Clarify the what.
Why discipline without clarity of where we're going is just motion.
Before we get to any how, we have to first get to what.
If you're anything like me, it's far too easy to skim past the what in order to start acting. We mistake movement and activity for progress. Progress towards what? We're not sure. But being in motion feels good.
I've made this mistake a lot in my career. I've always been ambitious, but many times I couldn't tell you what that actually meant or where that ambition was applied. A new title? Okay, well what skills does that title need to have? Do I have them? What makes a good xyz versus a bad xyz? Do I know the answer? I couldn't tell you the how, because I wasn't positive about the what. So ambition and motion had to make up for the deficit of focused pursuit.
Clarity about what we're trying to accomplish, whether in our work or elsewhere, deserves our utmost attention. I recently started writing down the specifics about the person I want to become in the major areas of my life. The exercise in and of itself is helpful because I realized how little thought I put into this on a regular basis.
Like it or not, we're on auto-pilot most of the time.
But when we take the time to gain clarity over these areas, the how becomes obvious. And once we know the how, the only thing left to do is act.
They say discipline is freedom. And it is. But discipline without clarity of where we're going is just motion. Clarify the direction. Then have the discipline to act. And in that...is freedom.