Why motivation is a lost cause

How do you make your life better when you only have scraps to work with?

The problem we have with goals is that we underestimate what it takes to get them.

Goals are fun, in the beginning. The moment that light bulb hits and inspiration comes rushing in is one of the best moments in the world.

That feeling doesn’t last.

Eventually, we hit the point where our feet comes back on solid ground. Our adrenaline levels return to normal and our minds remember where we are.

We remember how little we actually have in our checking account or the fact that we’ve been living with this habit for 20+ years or any number of things that make us realize that we are not who we want to be.

At least, this was the case for me.

The way those self-help, motivational gurus teach it, success is just a matter of motivation. If we get “motivated” enough, these gurus say, we’ll reach our goal.

The problem is, again, motivation. It doesn’t last.

If you think about it, though, motivation shouldn’t last forever. Who wants to be motivated forever about one thing anyway? Motivation is designed for a temporary purpose. If you’re hungry, you get motivated to eat. If you’re thirsty, you get motivated to drink something.

Unfortunately, most still blame “motivation” as the reason behind their failures.

Motivation doesn’t care. It will do what it’s supposed to do, go after temporary goals. If you want to achieve something better, you need something better. If you want to change who you are and how you act, you something more than “motivation”.


You see discipline runs on a whole different system than motivation. Discipline is the power you tap into for long-term goals. Discipline is the power you tap into when you want transformation, not just a temporary elevation.

There’s just two problems with discipline:

  1. You have to train it.
  2. You won’t see the results as fast as you think

Motivation doesn’t require any training. If I see a person enjoying a delicious pizza, I don’t have to “train” myself to want the pizza. I want it. No questions asked.

If I want to stay away from the pizza, I do have to train myself. As an extra (but unpleasant) bonus, I won’t even get any immediate benefits either. (Although I could share my decision on social media and get a quick adrenaline rush from that.)

That’s because motivation is a reward. Discipline, on the other hand, is a seed. That means it must be planted. It must be nurtured. It will take time to grow.

This is the reason most fail. It’s not because we’re not “motivated” enough. We have plenty of motivation to get us started. It’s because most aren’t not disciplined enough to handle the work and confusion. Discipline doesn’t come with any guarantees at all. There is no guarantee that if you do 1 million situps that you will get a 6 pack. There is no guarantee that if create the perfect resume, memorize the perfect interview questions, and pass all of the tests, that you will get the job.

That’s the problem with discipline. Deep down, we know that. We just get so caught up in the instant adrenaline high of “motivation” that we forget.

Written by

Techie. Writer. Entrepreneur. Investor. Badass College Dropout. Believer. #prayerwarrior #restoretheroar #blacklivesalwaysmattered #getafterit

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