We all need motivation and discipline in our lives because we are creatures of both emotion and logic. The more disciplined we behave, the more rationally we behave. If we were all completely logic driven creatures, everyone would be disciplined in all areas of life. We know that isn’t the case. Even the most successful people have areas of their life where they lack discipline. They are successful in the areas where they cultivated discipline, and failures in the areas they became slaves to their emotions.
We are both logical and emotional, but our actions are fueled more by our emotions. That is why we need to keep our emotional tanks full of daily doses of motivation. If our emotional tank is empty, it doesn’t matter how logical our goal is. If you have big dreams, but you aren’t obsessed with their achievement. If your necessity level isn’t sufficient, you’ll fail to do what is required.
It is important we follow a consistent, disciplined approach to achieving our goal, but if our reasons aren’t strong enough, our excuses will be. Motivation is fleeting, and discipline is hard to sustain, but habits aren’t. People don’t act in a disciplined manner because they are disciplined; they act in a disciplined manner to become disciplined.
We don’t do because we are, we are because we do. We become, what we habitually do. Discipline is a habit, not a personality trait. Anyone can become disciplined because we can all change our behavior. That is mankind’s greatest gift; the gift to become what we wish to become. It is never too late to become the person you always wanted to be. Old habits are more difficult to break, but they can be broken, replaced with new ones.
A useful analogy for a person with a goal is a guided missile. The target in this analogy is our goal. The guidance system locates the target in its environment and locks on. It stays focused on the target until it strikes the target. The target can move, but the missile will make course corrections because it is fixed on the target; not a specific path. To propel the rocket, it needs sufficient fuel. The further the target is, the more fuel it will need, the longer the missile will have to stay focused on the target, and the more course corrections it will have to make.
In this analogy, the guidance computer is the logic driven part of our brain. The course corrections are the strategies we use to keep us heading toward our goal. When pursuing a goal, it is important to maintain flexibility in our approach as conditions change or we learn new information, but our goal must be fixed. We want to be persistent in our pursuit, not dogmatic in our approach.
Having a goal and staying focused on that goal is critical. The bigger the goal, the longer we must stay focused on it; the more fuel we will need to sustain the long journey. The fuel is our emotional necessity. The bigger our goal, the stronger the emotional commitment needs to be. A simple recipe for success is to set a goal, identify what it requires of us, develop a plan, and generate enough emotional commitment to do what is required.
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