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Motivation and discipline. These words have been used interchangeably for decades. But are they the same? Absolutely not! The secret of successful people often lies in their ability to consistently set and pursue meaningful goals with unwavering determination.

Let’s look at a situation. Have you ever woken up one day feeling immensely energized? That particular day, your productivity soared and you most likely got through your entire to-do list. 

Let’s look at another day when you woke up feeling frustrated. On that day, did you find it hard to even keep up a conversation with your employee? 

This means that you are very likely motivation driven. But you can change it and join the circle of successful people with self-discipline.


First, let’s look at the definitions of both motivation and discipline.

Discipline means to train by instruction and exercise.

Motivation means a general desire to do something.

As you can see, discipline is a verb and, thus, that is something that you can choose to do and is in your control. It focuses on action and actually doing things.

On the flip side, motivation is a noun and, therefore, it comes and go and you need to wait for it. There is no action involved.

Motivation is powerful but fleeting

Motivation is certainly a powerful tool. It gives us an unusual boost of creativity and productivity. However, it is finite. 

On days when are motivation is on the lower side, it can feel like all purpose is lost. And obviously in such a state you don’t get much done and procrastination kicks in. You will prioritize unimportant tasks and the important ones on your to-do list will take a back seat. 

Yes, some people have might some activities or exercises they utilize that gets them the motivation back. But again, the question is, will it last? Very unlikely. 

So, what is the solution for days when motivation is nowhere to be found? Self-discipline.

Discipline keeps us on the right track

Many movies show that a sports team is losing. The coach makes an inspiration speech and suddenly the team turns around and wins the game. Yes, that is all very exciting. But in real life we have much bigger things like fear, doubt and fatigue. 

But these three negative emotions can be conquered with self-discipline. 

When you are part of the daily grind, the motivation will give you the nudge. But to keep the ball rolling on days when there is no nudge, self-discipline will come in handy. 

How do I know this? Because I was in the same boat as you. 

Prior to life coaching, my work was dictated by my emotions and mental condition. When I felt enthusiastic and driven, all of my tasks appeared simple. However, on days when I was in a poor mood, my business deteriorated as well.

But the day I recognized the importance of self-discipline, my daily work life changed. 

I started to manage my time better, recognize failures and limitations and be honest with myself and those around me. It has helped me continue moving towards my goal steadily. 

And you can do that too with self-discipline.

You need both and not only one

Let’s be clear that this doesn’t mean you need to let go of your motivations. You need both motivation and self-discipline to succeed. 

For example, you want to change a habit in your life. These are the steps you should take.

  • Let an intrinsic motivation inspire you and give you a kick.
  • Build disciplined actions around the new change.
  • Be specific in what discipline looks like for the new change. 

Therefore, yes you need that intrinsic motivation to ensure that discipline does not drain you. Motivation inspires you to get up and get going. Discipline is needed to stay focused and on the path of achieving the goals.

Final thoughts

The secret of successful people is that they don’t wait for inspiration or motivation. Instead, they teach themselves rigorous self-discipline. Thus, there is a need to shift the way we think about motivation and discipline to be truly successful in our professional and personal life.

If you’re yearning to make a meaningful impact, escape burnout, and savor your entrepreneurial journey, here’s the key: Book a Session and uncover the secret of successful people.

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