I am a notorious crammer, but a responsible one at that. I made it out of college without a failing mark, so my modus operandi must be working. What I fail to take into account is the number of times I came awfully close to having a catastrophic meltdown. On most days, especially during my senior year, I practically had to drag myself to school to attend my classes. How I managed to survive the academe is beyond me, until recently, when I finally had the time to look back and think about what transpired.
Revisiting College Concepts
In Sociology, we learned how everyone isn’t created equal, much like no two individuals are 100% the same. We are all unique, with distinctive traits that set us apart from one another.
However, things that even the richest and poorest beings have in common still exist—for instance, time. We are all given twenty-four hours to spend each day, which has always been the case. I thought to myself, “what does this seemingly inconspicuous fact imply?” Apparently, there is an idea of equality as a substantive principle of society. There is reason to believe that the universe presents equal opportunities for everybody. However, there will always be a difference in how we spend the time given to us.
If, in theory, we have access to equal opportunities, what is stopping us from leading an accomplished and ultimately successful life then?
More than likely, the deal-breaker lies in how we utilize the time we have at hand. Procrastination, not being in the mood, and becoming devoid of willpower are just some of the phases we have had to go through at some point.
Which begs the question, “why do we feel that way in the first place?” When it is time to get something done, what are our means to “kick” ourselves into gear? If your answer is motivation, that is the most popular choice, but not necessarily the most efficient and effective way. Here’s where we often discount the notion of discipline.
In an article for Due, journalist and author Miranda Marquit opined, “realizing that self-discipline is different from self-motivation is one of the first things we need to do.” You may be able to accomplish what you’re supposed to, but it isn’t as sustainable as having the self-motivation to keep going when your resolve goes missing.” Willpower is a limited resource at best. Resisting urges repeatedly or forcing yourself into doing something becomes more challenging each time until it eventually wears you down.
Discipline, unlike motivation, is reliable in real-life applications than most of us realize. It is what drives us to do the work we do not enjoy. Discipline conquers fear, while motivation doesn’t necessarily. Discipline keeps us going when our curiosity, excitement, and motivation itself start to diminish and fail.
Business philosopher Jim Rohn remarked, “It takes consistent effort to truly manage our valuable time.” It takes a high level of discipline to conquer the nagging voices in our minds – the voice that tells us to be afraid to fail or even succeed.
More importantly, it takes a high level of discipline to admit our errors and recognize our limitations. The voice of the human ego speaks to all of us. The same voice prods us to exaggerate our accomplishments and value as a person, leading us to be dishonest. To be totally honest to ourselves and others require discipline as well.
While others may argue that discipline and motivation work better hand in hand, which is ideal, it takes a truly remarkable individual to master both. While we still have to choose between the two, discipline will always be the better option. Motivation is fleeting and hardly reliable at best. The question is not, “how do I keep myself motivated?” Instead, it should be, “how do I train myself to work without it?”
It pays to remember that it takes consistent effort on our part to manage our valuable time effectively. To get to that level, the first thing we need to achieve is to stop being a slave to our motivations.