Fitspiration vs Discipline

Another intangible notion has been exploited. Inspirational mantras and motivational media have reached a saturation point. Encouragement in the form of marketing campaigns are found in our magazines, news feeds, and across the shirts of over-zealous gym goers. The gurus you follow on social media, the underdog in a 80’s montage, even the music in your workout playlist embody our ambition to move forward. We find ourselves constantly seeking the things that sustain our passing desires. But what happens when we are overexposed to our muse and those novelties fade? The influence of our environment will inevitably fail us. A society that prefers objective input over introspective dependence is one without substance or perspective. We often forget that the catalyst to achieve can come from within, with a set of motives based on our own resolution. To rely solely on the fickle sentiment of inspiration is to find solace in the afterglow of others. While discipline might not catch the eye with it’s muted smolder, it continues to burn long after the sparks of inspiration fade to black.

Reality hit us hard every day, and sometimes we can’t conjure up the effort to get moving without the right stimulation. Inspiration can be a burst of adrenaline to the soul, revitalized passion when energy falters. We have become mass consumers of inspirational content, craving the buzz of a new-found enthusiasm. Despite its accessibility and endearing qualities, I can’t help but find fault in relying whole-heartedly on its short lived, fleeting capacity. All of those YouTube compilations, Nike commercials and rally cries are only as endearing as our initial reaction to them. Inspiration is by nature a fickle motive. A mantra stalls when obstacles stand taller than that particular combination of words and sentiments. While efforts wane as we lose perspective, discipline becomes a consistent vantage point to venture on. While motivation might encourage you along the way, discipline will drag you to the finish line, kicking and screaming if need be.

Discipline will never have the same romanticized appeal as inspiration. It’s easy to see how this pursuit of self has been abandoned for its more marketable counterpart. Inspiration is now a buzzword- Its original connotation exploited and monetized, in many ways a parody of It’s former definition. We cannot as easily package discipline or abstract its sincerity. It is nothing less than the cultivation of ceaseless reinforcement. There’s nothing sexy about sacrificing time and energy, not because we want to, but because we have to. This control over ones-self can only be developed by enforcing a pattern in behavior. Patterns can only be developed by continuous repetition, a combination of intention and action. Discipline’s essence isn’t dependent on fleeting input, but by neurological impulse. It becomes an innate piece of our psychological function. We program ourselves to expect nothing less than complete application of body and mind through sacrifice and conditioning. It’s the line in the sand for those who want it, and those who need it.

Regardless of the shortcomings brought about by branding inspirational content, I see absolutely no reason to abandon the things that bring us to life. On the contrary, we must embrace all the momentum that supports us. Discipline and inspiration are not exclusive to one another, nor are they on two ends of a spectrum. Both can inhabit the same mind harmoniously, and even the most dedicated individuals seek an outside source to rejuvenate their intensity. It is the sincerity of our thoughts and actions that will measure the true value of our motives. To illicit a sustainable demeanor, we must explore the thresholds of our self to attain balance. Consistency in action depicts consistency in character. In other words, discipline can foreshadow our future intentions and efforts. To abandon our own strengths in search of another, we lose out on both, building a dream on a faulty foundation. It would be ignorant to condone a life of co-dependence just because we fail to recognize our own potential. For someone to relinquish longevity for the sake of instant gratification is disheartening. If motivation is our call to action, discipline is the accountability that continues to answer.

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