Discipline is better than motivation? Motivation is overrated

How do you become disciplined over motivation?

People who give results and perform the best hardly need any motivation. They’re just more disciplined than the rest.

They’ll use available guides, tools and tricks but they’ll always prioritize getting the work done over any form of external motivation.

Start don’t overthink: Overthinking causes paralysis in action

For you to get any work done – you have to get started. You don’t want to move in circles and eventually be paralyzed in your thoughts while thinking and only seeking motivation.

Why discipline is more important than motivation?

They both have their pros and cons.  The former difficult but under your control while the latter is powerful but unreliable. You must be in control and disciplined if you want to be unstoppable.

1. Motivation is not sustainable.

Motivation is a feeling that comes and goes. But when you train your discipline, you unlock the ability to achieve anything. If you have to choose discipline over motivation – choose discipline.

Motivation is fleeting

Whenever you feel motivated to do something e.g. write every day, exercise or read a book. You notice you’d start off strong and do well within the first days or weeks if you’re lucky.

A month later, your motivation to do these activities burn out and you start falling off the wagon

Now let’s be honest, we all have been there in some stage of our lives.

One of the ways that’ll help you overcome this is:

Training your mindset to be disciplined.

This can involve:

  • Setting the right priorities
  • learning new skillsets
  • creating new positive habits
  • decluttering unnecessary objects in your life
  • making your Environment work for you.

Motivation comes and goes. Train your disciplines and you’ll continue to grow. Key reason why discipline is more important than motivation. 

For a more detailed perspective of mastering your discipline, check out this twitter thread from Ross :

2. Discipline can get you started no matter how difficult it seems

Starting out qualifications for doing big things used to be having large capital, license or certifications. While they could still make a difference in some careers like medicine or law, discipline is all you need these days to get started to achieve anything.

You can wait around for motivation to magically appear or you can just start.

3. Discipline is about the process, not the outcome

With discipline, you put more emphasis on the process not the outcome.
When you get your process right, the outcomes naturally fall into place. Even when shit hits the fan, the lessons you learn stay with you. Discipline is something you do, and choose to do.

4. Discipline helps you stay focused.

It takes self-discipline to stay focused. The more laser focused you are, the higher your chances of success.
Discipline will take you places motivation can’t.

5. Discipline Over Motivation: The Consistency Catalyst

You’ll never reach your goals by merely wanting it badly. Put in the work even on the days when you’re just not feeling it. That’s where discipline beats motivation hands down.

“Discipline over motivation” is the unwavering force that keeps you moving forward, day in and day out. To achieve your goals, you don’t need more motivation, you need to decide to be consistent.

Whether it’s pursuing a healthier lifestyle, mastering a new skill, or building a successful career, consistency is the key, and discipline is your compass.

Why you need to be consistent? 

Whatever you do and you notice your consistence going down…it’s already a red flag to your progress.

Consistence is not a one-size thing …choose a pace that you know is sustainable and can achieve results and decide to follow through.

Same thing applies to blogging. If you decide to publish on a three-times-a-week schedule, you need to keep that same schedule.

Build structure to optimize for Consistence

To build almost anything, you don’t want to depend on random motivation but pick a schedule you can follow through and adjust if necessary

6. Discipline makes you committed

Through discipline you make rituals and habits that keep you committed. You need a stronger will and a deeper commitment to see things through. This is something you can’t achieve with motivation.

Richard Branson thought of a way to get feedback from customers and improve his company. He resorted to listening to them casually, writing observations and implementing:

The discipline of writing everything down ensures that I have to listen to people carefully. – Richard Branson (Losing my Virginity)

7. Discipline is the best way to show up daily and not quit

What if you wanted to learn a new language in a foreign country?

All the locals smile and try to help you get started …throw in a few fillers to help you stay motivated.

But if you choose to quit having interest on one particular day before you get hold of the language.

What happens? You start forgetting almost everything you had learnt. Almost all your progress starts to decline back to zero.

There’s no need to pretend as if we have it all together. ⁣
We’re all humans after all – struggling with human with emotions such as fear, insecurity, discipline, consistency, doubt… etc. ⁣⁣

As long as we show up every day with the goal of improving in our own abilities, we’re doing enough. We create our mental discipline and choose to be winners, not quitters, in those moments of inner strife.

8. Discipline equals Freedom

To stop relying on motivations you got to discipline your emotions.
Let’s say you want to start eating healthier – then you need to discipline yourself to say no to unhealthy foods. To choose foods not only based on taste e.g. sweetness but rather what is nourishing and healthy.

To wake up early in the morning without alarms – go to bed early. Discipline yourself to take out phones and appliances that stimulate you prior to bedtime.

Discipline equal freedom – Jocko Willink

9. Discipline is the key to eliminating limiting beliefs

To eliminate limiting beliefs and put in the work, motivation can be helpful but discipline is what is needed. The key to eliminate limiting beliefs through discipline is to focus on your why, not the how.

