You Need Discipline. You Don’t Need Motivation

A lack of motivation, or discipline?..

Thoughts on discipline

A few weekends ago I ditched the city and headed to one of the most southern points of the Korean peninsula, to a secluded beach with some friends.  It was the first swim and beach day of the year for most of us.  Needless to say we may have overdone it a little.  Drinks were had.



This following week was real slow for me.  I can’t pinpoint whether it was a multi-day hangover that I haven’t had in awhile or just one of those off-times that come now and again.  One of those periods where you just don’t have any motivation,  aren’t overly positive, and feel overall lazy, careless and indifferent.


I’ve lived long enough to know this low points do come – and they soon leave.  They usually follow periods of high performance or productivity, so I don’t overly mind the lack of output that comes with these low points.

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The Power of Writing It Down and Blogging

Start scribbling..

Obviously I’m a fan of writing.  I think I’ve always been.  Ever since high school and university, I always found essay assignments and paragraph questions on exams to be a breeze.  I feel like I’m better able to express myself through pen and paper – or fingers to keys – as opposed to spoken word.


Actually, thinking back now I know that to be true.  That’s why I joined Toastmasters years ago.  You’ve got to balance the strengths and weaknesses.  But I digress.


Besides the enjoyment I get from organizing my thoughts in somewhat clearer ideas, there are evident benefits to moving what’s bouncing around in your head into literature.  When I refer to writing things down, I mean writing a book, articles, blog posts, to-do lists, and whatever other forms of writing you can think of or imagine.

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Never Stop: Teachings from The Martian

Movie night..

So I’m listening to a motivational video at the gym the other day, and a clip from ‘The Martian’ comes on.  I remember it took me a while to actually see that film.  I think I had some sort of ill feelings held towards Matt Damon from his part in ‘Interstellar’.  Another amazing movie, by the way.


Anyway, I remember the night I did finally watch it.  It was a weeknight and it kept me up way too late.  I couldn’t help it.  There was no way I wasn’t finishing the movie, that night.  

The acting was pretty good and the film had a decent story line.  But what I couldn’t get over was the perseverance of Matt Damon’s character, and his ability to take risks.

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Remove Yourself from Outcomes and Break the Chains of Expectation

Outcomes & Expectation..

Don’t you just hate when shit doesn’t go your way?  How dare that nobody HR recruiter hire someone else for your dream job.  The audacity of your ex to fall out of love with you and meet someone new.  Who wouldn’t want want to buy the product you designed.  Why did MY flight need to get delayed.  You get the picture..


It doesn’t require much life experience to realize that sometimes life doesn’t roll out as you expected or had planned for.  When you think about it, it’s almost funny that this still upsets us.  Generally it comes with age and wisdom to accept that a lot of what happens to us is outside of our control.  The ability to continue moving forward without much affliction however, is a skill that must be cultivated.  

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Why You Should Invest in Yourself

Invest in yourself.

I talk a lot about investing.   Heck, I think about investing non-stop.  Usually I refer to the common use of the word in regards to the financial markets.  Now I’d like to talking about why you should invest in yourself

What’re you doing when you invest money into the stock market?  On a symbolic and basic level, you are investing in yourself.  You’re investing in yours and your families future.

Money ain’t the end all, be all, though.  How else can we invest in ourselves?


The Balance Sheet of life..

I want you to consider your life in terms of a balance sheet.  You have assets and liabilities.  You invest in assets that are going to produce you money, health and happiness.  

Under liabilities you have the opportunity cost of these assets – money/favors that you owe from acquiring them, and what you had to sacrifice to acquire them.  You might also place anything either necessary or ‘seemingly necessary’ in your life that harms or reduces your health, happiness and money.


A liability can mean something that is a hindrance or puts an individual or group at a disadvantage, or something someone is responsible for.

An asset is a resource controlled by a person as a result of past events and from which future benefits are expected to flow to that person.


