Several fallacies challenge the committed habit that is discipline. You must not allow these fallacies to hinder your progress. Discipline is a careful mental and emotional spark igniting productive action. As a combustion engine, you want to take care in maintenance to control the explosions of creativity so that you don’t bomb.
All or Nothing
This mentality that you can’t be a productive slacker with a penchant for procrastination. You can be defined by such complexity. You must only find a balance and an intentionality to that identity. It will be different for each person, but that is the challenge of self-awareness: to know your buttons and how to push them for maximum health and well-being.
The balance is among at least 3 identities. Keep these in balance: diligence, brilliance, and mediocrity. Diligence is the activity applied toward getting things done. It can be hard work, but it is productive by definition. Brilliance is thoughtfulness expressed as planning, research, or process mapping. Brilliance would be considered smart work with a focus on a healthy return on any investment. Mediocrity is leisure, rest, and a focus on satisfaction above products. Mediocrity is a focus on value and quality of life without the qualification of other returns.
You need each of these in balance. You diligently commit to the work. You must search for the greatest return for your effort. And, you must find peace and purpose regardless of what you create and reflectively through your creative process. Your task is not black and white, all or nothing. It is balance, allowing, and attraction at the same time.
Breaks and Rest are for Losers
In response to a trend among millennials who began to respond to questions in unpredictable ways, some created and promoted the idea that passion and desire requires nothing less than consecutive sleepless nights and an unrelenting, incessant focus. The question was, “What’s your favorite thing to do?” The answer among some millennials, “Sleep.” The refrain among some motivational speakers became a mantra, “To succeed, sometimes you are going to lose sleep.” And thus, a fallacy was born.
Two problems exist with this approach. First, it obscures the point of success, which is freedom to enjoy life and that more abundantly. Exhaustion, health problems, and accidents on the back of sleep deprivation is not sustainable. Second, neither the motivational nor the millennial listened to each other.
The millennials I coached were stating that they spend so much time programmed with school, practice, rehearsals, and part-time work that they are happy to find a moment of rest. It is not that they are lazy. They are putting in the work, covering multiple bases, and all with little to no backup and little sense of the final pay off. The motivational speaker is stating that success requires a clarity of destination and a discipline that prioritizes your daily activities. Sleep is what you do when it is bedtime. Make sure the rest of the day is an intentional grind. He’s not telling you to commit to sleep deprivation. He’s telling you to make each moment count.
Social Life is Death to Productivity
You can have a social life and maintain a robust productivity schedule. The kernel of truth in your trepidation lies in the perception and progress of your social relationships. You will lose friends. Some through attrition, you will not have the time to nurture and develop because your circles will change. Some through growth, you will not have common topics of conversation due to a change in focus and vantage points. But, you will gain friends who challenge themselves and holistically relate to your daily grind. They will be sources of mentorship, positive competition, support, and counsel. Time made for them will be time spent in rejuvenation, inspiration, and skill-building.
Even social media can be a means to your productive ends. The best grassroots social media developers (those who organically grew their following without fame in some other form of media) share value through their engagement with their audience as well as their persona, product, or other tangible offering. Engaging through social media is not the problem. Often, social media as a waste of time is the result of an ill-defined brand, cluttered value proposition, or a saturated product landscape. Define your brand. Communicate clearly what people get from engaging. Define your audience narrowly. With these in practice, social media can breathe life into your production schedule.
Selling to Friends
When applied to business and entrepreneurship, the challenge presented by these fallacies is multiplied. You no longer have a boss who is telling you when and how long to work. You no longer have the pattern of a factory-specific job description to tell you what to do. And most importantly, you no longer have that simple calculation: work time = pay. Often, an entrepreneur has periods of intense work that take weeks to pay off. Make sure they pay off residually by re-educating yourself on the fallacies.
The common suggestion is that you don’t sell to friends and you don’t work with family. Break these rules and you will have neither friends or family. There is a lot of truth in the suggestion, but you may be counting too much of the population as friends. Consider that most people have as few as 3 friends. People they identify to leave their children or pets with in an emergency, people they would go on an Airbnb vacation with, and people they would give money to and accept money from. Friends are those who fit these without question and a couple of other criteria. The people you associate with are not all friends. You do yourself and your brand a disservice to have real friends you wouldn’t ask to be on your company board and to have associates you would not offer value to and respect payment in return.