Let me tell you a story. Not really a story but I want you to create a mental image. Picture yourself riding a horse. You have the reigns firmly in your grasp. Your feet nestled snugly in the stirrups. You gallop through the fields, the horse responding to your every command. It’s a nice picture.
But then, you notice that your feet are wedged into the stirrups. You cannot dislodged them. Your wrists are tangled into the reins and you realise with horror that far from being in control, you are actually tied to the back of a horse and cannot get free. As you struggle you fall from the horse, but it continues to gallop and you continue to be tied.
You are now being dragged along by a horse you have no influence over whatsoever. Completely at the mercy of the animal you chose to ride. This is motivation and discipline and something in between.
So often this is how I feel — do you relate to this? You begin a task or a project or a new habit and you are totally motivated to do it. You are firmly in control and galloping through that field. But then, what started out as a committed intention becomes something else. It began as a dream but turns into a nightmare that you cannot escape from. You become burdened by the need to keep going, any and all motivation long gone.
Motivation is a powerful thing. Motivation can get us started and provide us with momentum. Discipline is what will keep us going when things get difficult.
But, we need to consider a third thing as well — how to prevent these things from becoming a burden.
I would briefly share 3 thoughts about this:
- Keep your why in view. The difference between something being something you are willing to sacrifice for and a burden that imprisons you is understanding the why you are doing something.
- Pace yourself and don’t take on too much. This is obvious when you think about it. It can be very easy to want to do everything at once. Pick the things with the most powerful why and stick with them.
- Remember — there may come a point when giving up is the right thing to do. Maybe our reason for doing something is not as strong as we thought, or situations change and with it our why dissipates or become less important that other growing concerns. We can have hopes and goals that we strive for, but we must never let them enslave us.
So, when we consider motivation and discipline and something in between….that something in between is called wisdom. Wisdom to keep the why in view, wisdom to pace yourself and wisdom to know when something is no longer worth it.