The Myth of Discipline vs the Reality of Motivation for Startups / by elton rivas

Some Friday morning thoughts...

As humans, it is in our nature to search for things that we believe in. That's what calls us to organized belief systems like being a sports fan, joining a running group, or even religion. We yearn for the answer to constant questions of worth, value and hope and many times those questions and trying to provide answers to them are what calls a founder into creating a new startup. This comes from motivation and not discipline. In fact, the very definition of discipline is something that we are misguided by.

Recently, as part of working on startups and getting ready to begin training for my next endurance adventure (Deception Pass 50k), I asked a few friends what discipline meant to them and got responses like "a way to keep doing what needs to be done," or "a diligent, concentrated approach that's not distracted." Each of which show that we have our own meaning to the word itself.

However, when looking at the classic definition of the word discipline, you get: "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience." That's pretty straightforward and could even be somewhat offensive to some when you really think about it. It also doesn't relate to the driving force behind many founders - that comes from motivation, or as one person that I asked the question to said it as their internalized definition of discipline; "having the internal motivation to handle the hard and repeated work." Well said. It's that subtle shift to internalize "discipline" as maintaining motivation needed to complete a goal that is most important when beginning the journey to launch a new startup.

So, how does one create that internal motivation that we strive for? In my experience, in the startup world, it comes most easily when working with a team of people that are passionate about a similar problem to solve, in a similar or complementary life stage and are using an objective guide/sequence of steps to help move things forward. 

I could write a lot more on this, and likely will in the future. For now I recommend checking out this post or this one on the topic of motivation.

Have a great end to your week!