It’s time to stop dipping you toes in the water & instead taking massive action through deep dives of discomfort despite your fear of failure to regain confidence & turn your dreams into reality.

10. Discipline gets results better than motivation

Nothing kills motivation faster than not seeing any results. But it’s with discipline that you keep going until you get your desired results.

Don’t complain about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t put in. It’s the discipline that yields results.

“There’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho.

Discipline is better than motivation

It is easy to find all the “gurus” motivate you to achieve your goals but hard for anybody to focus on discipline because nobody can do the discipline for you.

I studied one of the most voluminous course in College; most times what was required to pass was simply dissecting and mastering the lesson notes, find external ideas to complement it but you couldn’t skip mastering the fundamentals.

On several attempts, I was tempted to follow the motivation route, instead of first mastering the fundamentals which were laid down for me on my notes.

I thought of watching some “interesting” videos on youtube to help me understand the material.

Mastering the fundamentals is better than motivation

But 9/10, most of them weren’t necessary. Disciplining your mind to master the fundamental before seeking for additional “interesting” videos to help you understand better was all that was needed.

Yes there could be really good videos available that has the fundamentals, but unless you laid your hands on them on time, or it was recommended by your lecturer, the syllables or a smarter friend you would find a hard time sieving through those videos.

And with the short time you had to deliver results in tests and exams; people who performed the best were those that actually placed those videos secondary or sometimes unnecessary.

How to train your Discipline? 

Unlike motivation which does not last and needs refuel, discipline is like a muscle that can be trained. The more you train this muscle, the stronger it gets.

Form the Right habits to be disciplined

The most successful individuals understand the power of habits. “Discipline over motivation” enables you to build and maintain habits that support your objectives.

Habits compound and this is what you should take to your advantage rather than allowing it keep you enslaved. Else we get enslaved by our habits.

Whether it’s waking up early, hitting the gym regularly, or consistently working on your craft, discipline turns these actions into second nature, making them a part of who you are and ensuring your progress is sustainable.

When you get to a point where most of the things you do are automatic then you know your habits are in full play. At this point, motivation has little or no role to keep you going. So stop seeking random motivation and start forming good habits. 

What Hinders People from Prioritizing Discipline Over Seeking Motivation?

  • Perfection

People look for perfection to hide from taking the shot.

The most successful people are very ambitious, yet very pragmatic.

Think progress, not perfection.

Perfection is an illusion.

  • Fear of failure

Its easy to talk, criticise & postpone.

But doing is harder, because most people know it’ll take their time, energy, money, risking both failure and judgment.

Most people hesitate because they’re afraid of all these.

  • Bad habits

The brain is plastic. The little habits all adds up. Habits easily becomes lifestyle.

Choose habits that empower you as positive reinforced habits end up transforming your life.

Keep in mind, if your daily actions are not taking you closer to your goals, then they are taking you away from your goals.

Gotta keep your priorities straight.  Don’t allow bad habits and lack of discipline get the best of you.

For example, most people want to lose weight, few want to give up poor nutrition habits or embrace daily physical activity

What they don’t realize is Weight loss is not the goal. Becoming a better you is.

Create a vision of what you want your body to look like and act accordingly; your beliefs, habits, and lifestyle.

  • Not prioritizing discipline and consistence

Everything in life is possible. It’s a question of strategy and discipline

“With self-discipline almost anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Purpose – answers your why, goals help you move forward and habits keep you consistent.

Steven Pressfield in the War of Art, hit the nail in the head when he said motivation & inspiration are misunderstood:

You don’t wait for them to just strike you. You keep working at anything with discipline and consistency and they are GUARANTEED to strike you.

Think about this – nobody always enjoys training, cooking, working for long hours, doing menial tasks, but you do it anyway. And therein lies the reward. Discipline equals freedom.

Motivation has its place

Only use motivation for what it is – motivation. Realise that what would keep you going is discipline, consistence and forming the right habits.

Sometimes, without the spark of motivation there can be no discipline.

You need motivation to get the momentum going and you need discipline to keep going long-term without additional effort.

When you see others far ahead of you, use it as a form of motivation and get inspired; then go back and work on yourself so you can do the same.

They key is Self-awareness and being genuinely happy for others. That’s a mindset shift.


You don’t need 4-6 hours of motivation daily to achieve your goals. Rather spend more time improving your skillset, forming better habits and staying disciplined.

Prioritize learning, build solid habits, refine your skillset and you can stand out in no time.

No matter how disciplined you are at first, if you don’t remain consistent – you fail.



1 thought on “Discipline is better than motivation? Motivation is overrated”

  1. Ah, you put these important thoughts into just the right words! I am always emphasizing the importance of self-discipline over motivation, so I just loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

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