I have always struggled with discipline and willpower. However I believe these are myths and they don’t exist. I believe that when see people applying either of these we are just seeing the results of goals and passion. Not a mental resolve that can’t be matched by mere mortals.
From an external point of view we look at someone working, at something, we wouldn’t be keen on doing and say wow, they must have a lot of discipline or willpower to stay late and do that, because it would take us a lot of energy, discipline and willpower to do such a thing.
What I have come to realise is that discipline and will power are the result of passion. When you have goals that you are passionate about, everything falls into place and you know what you have to do, to get to what you want and you generally enjoy the process. You can work late and still have energy to burn, because it’s fun, because you’re working for yourself.
When you don’t have goals you do the bare minimum in your job, because it would be stupid not to. Why would you expend more energy on something you don’t like? It would be crazy.
I’m sure you’re probably still arguing with me in your head and saying that I force myself to go to work every day, I don’t want to go but I have to. Your right it takes a lot of effort to do that and I have felt that feeling myself (too often). But even this is driven by a desire (of sorts).
There are two drivers in life pleasure and pain. We are either moving towards pleasure or away from pain. So when we force ourselves to go to a job we don’t like, we actually desire not to feel the pain of having no money and living on the streets. So this helps us have the discipline to go to work.
Imagine when you have had goals or something to strive for, that you really wanted, was it easy to get up early and stay up late for it, did it occupy your mind all day? You may have even picked up on the feeling of the above statement, because it’s the exact feeling you had before Christmas day. You’re so excited you jump out of bed at 3 in the morning and stay up playing all day. It took no discipline or willpower to do that, you just did it because it was fun.
How i came to this conclusion, is that over the past year I have been working tirelessly on figuring out what am I going to do with my life. I’ve been fortunate to be living at home with my parents and that has allowed me to focus on what I really want to do. I have also been very fortunate that I’ve had a life that was full of passion and to know that it is possible to live that way. I have also been fortunate to know, the life of having to do a job that I can’t stand. So I had a clear picture of what I didn’t want and what I did.
I’ve moved past that life of passion I once had and now I’ve been working on my new direction. But this wasn’t easy and I’m still not 100% clear on it. But it has something to do with this blog.
This is how; this willpower discipline concept came together. I failed everything in school I hated it and barely participated in it. I never did homework and dodged school as much as possible. You could not get me to do the work even if you paid me. As you can imagine I was terrible at English and writing, so much so I had to go back and learn it all over again.
Whereas now years and years later through working through a lot of personal shit I find that I can write 1000 word posts about all this stuff no problem. It is easy, it is fun and it takes no discipline. It’s because I want to do it.
So if you ever find that anything is taking a lot of discipline or willpower to do, it’s actually telling you that you don’t like what you are doing and that you don’t have a goal. You are not in charge of your life. Discipline and will power are just the result of your have to’s in life and not your want to’s
To grow your discipline and willpower, grow your wants and self belief then discipline and willpower will follow.