F*** Motivation: It’s Called Discipline!

That first word is for you, Ruth’s DH. πŸ™‚ I had to laugh when Ruth mentioned in reply to my comment on her last post that her DH was embarrassed that I (Ruth’s family and my family are both born-again Christians) knew that he allowed a stream of expletives to fly when he discovered a small financial emergency.

As much as I hated to admit it, I told Ruth, those words fly in our house on occasion too. It happened again yesterday when I smacked my head hard on the door handle as I was getting up off the floor (don’t ask).

But alas, this post isn’t about unsavory language. πŸ™‚ Β It’s about a comment on Twitter that my aspiring-comic-artist-daughter mentioned to me the other night.

Motivation vs. Discipline

A fellow budding artist asked a well-known professional artist on Twitter what he did to stay motivated to practice his comic-drawing skills.

“Fu** motivation! It’s called discipline!” he replied, quite bluntly.

At first glance I found those words quite harsh. But after a minute of reflection I found myself saying, “How cool that he was so blatantly honest with his protege.”

Madelyn Finds Discipline

Our oldest daughter – a mere 16 years of age – has improved her art skills astronomically in the last 30 days. She’s also been spending roughly 12 hours a day drawing; a huge boost from her previous 5ish hours a day.

You see, she’s decided she really wants to begin to catch the attention of the powers that be at DC and Marvel, today’s comic giants. So, in spite of an oft lack of motivation, in spite of the enemy telling her “You can’t do this”, in spite of the distraction of three younger and energetic siblings and in spite of having her own load of high school homework, she’s still dedicating a full half of each of her 24 hour days to perfecting her art.

And I think hubby and I can learn a lesson or two from her. It’s not that we aren’t trying to get out of debt. In fact, I think we’re doing a fine balance of living life frugally, yet still enjoying life. We spend $60 a month on entertainment for us and our four kids, and $450 a month on groceries. We work to gain extra income whenever we can.

But there are often days when we are annoyed and feel like we will never win this battle. We simply lack to motivation to put in any additional effort.

The other day, I found some DD1 type of motivation. When I checked our end-of-the-month credit card balance, I found that they had charged me $12 more in interest than they did the previous month (we are paying the minimum on this card as we put all extra money toward a different debt).

They had a good reason for doing so (the card was switching companies and the accrued interest days were higher because of the switch) but I was peeved.

You see, had they charged us the normal amount of interest, we would have reached a milestone number, both on our consumer debt and our total debt. I was so excited to reach that milestone, but the extra interest stole it out of our hands by a mere $12 on both the consumer debt and total debt numbers.

Angry, I got motivated and made a plan. The kids and I emptied out our change jar, scrounged the house for loose change and came up with $50.35. I went straight to the bank, deposited the money and made a $50.35 payment on that credit card so that we made our goals with room to breathe as well.

Screw you, I muttered under my breath to the credit card company as I left the bank.

That is motivation.

Doing “that” on a daily basis is discipline. And therein lies the difference between the two. πŸ™‚

It’s time to forget about motivation and concentrate on getting disciplined. Who’s with me? Β 

20 comments on “F*** Motivation: It’s Called Discipline!

  1. I’ve been a discipline fan for awhile. πŸ™‚ It can be such a factor, making those changes in your behavior can make all the difference. Madelyn’s work is great! Our daughter’s share the love of art/drawing. I’ve seen the same type of dedication and discipline in my own daughter who spends hours each day improving her craft.

    1. LOL, hence your fabulous blog name. πŸ™‚ I love that our daughters share that gift/love for drawing. There’s something about creating something artistic that makes the world a much more beautiful place. πŸ™‚

  2. This is great. I’m truly impressed that your daughter is devoting herself to her art 12 hours per day. My parents are musicians and described how performance majors practice 8 hours a day. I could never imagine, since music wasn’t my passion. But there is so much power in just showing up and doing the thing every day–whether it’s exercise, improving a skill, following a budget, or whatever else.

    1. “there is so much power in just showing up and doing the thing every day”. Love that, Kalie! Thanks. πŸ™‚

  3. Great post!

    Kudos to your daughter for her perseverance! My 13 year old has been spending more and more time on her drawing as well – up to 5-6 hours a day. She sees her persistence paying off as her work has improved drastically over the past couple of months.

    I think the discipline to continue despite feeling unmotivated eventually gives us those small wins, and when we see progress, we become even more determined to continue.

    1. That’s wonderful about your daughter, Amanda!!! Is she on Deviantart yet? There is some…….questionable stuff on there for sure, but if she can focus on her genre and avoid some of the more mature art, she might find it very helpful. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Discipline is what makes “the tough get going when the going get’s tough.”
    We like to use the term motivation instead of the D-word in our house. It sounds kinder & gentler when trying to start or finish a task.

    But until this post, I guess I have never really thought of parallels between the two words.

  5. Doing something good because you were motivated is great, but doing it every day whether you feel externally motivated or not is certainly discipline, and that’s what turns the tide of our big goals. Your daughter’s artwork is amazing and I’m sure with continued discipline it will take her far. Discipline on my finances has been going well, but I sure could use some added discipline when it comes to eating right and exercising!

    1. “and that’s what turns the tide of our big goals.” LOVE that, Gary, and so true!! I often find discipline with eating/exercising much more difficult than discipline with finances. I’ve lost my love of spending money, but I can’t seem to kick that craving for a bag of double-stuff Oreos. πŸ™‚

  6. Wonderful art work, Madelyn! And that was some serious willpower you showed, Laurie. Nothing was going to get in the way of that milestone! Here is the thing with discipline: on some low-energy, low motivation days, we don’t pull through as we can on the high motivation, high energy days. BUT . . . as long as we do our level best – no matter what that is on any given day – that’s discipline. Right? (I ask because I had a hard time with my plank both yesterday and today – but I still tried, so I’m thinking that’s a good thing.)

    1. To me, when you do stuff you don’t want to do in order to reach your goal, no matter how small that “stuff” may seem, that’s discipline!! The fact that you tried shows huge discipline. Any time one can push forward through that “I don’t wanna” feeling and do something, no matter how small, I call that a victory of discipline.

  7. I’m a big fan of discipline, but I’m not always its’ best client. πŸ™‚
    Take running for instance, while training for the half marathon, I told Mrs. SSC, “The reason I chose one so soon is so I won’t get too burnt out training for it and it will still be fun. I can’t wait until I can go back to running for fun.” I made sure to run at least 3-4 times a week, sometimes 5 if they were more low mileage runs. Like your daughter, I knew the work I put in then would help later, even if I wasn’t motivated to do it.

    I need to keep that discipline even without a race to train for, and just go back to having fun with it. I find it harder to put on my shoes and run 3-4 times a week now, because there are days I just don’t feel like it. They don’t always win, but like I said, I’m not discipline’s best client. πŸ™‚

  8. Oh my virgin ears! πŸ˜› I love what you did Laurie. Instead of just stewing over the whole thing, you took action. That is such a great lesson to teach our children. Thanks for sharing what you did with your readers. And, P.S., Hope your head is feeling much better today! πŸ™‚

  9. Laurie, I love your story! Good for you!!!

    Until I read this post, I didn’t really think about the distinction between motivation and discipline. I sure can use some more discipline, so I’m with you!!

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