Excellence: it’s not about discipline or willpower!

Excellence is not about discipline or willpower.

Every day we hear someone going off about the need for self discipline, for willpower, in our behaviors so that we can reach our potential. As a student, I can’t tell you the number of times I heard some adult go on about that. Nor can I tell you the number of times I beat myself to a pulp trying to willpower myself into doing my school work so I could be excellent. I knew I could be. I knew I wasn’t. I felt awful about it. And I couldn’t change.

At the time I didn’t know you couldn’t willpower yourself into disciplined behavior. In fact, most people don’t know this and so the fable that discipline and hard work will get you far persists. Here is the truth:

Excellence is about habits. (you need hard work too, but that is supported by consistent habits)

Reset your habits and you’ll reset your achievements. I’ve talked about the process of evaluating current habits. Knowing our current habits is key to the process of resetting our future habits, which I’ll talk about in my next post or two.

When I set routines and follow them I find that I get much more done AND have much more free time. In addition, that free time is more relaxing because I don’t have mental clutter of things undone hovering in the background.


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