June 4, 2018
Today we learn how to measure the common illusions known as “discipline” and “motivation”.
If you’re skeptical of this statement because discipline and motivation being illusions, let me agree with you. We can probably agree that discipline and motivation look real. What else could explain why someone would practice something for so long? Allow me to suggest another reason…
Want some proof that motivation and discipline are not real?
One morning you may wake up with this mysterious thing called “Motivation” and make big plans. Decide you want something really bad. Go out and practice really hard and long.
But when you’re tired, hungry, or stressed, that thing called motivation disappears. Motivation comes and goes. So it is something we believe in when we’re motivated. But disappears when we need it most. Don’t you aree that it’s better to call it an illusion than to rely on it?
When you realize that motivation is bullshit – you might release yourself from blame.
Now just because motivation is bullshit doesn’t mean that you are not responsible for performance. In fact, knowing that motivation and discipline are bullshit is the first step to taking FULL responsibility.
If you design a system that relies on willpower, it is a BAD system. You are responsible for this and the outcomes that you will generate.
For example, if you decide to improve your skating, but you don’t own rollerblades, the rink you skate at is 56 minutes away, the ice is horrible, and the coaches are abusive…what are the chances you will work on your skating?
How about if you have an outdoor rink in your backyard? Or maybe you have a clear space in your garage to rollerblade and you invested in a pair of Marsblades. Or maybe you have a great parking lot next door. The chances are much higher that you will work on your skating.
So here’s how you know if you want it bad enough:
When presented with a training environment, do you usually start training on it?
Here’s what I usually see…players who are obsessive about hockey will approach a training environment and start interacting with it. They see a super deker and they start stickhandling. They see a shooting pad and they start taking shots. They see a place to rollerblade and some rollerblades that are free to use and they start rollerblading.
Players who don’t want it will just stand there. Or they’ll ignore it. Or they’ll grow bored really quick.
The players who want it bad enough are obsessed.
It comes down to one thing: Training Friction.
Tap credit cards are great right? So easy to tap and pay. It removes friction. So people pay more with them.
In-App Purchases are also great right? So easy to just put your thumb down and pay for something. So people use in-app purchases lots.
One way to get in better shape isn’t to set goals, buy a gym membership, or work really hard. It’s to hire a trainer so that you’re accountable to someone 1on1. It’s to put your workout clothes right at the foot of your bed so that in the morning you can’t help but step on them. This is how to remove Training Friction.
You should spend disproportionate amounts of energy setting up your training environment so it’s easier to train than to not train.
That is the 80/20 of discipline and motivation. The hidden asymmetry.
If a kid gets dropped off at the rink with a stick and puck and there’s open ice – what do you think is gonna happen?
If a kid has a training area already set up – what do you think is gonna happen?
I routinely end up on the ice for 60-90 minutes longer than I planned. I routinely end up in the Pavel Barber Sport lab much longer than I said I would. Once I’m there I literally can’t help it. This is the benefit of setting up the right training environment.
And if you go through the trouble of setting up the right training environment, and the player just sits there, or ignores it, or stares at the ceiling – then you KNOW that this isn’t the activity. Hockey isn’t the sport. You know they don’t want it bad enough and you can cut your losses right then and there.
Convenience is king.
Taking full responsibility for performance means setting up intelligent systems and automating habits so that you generate the results you want. It is BAD system design if you ignore the idea of Training Friction.
Take full responsibility for your results by using those “motivated moments” to design and implement the lowest training friction environment.