Passion or Discipline

 

Freedom can be a curse.

As a freelancer, I often struggle with procrastination.

Yesterday, I contemplated on whether I should lead a passionate or a disciplined life.

In the fiery, passionate life I’d listen to my heart every time. If I feel like playing games, I play. If I feel like writing, I write. This fits with my goal to live a free life where I’m not restricted externally.

Or I’d lead a strict, disciplined life. I list out the things I need to get done and I get it done. I’ll ignore the willful, whimsical pleas of my heart.

I was wallowing in guilt from not doing any work, and because the guilt was eating away at me, I couldn’t completely relax either.

So I visited my own blog in a desperate attempt to kill the beast of guilt.

And this is what I saw on Quote Of The Moment:

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” ― Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories

It wasn’t enough for an answer. But it was enough to get me out of my rut.

I turned to the all-knowing Guru for advice, which led me to an answer.

From the website:

The Passion Discipline Duo

  1. Passion starts the journey and discipline guides around the curves.
  2. Passion generates new ideas and discipline vets the possibility against tangible reality.
  3. Passion creates bonds with teammates and customers and discipline delivers the strength to bond even in tough times.
  4. Passion breaks through resistance and overcomes obstacles. Discipline sustains when passion wanes.

Here’s my interpretation, since I prefer a visual context.

 

Imagine a car with a kid and an adult inside, on a road trip to the amusement park.

The kid is excited and very enthusiastic. He can’t wait to get there. The adult, naturally, is the driver.

Along the way, the kid sees a few more exciting places. A beach, a museum, and a UFO. He points them out and tells you that he wants to swim at the beach, visit the museum, and get kidnapped by aliens.

Now the driver has a few options:
1. Ignore the kid; go to the amusement park as planned
2. Review choices and picks one
3. Visit all the places

Have you got it yet?

This kid is your passions.
If you listen to the kid every time, you get distracted.

The driver is your discipline.
If you listen to him, you will reach your destination. But you might realise it’s not where you want to be only after you reached it.

 

Life has always been about balancing. It’s never about career or family. Happiness or meaning. Passion or discipline.

Pick career and family. Be meaningfully happy. Maintain disciplined passions.

Here’s a funny animation that’s not exactly related, but drives the same point.

 

Do you have this curse too? How do you deal with procrastination and maintain discipline over your passions?

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