Work On Discipline; Sleep On Inspiration

There’s a common misconception that great work spawns from inspiration or motivation, but rarely is that the case. Inspiration is only effective when you first work on your discipline.

The recurring mistake many people make is waiting around for inspiration to come, but the reality is that the wait will likely leave them in the same place — waiting for more. You are not going to receive that “A-HA!” moment with the light bulb gleaming above your head if you aren’t first willing to flick the switch.

When it comes to your personal success it’s important not to rely solely on motivation or inspiration. Although you should definitely have both you should first place emphasis on being disciplined and working. Our motivations are always changing so it becomes easy to dismiss aspects of work because we feel as though it may not be contributing to the goals of our initial motivations. For example, say you find yourself interested in learning to draw, and perhaps that came from an aspiration to be a realism artist after seeing some incredible work online. As you begin to draw you may discover its level of difficulty which is typically enough to alter most people’s motivation.  The other largest difficulty for those starting out in any field or medium is finding inspiration to create original work. Both of those problems however are rooted to relying too much on motivation.

Going back to the example, you will not discover if you’re truly passionate or not about drawing if you stop at the first obstacle, and by stopping you are also robbing yourself of experience. Even if you get three months in, drawing every morning, and accept that it’s not right for you, the discipline, work, and skills will carry over to whatever you pursue next. Acknowledge that any work you put in can be applied to any other aspect of your life. When you’re able to accept that, work holds a new meaning; work becomes a means of education and serves as a foundation for any pursuit. To further stress this point and to continue with the example, drawing skills allow you to visually articulate yourself which is beneficial in any field, especially design. You’re more comfortable drawing therefore you sketch more resulting in the documentation and discovery of more ideas. Additionally, drawing enables you to further develop ideas on paper so you’re able to solve problems before working digitally. When you don’t invest time in your interests you’re not able to determine what is right for you, and you’re missing out on valuable experience.

Success is more of a lifestyle than it is a moment, so by working everyday and being disciplined you won’t have to rely on the inconsistencies of inspiration and motivation. Although visual inspiration can also be beneficial, it’s important to sleep on it. Your inspiration should be consumed in large quantity and only briefly to ensure you aren’t overly influenced. By sleeping on your inspiration rather than directly viewing it while you work you’ll increase your awareness for the aspects of design you like as well as create more original work. The same goes with motivation: sleep on it. We constantly reevaluate our motivations and change them, so when we work to build routine we are able to discover where our motivations truly lie. Those who start running everyday because they want to lose weight are more likely to accept their defeat and quit compared to those who decide they must run everyday as routine to which they then discover a love for exercising and view weight lose as a side effect and not a reason.

What are you interested in? Or what do you want to do more and/or get better at? Break down whatever that is and find out the smallest things you can do everyday to better yourself. When I determined that I wanted to start writing a blog I immediately second guessed myself. Initially it was very discouraging because writing is tough, but I made the decision that I was going to start writing every morning because the only way to get better is by doing. Despite the intention to have people read my writing I decided to write everyday and not publish any of it. I wanted to treat it as work rather than a way to please my own motivations. By writing, I’m learning to better articulate my thoughts, develop a comfortable writing style, as well as increase my communicative ability. Had I come to the conclusion that I wasn’t interested in maintaining a blog these skills would pour over into other aspects of my work. Figure out what you want to do and do it — your motivations will follow.