Discipline or Motivation
Discipline or Motivation
I love inspirational movies. I even recommend some titles to my participants in my Level Up Leadership. And even suggest that as a follow through, team leads could hold popcorn afternoons or evenings; watch a movie and then process the lessons together and tie them down to the lessons they learned during the 2-day workshop seminar.
"In Hollywood, the home team wins the game thanks to the coach's inspirational speech, the players get so motivated. And in the battlefield, the general gives a heart moving speech laced with a few cuss and curse words. The soldiers get so fired up and the troops hold the line thanks general's heroic sermon,"
Awesome! But guess what? That’s Hollywood. And Hollywood is not reality. Because the same retired Top Gun pilot David Burke says: "In real life, when fear, fatigue, and doubt set in, no speech can provide the motivation you need to keep going. The only thing you and your team can rely on is discipline.”
I have heard different speakers speak. They wax eloquent. Complete with gimmickry, humor and sob-stories; they fire up the audience and “motivated” them during the talk. People are moved. Some are even crying. The final bow is given and people actually stood up and give their standing ovation.
Amazing! The people are so fired up. The question now is: “What now?” Ask the audience 10 minutes later: “What did you learn and what tools have you been given in order to achieve the next level success?” And you will find the participants struggling to recall what they have learned and their response would typically be: “Oh I learned many things… but he or she is a great speaker.” So in effect, what they have learned is that the person is a great speaker but apart from that, it would be hard to determine.
Motivational talks are a one-off event. It may emotionally fire up the people but when it's time to get something done there two ways to kick yourself into gear. The first one is the determination to make things happen. The second one is to stay the course and make sure things happen.
In other words, the speakers probably have given the people the emotional readiness to do better but the second one is that things will only positively happen when there is self-discipline and without which; the only thing that will happen is that the people will remember the speaker as a “great speaker.”
This is why I refuse to join the genre of “motivational speakers” but I would rather position myself as a business consultant sharing ideas and educating people on how they can do better and be better.
Time is too scarce to waste and money is not easy to come by. And this is why I have made sure that the consultancy companies I work with will only feature trainers and speakers who are practitioners and subject matter experts. These are people who possess the knowledge, tools, experience and depth of expertise that they can share with those who are willing to learn.
There is a huge difference between motivation and discipline. Motivation gets you to the position of willingness to do things. Self-motivation depends on willpower and willpower has been recognized as a limited resource and can be depleted.
Our uniformed people in the armed forces understand the value of self-discipline. Olympian athletes cherish self-discipline. Discipline is what drives the achiever to do the work he or she does not enjoy but is required.
And when the person achieves success even in incremental level, then the motivation comes and the joy begins to build. Every serial achiever, successful professionals, artists and business executives or entrepreneurs are masters in the area of self-discipline. And that is why every success they achieve motivates them to do better.
Long after the feelings of motivation and that warm fuzzies disappear, discipline is what is needed to conquer fear and enable the person to face adversity. The inexperienced, those that are quickly “sold” to the moving speeches of “motivational speakers” retreats, quit, resigns once they are no longer “motivated” or are no longer “happy” with their work.
Balthasar Gracian says: "Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.” That is saying we need to put our plans into actions and make things happen. And trust me, you need a lot of self-discipline to make this happen and this is the good kick in the pants needed to make things happen.
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