong.

The Truth About Discipline

Discipline is a myth.

The myth propagated through exceptional people. We look at people who’ve accomplished incredible things and think “How did he do that? There’s no way I could do that. That person must be special; that person must have discipline.”

That thinking is ludicrous and completely wrong. Discipline isn’t real; it’s an excuse used to justify mediocrity.

The reason people succeed (excluding ability) is motivation. He or she is more motivated than you, not more disciplined.

Consider the Olympic runner. He or she is considered extremely disciplined – after all, they run mile after mile day after day. People think that’s incredible; how could anyone do that?

So they come up with an answer:  discipline – when it’s really due to motivation. Olympic runners are motivated by their passion for running and for excellence in general. They  are motivated by fans, friends, family members, and coaches. They are motivated by their ability and superiority in running.

They don’t succeed because they are born with or develop discipline. They succeed because they are motivated.

To think that they possess discipline is a drastic oversimplification and ultimately an excuse for mediocrity. It allows people to pretend that successful people possess some supernatural power.

People believe everyone can’t develop discipline. They believe some people have it and others don’t. So it gives them an excuse not to succeed.

But motivation provides no excuse. Anyone can become motivated and anyone can succeed.


Discipline was an excuse for the weak, but unfortunately the myth has spread. It’s so ingrained in our society, it limits even incredible people.

But now you know the truth, so you can stop limiting yourself. You can stop using discipline as a poor excuse to avoid doing great things.

It’s time to get motivated.

Motivation Instead of Discipline

To motivate yourself you need to do something worthwhile.

Look at potential changes and analyze the benefits. The better the benefits, the more you can motivate yourself.

Make a list of the benefits of your new habit. Put it somewhere you can look at it everyday.

Sometimes, things will get tough, but if the benefits are worth it (and you keep reminding yourself they are) you will keep going.

Use friends too. Tell them you’re doing something and ask them to help motivate you. Make them hold you accountable and congratulate you on your successes.

Find inner motivation and use its incredible power. Tell yourself you won’t be a quitter and that you are strong.

Now, go do something awesome and  leave discipline behind.

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