Desire is for the year, discipline is for today

Dec 29, 2023

Creating things is hard. You start with lofty dreams, but before long, the struggle begins. When do you quit? When do you keep going? In this post, I want to talk about a phrase that has helped me persist: “Desire is for the year, and discipline is for today.”

If you are always focused on what you want — your desire — then you will never have the stamina to get through the dip. Day-to-day creativity is about discipline.

When my Dad was coaching me in little league, I remember him saying "We gotta hit the ball." I would start talking about an error I made or some other reason for our loss, and he would interject "We didn’t hit the ball." I was never great at baseball, but I know that the single most important part of winning is hitting the ball. Hitting the ball in your creative practice is showing up for uninterrupted time to focus.

My creative practice is 6-8 am before work. When I wake up feeling afraid, nervous, or exhausted I know that all I have to do is hit the ball. All I have to do is go sit at my desk for 2 hours and try.

So where does desire come in? Desire comes into play whenever I come up for air and share something. I just finished the first version of Type the Word, and I am taking the time to share what I have learned while keeping my eyes pealed for what to do next. I don’t know what my next project will be. Now is the time to follow my curiosity.

Before long though I am going to lock it in again on my next endeavor.

This framework has been so helpful to me because unending discipline is stifling. I’m human and my discipline wanes with time. Knowing that there is an end in sight has been key to finishing side projects.

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