In this sense, examples of assets could be; an education, skills, network, cash and/or portfolio, discipline, wisdom and knowledge from experience, a business, your health, a supportive family, and many others.

Most of these ‘assets’ don’t come free.  They come from a mix of time, money and energy.

Paying thousands of dollars for an education is not necessarily a bad use of money.  Even using student loans to accomplish this – after careful and proper consideration, and absolute necessity – can be beneficial.  As long as doing so will repay you more so in the future than what it will initially cost you in money, time, health and happiness.

Money spent in pursuit of time with family and friends is neither a bad use of funds.  As long as those people affect you in a positive manner.

Any activity that hinders your health, happiness, money, and essentially goals in the big picture, is a liability.

It gets a little tricky here, as generally these liabilities can provide short-term pleasure and happiness.  Whether it’s true or artificial happiness is up for debate.  And depends on the individual.

Blasting cash on unhealthy food, booze and whatever else is all working against your progression.  Though used in moderation, can be a helluva’ good time!


Compounding your interest and value..

When you invest some of your income today, you don’t get to spend that money today.  You have to pass on a swanky new jacket, cook at home opposed to eating out, drive a beater instead of financing a new whip.  That’s opportunity cost, and it can suck..  If you’re thinking short term.


Long term, a thousand dollars today can be worth waaaay more in years to come if invested properly.  Even earning you passive income.


Similarly, if you invest in skills or improving yourself in some way today, the short term opportunity cost (sacrifice of time, money, etc) will be waaay worth it in the future.

Would you sacrifice a 2-3 years of your youth to gain skills and experience that may allow you to retire 5-7 years earlier?  Or bust chops for 5 years on a business that allows you to work for yourself for the rest of your life?


Eyes on the prize..

I’ll be the first to admit I can be guilty of the following; most people can’t see past the short term, and in turn seek instant gratification.  Perhaps our ‘results at the click of a button’ society is to blame.  

I know first hand from discussing financial investment with people my age this is absolutely the case.  It’s hard for people in their 20’s to fathom $500 or $1,000 a month disappear into an investment portfolio or furthered education when that could be spent on a nicer car, clothes or vacation.

More realistically, most people in their 20’s have a hard time affording to put that away and still live a reasonably comfortable life.  Whether that’s due to excessive consumer habits or because the economic structure, wages and cost of living are out of whack is an entirely separate argument I’m not going to touch at the moment.

In the same sense, it’s challenging to further your education in the evenings after working full time.  It’s hard to take a wage cut to switch industries to something you might have more passion for.  It’s scary to choose the uncertainty of entrepreneurship over a steady pay cheque.

But if you look big picture, you will generally find the reward is worth considerably more than the initial investment.


Easier said than done..

I know it’s easy to say you’re going to enroll in a couple classes and study evenings and weekends.  Or that you’ll start working on your biz, tomorrow.

Just like guys who try and chase those unrealistic gains in the market get destroyed, over committing yourself in your personal growth investments will hurt more than help.


The key..

The key is really just actual action, and consistency.  

In terms of assets; start small.  Begin with setting an hour aside a day for your side gig.  Aim to write 500 words a day.  Enroll in one evening class a quarter.  Commit to reading 10 pages a night.  These are baby steps anyone can take.

In regards to liabilities; the devil is in the detail.  Shoot to only drink once a week.  Plan to have one meal of whatever from a restaurant, cook the rest at home.  Anytime you think of buying something frivolous, leave it now, think on it and if you really want it/need it, go back the next day.  Reduction is the key here.  Above are some of the tactics I apply.

Overtime, it’s all these small incremental positive changes that add up to create serious wins.

Investing in a stock market portfolio is in my opinion one of the surest ways to a successful life.  But it certainly isn’t the only form of investment.

You are your biggest asset.  Start compounding your results by investing in yourself through education, discipline, skills and anything else than can benefit you on your journey through this life.


Onwards & upwards, friends


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