The Zen Mind: To Succeed, Use Motivation Not Discipline

The Zen Mind To Succeed Use Motivation Not Discipline

If you feel confused about how to motivate yourself, it is possible that like most folks, the lines of discipline and motivation are blurred to you. I would like to discuss about why being motivated is more likely to make you self-contented while being disciplined can only bring about short-term happiness.

What is discipline?

This is more about what you ought to do. It invariably involves self-control or restraint. Our primal instincts are often not in conformity with the society’s norms. However, we have learned to control our instincts. So basically what is discipline? This is essentially an acquired behavior. We acquire this at school, college, office, and often at home.

What is motivation?

Motivation is more about why you want to do something. It is not about marshalling your mind to follow a routine. It is not about trying to acquire things that the society accepts as signs of being successful. Motivation is a very personal feeling. It is borne out of an inherent desire to do something. It can help you achieve the most comprehensive form of personal gratification. Yes, there can be external influences that inspire your motivation.

Understand the difference

This is best explained with an example. Consider this scenario—you get up early in the morning because you have to catch the early train to work. Here, waking up early is not an option. The only option you have is to either catch the train or take a leave of absence. However, you are likely to wake up feeling grumpy and complain about your daily schedule. This is because you are forcing yourself into doing an activity. On the other hand, if you want to wake up early to exercise and look good, you are doing it because of motivation. You like the feeling of accomplishment that is derived from your daily sets of 150 pushups. Your motivation to exercise sculpts your shoulders which makes you feel good, delivering a very unadulterated type of delight.

Discipline can be a useful tool. However, its ability to deliver results in the long term is suspicious. It is often borne from not having a choice. Please try to understand that the principle here is not punishment. It is a common mistake to assume that disciplining always involves reprimand of some sort. Sometimes, the mere presence of an authoritative figure is sufficient. A respected person with well-known credentials, like a teacher or a CEO, can induce a subtle sense of fear. This makes people around them to tread with caution. It is common to find students being self-disciplined in this manner. By being disciplined, you can push yourself towards being better at your job. However, you will cherish your work only if you feel motivated about your career choice and like your workplace.

How to motivate yourself?

Zen Mind recommends the following to sustain your motivation levels:

1. Map Your Journey

It is possible that the path to your goal is a long one. This can take a toll on your enthusiasm. Try to setup smaller, more doable goals that are a part of the bigger journey. Easy goals that you achieve every day or week give you a reason to feel good about yourself.

2. Stay Connected with Your Cause

Keep reminding yourself of your goal. It can be scribbled on the desktop or saved on your handheld device. You can even buy personalized items that carry famous motivational quotes. The idea is to create an environment where you remain connected with your cause. This can also be in the form of weekly automatic reminders fed to your mobile phone. You can even share your passion with your parents and friends. There is a good chance that they will remind you every time you deviate from your path.

3. Applaud Your Accomplishments, No Matter How Small

Take a moment to take stock of the situation. If you find yourself following the path you had planned, it is time to pamper yourself. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself every time you defeat self-doubt. Treat yourself with anything from a big slice of pizza to some shopping.