Discipline vs diligence

Published on Oct 17, 2020

Discipline succeeds short-term. Diligence succeeds long-term. ~ @via_benjamin

Discipline versus diligence – what's the difference? The very wise quote above points out the key difference. One gets you through the short term, the other sustains you long term.

I often feel discipline is the paternal side of productivity – a little harsh and stern like a drill sergeant but gets you to grit your way through hell with pure willpower. Gets the job done though not necessarily done well. But anything worth doing is worth doing poorly because doing it poorly is better than not doing it at all. Or worse, trying to do it perfectly that you give up altogether. But discipline is tiring if used too much too often.

Diligence on the other hand, is like the maternal side of productivity. Done with care and earnestness, persistently; graceful soft power that can ebbs and flow, either gently like a stream or crash like a tsunami; and when done with the right purpose behind it, keeps one going the extra mile. And best of all, anything done with care means done well. 

I feel we need both. It's not binary, not one or the other. 

It's actually really similar to writing here on 200wad – streaks as a discipline mechanism to get you through on rough days when the last thing you want is to write, and a deeper why as a diligence mechanism to get you through hundreds of days of writing daily. So yes, some days your posts will be shite because discipline was at work. Other days, you reread it days or months later and wondered who was this person who wrote such a good piece, because diligence. 

With the twin wings of discipline and diligence, no success shall elude you.