Waking up at 5 am everyday is not easy. Running 10 miles in the bitter cold of winter before the sun rises or facing the choking humidity of August awakens the voices of doubt and procrastination. Doing things that are awesome that most people don’t is ridiculously hard. Doing the extraordinary work with extraordinary results on a consistent basis demands putting in the work that is…well…extraordinary. If you are making art that is worth looking at (or reading), you cannot be “just like everyone else”. You must be different. Ordinary people are boring. While they may work hard at times, they do not live outside the ordinary. Their art is not worth seeing.
Discipline alone is not powerful enough to deliver consistently good art.
Author Gary Keller in his book The One Thing tells us about a life where our success is contingent on every behavior being molded and maintained by training: this is a frighteningly impossible existence. Your art is worth every bit of effort you put in. When you first start creating, it’s like a honeymoon. It’s fun and new. Unfortunately, the honeymoon ends and the gremlins of self doubt and procrastination set in. You are faced with what Steven Pressfeld calls the resistance. I recently posted on the resistance and how to use it to your advantage. When the resistance arrives, discipline alone is like bringing a dull knife to a nuclear battle with giant alien robots. Discipline tells you that you HAVE TO get up and going. Habit tells you the you GET TO get up and going. Keller teaches that the success that will lead to your awesomeness starts with having just enough discipline to build a habit of doing the right things. When the habit of shipping art sets in, your work will be more personal. Most people don’t get this far because they are stuck in the discipline zone. They plug it into a calendar and expect the desire to complete it as a task to be enough. You, however, will make it a habit that simply gets done because getting your art out to the world is what you do when it is a habit.