The word motivation is derived from the word motive, which originates from the late Latin words, motivus and movere which mean
‘to move’. Oxford Dictionary defines the word motive as ‘a reason to do something‘.

What motivates a person to do something? A reason. You can ask a father to a family working till late sleepless night, why he is sacrificing his sleep? He will say,

“I’m doing this for my family.”

From there on, we can see that ‘love’ motivates him to do that. A normal person will not sacrifice his sleep if he doesn’t have any reason for that.

In reality, the reason doesn’t always have to be ‘love’. It can be more sinister as revenge or hate. A man could dedicate his whole life plotting to see his enemy falls!

For every task that we do in our life, there must be a reason for us to do it. Otherwise, we are not even going to do it in the first place. Suppose we are given a task, and we are asked to complete it. We have no particular reason to do it, so of course we will spend time doing the task with the lowest minimum effort possible. As long as the task is completed, we will be satisfied. We will not even bother looking at the result as there’s no reason to do that. The quality of the work will be horrendous!

It is different when a person is motivated. The person will put his maximum effort doing something. The person believes that this is what he wants to do. He wants to spend the moment doing it! He believes that he is enjoying his life doing it. He wants to do it for he has a solid reason; a motive. 

However, motivation fades out. It won’t be there forever. If a particular person waits for motivation in order to commit himself doing something, he is in great trouble. Another example will be a college student on the eve of New Year. On that day, he will set his yearly goals. He promised himself he will commit to it. For the first few weeks, he will do it. But, it doesn’t last for a long time before he tires himself out, or in another word, his motivation runs out. He needs to wait for another hopeful event in order to get himself motivated again.

But discipline is different!

Discipline comes from the word disciple, which means ‘a learner’. A disciplined person does something because he knows he has to do it. This is what he wants. He will say,

“I believe in this. This is the path that I choose and I will keep doing it because there is a purpose to achieve”.

He will not wait for motivation to come as motivation is unreliable. He wants to do this because he is passionate in what he does. Not doing the task simply means betraying himself. 

In simpler analogy, suppose a person have to go from point A to point B by a boat. Motivation is like the wind pushing the sails; helpful. But it won’t last forever. Discipline, on the other hand, he rows the boat with his bare hand. He knows his goal is point B and he must reach there. He needs to be there. By being disciplined, he will still arrived even when the wind is not there to help him. Paradoxically, he will row even faster. The absence of wind is like a test on his faith. A test that will give rise to questions like; “Is that place is really your goal? Do you really want go there? Are you sincere enough? Are you sure it is not because people told you to do so?” A great person will respond with complete confidence. “Yes. This is my path.” And he will keep rowing until he gets there.

It ain’t how hard you hit. Its how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward. Rocky Balboa.

Being disciplined helps us reaching our goal even when the motivation is not there to help us. Nonetheless, this article isn’t written to say that motivation is irrelevant. The point is, for any goal that we aim to reach in our life, we should be both motivated and disciplined at the same time. As motivation without discipline is pointless, discipline without motivation is mediocre.


Muhammad Iqbal Bin Yusof
4th Year
Faculty of Medicine
Ain Shams University

Karya Unit,
Bureau of  Publishing and Information (BPP)
PERUBATAN Ain Shams Chapter 2016/2017

This article is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinion of PERUBATAN Online.