Motivation, motivation, motivation…
It’s a word that’s recklessly thrown around without too much thought.
“If we can unlock the secret of motivation, then we can thrive and receive the results we desire.”
I struggled to write that without rolling my eyes, the same way students roll their eyes when a teacher calls me a Motivational Speaker before my sessions are about to start.
In fairness, there was a time when I would refer to myself as a ‘Motivational Speaker.’ That was before I knew better.
Here’s what I know now:
“Motivation is for amateurs. Discipline is for professionals.”
Motivation itself is short-term and closely linked to our energy levels. Edward Deci summed it up best in his TEDx talk, when he defined motivation as:
“The energy for ACTION.”
Read that again.
Action is everything; and to take action doesn’t require skill, intelligence or knowledge. It certainly doesn’t take a significant boost of motivational energy every time you just need to get something done.
That’s why I rolled my eyes at the beginning of this blog; motivation is fickle. It doesn’t last. If we are waiting for motivation to appear, we will be waiting for a long time, only to find out that when it finally does arrive, it won’t be around for long.
So, what does it take?
It takes self-discipline.
“The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses.”
Or one of my favourite explanations and quotes on this topic:
“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” – Elbert Hubbard
Becoming self-disciplined can be extremely difficult, especially if we are trying to do a task we don’t enjoy, or we believe is a complete waste of our time. This is why we should aim to take small steps every day that will bring us closer to our goals.
At the start, those small steps will be difficult to take.
But guess what?
That is precisely where the self-discipline comes into play.
It’ll be tough and uncomfortable to begin with, you will probably hate it, but focus on progress over perfection.
The more you do something the easier it will become, and eventually this task or thing you hated to do will develop into a new habit. Second nature, just like cleaning your teeth in the morning and evening.
Unfortunately, most of us never push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. Therefore, we don’t actually learn what is possible and what we can actually achieve.
Okay, so you may be thinking:
“…Sounds great Cameron. I must become self-disciplined and learn to push through the discomfort to begin with… but what is the first step?”
This is something I support thousands of teenagers with in the programs we run. The first step is simple; we need a plan. Something that provides us with direction and something we can focus on.
Repeat after me:
“You can’t be disciplined if you don’t have a plan”
Find or create your dreams and goals, then break them down into small achievable steps. Now you will have a plan, and something to work towards every day. Remember, following the plan will be difficult to begin with, but fight through the resistance and you will come out the other end feeling proud that you did.
We can talk about motivation all day long. You can have all the motivation in the world, wake up every day ready to take over. BUT… if you don’t have a plan you will only be a motivated idiot.
Apologies if that offended you, but I believe in honesty, and I want the absolute best for you because I genuinely care.
Motivation can only get you so far.
Self-discipline is what will get you results.
Cameron Parker is the leader of the younger generation: world-class youth coach and speaker. Cameron has spoken on stages both big and small across the UK and Europe educating and inspiring thousands of young people to level up their lives and upgrade their mindsets.