“People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.” ~Luciano Pavarotti
This is a very interesting point. There is no doubt that discipline can be beneficial to the success of a goal. When learning how to play a musical instrument, we’re told practice makes perfect. It’s easy to recognize the benefits gained from playing just a little bit every day. Discipline helps develop a characteristic, skill or talent. Devotion on the other hand, is a spark that shines beyond technical perfection in a craft.
I don’t considere myself disciplined. I’ve never been comfortable with routine and schedules. I thrive when I remain in the present moment and enjoy going with the flow. When I feel like developing my Zazzle store, I design. When I feel like writing, I type up a blog post or add to my book(s). If I’m in the mood to paint at two in the morning, I paint at two in the morning. I’m in my element when I bounce around from one creative task to another.
My lifestyle is unconventional in that I have very little structure and don’t live out of an appointment book. Instead, I have long-term goals that I’m devoted to. My devotion is what gets my butt in gear each day. I focus my attention on the success of my dreams and on the outside, it may look like discipline, but it really is devotion.
For example, my Zazzle store has over 6,000 products for sale. That must have taken some discipline, right? In fact over the last year, I’ve tried to enforce discipline on myself by committing to creating a specific number of new products every day. Or, dedicating so many days per week to creating new products. The routine might last for a day or two, and sometimes even a week, but eventually I lose momentum. Creating becomes forced and robotic and my designs become less and less interesting. I find myself dreading doing what I love. Routine doesn’t make me lazy, it just deters me from fully being my true self. When I let my creativity flow loosely by creating when I feel like creating I get a lot more done and my designs are much more interesting. Some days I make 100 new Zazzle products, some days only a dozen, other days none at all. My devotion is what gets things done. Discipline takes all the fun out of it for me.
People gain security from routine and regularity. I have heard many employed people say they could never go full force for their dreams because they don’t have the discipline. I think maybe they haven’t devoted themselves to their goals and dreams. Once you are able to commit to devoting your life to something, there’s no other option than letting it take over. When you devote your life to your children, they automatically gain importance in your life. You have to remain flexible to their needs and you accomodate them every way you can. If you devote yourself to your professional career, the same things happen. Your work takes precedence. You work overtime when you need to, you cover someone else’s shift when they need it and you do everything you can to make sure you’re successful.
Decide what you want to be most important to you. Devote yourself to your children; your dreams; your career; your hobby; your relationships; your health. When you devote yourself to something (whatever it is) success is inevitable. Discipline helps, but by itself it will keep you stagnant, inflexible and robotic. Devotion is the bright spark that will energize your dreams and keep you committed to being excellent, pure and true to yourself.