In an era where coaches of all kinds abound on the web, one would wonder if it isn’t easier today to have a disciplined and organized life so that we achieve great results. This motivation at the click of a button is only the opposite of a globally demotivated society that gives in to all sorts of temptations, starting with the recreational pleasures offered by Youtube and Netflix.
What distinguishes us from our predecessors on an anthropological scale is that we have both immense resources to help us accomplish thousands of things while lacking the discipline to do them.
The backbreaking work of agricultural or proto-industrial societies was the keystone of a day. The physical effort to which thousands of people devoted themselves is not comparable to what we face in our daily lives. What distracts us today from a certain rigor is not the weight of work, but rather the complexity of life as it is. We have to make hundreds of decisions on a daily basis, all of which are possible distractions to an initially formulated goal.
Success requires a form of simplicity that must be cultivated at all levels of our existence at the risk of getting lost along the way and succumbing to the many and varied temptations that stand in our way and yet belong to what we call modernity.
Discipline is nothing more than abstaining from things that we consider bad in order to concentrate on those that we consider good. The environment we cultivate must be the soil from which the flowers of discipline can bloom. If the weeds of neglect and complacency are allowed to grow freely, we simply cannot give sufficient nutrients and sunlight to our deepest purposes.
To recreate the ancient efficiency that allowed people to build cathedrals or pyramids in times when the technical means were far less available, we must draw inspiration from the source of their success. Simplicity allows us to focus our attention on the work at hand.
Modernity is a double-edged sword. It offers us incredible resources to thrive and improve while giving us everything that can distract us from it. Discipline is one of the essential elements for success in any field. Motivation is only temporary. If you can eliminate distractions and build your life so that only the things that are most important to you remain, you can say that you are on the right track. Your success depends only on you, your discernment and your willingness to devote yourself diligently to what matters most to you.