Less external motivation and more internal discipline: the secret to success in university


In studies or work, discipline is a habit of commitment and self-control, which together with personality and behavior, can lead us to achieve our goals.

According to the first meaning of the Royal Spanish Academy , “habit” is the “special way of proceeding or behaving acquired by repetition of the same or similar acts, or originated by instinctive tendencies”.

An internal impulse, not imposed

Scientific studies show that the student learns more the more motivated he is . However, this motivation does not have to depend on an external factor: we must internalize what we are supposed to want to do and what we have decided to do. It is this intrinsic motivation, accompanied by the experience of freedom and autonomy , that counts the most, not the one derived from pressure and control by teachers.

recent study at the University of Huelva on a sample of 938 university students indicated that students “study to have a better future, a secure life, to be competent in their homework and earn money, to be successful in life and also to know… to a lesser extent, they study to be able to help others, for social responsibility, to integrate into society and promote justice, to understand the world, to develop their creativity and to improve their self-confidence”.

Why have we decided to study?

To understand why it is difficult for us to maintain discipline and combat laziness, it is useful to ask ourselves questions such as:

  1. Why am I really studying a university degree ?
  2. What made me enroll?
  3. Am I doing what is supposed to be accepted by society or what I have been advised?
  4. What do I want to learn?

Some authors define Generation Z (those people born with the creation of the internet, between 1994 and 2009) as the generation of immediacy.

Faced with the immediacy in which our lives move, and the daily distractions and impediments that keep us from achieving our goals, it can be easier to fall into conformism or victimhood than to find the strength to be masters of our actions.

Bearing in mind that discipline must be exercised to become stronger, and rejecting the idea of ​​abandoning at the first opportunity are key issues.

The importance of the title

A university degree is something long-term, so you have to be patient. It is not enough to want: you have to dedicate hours of study, a lot of perseverance and focus. Although it may be worth remembering that the title of graduate, master’s or doctor is not the most important thing.

Even admitting that it can be a factor to opt for better paid positions , and that there is still no possibility of measuring all the knowledge that a person accumulates in a job interview. While there are studies that indicate that most jobs will go to those with a higher education , the goal should not make us forget the process. It is the path to obtaining the degree that will make us the person we become, and will allow us to develop skills , attitudes and aptitudes, as well as meet a wide variety of people.

Don’t go to extremes

Everything we do and don’t do has an impact in the short, medium and long term. You don’t always have to do things because you feel like it; rather, we should make them simply because we have to, always questioning whether these decisions bring us closer to our stated objectives.

Asking for more and being demanding of yourself does not have to mean competing with other colleagues, but with yourself. It is not about extreme rigidity: excessive self-control can lead to becoming less spontaneous, flexible, or creative and also to suffering more stress than necessary .

How to regain inspiration

We can all feel lost at some point in our lives and lose rhythm and discipline. However, there are some mechanisms to recover it again. It is about finding the one that best suits our personality:

  1. The emotional drive. Identify what are the emotions that are preventing me from reaching my goal: frustration, fear, guilt… And what are the ones I felt when I enrolled and started my first day of class: joy, hope, triumph, satisfaction … and use these last impulse emotions.
  2. Have references, ask those who have already gone through the same situation as tutors or teachers.
  3. Perform physical exercise.
  4. Do not deny the situation, but face it.
  5. Reading can also make us change our perspective, it can inspire us.
  6. Cheer up with colleagues.
  7. Organize the day, plan, prioritize; Sometimes we think that we have a lack of time, when in reality it is a lack of planning.

Discipline is not a sacrifice, but a personal decision. And one aspect to keep in mind is that “for every discipline there is a multiple reward” , as the American entrepreneur Jim Rohn said .

Author Bio: Console Quintana Red has a PhD in Economics and Business is a Professor and Researcher in the area of ​​Applied Economics at the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of Ciudad Real at the University of Castilla-La Mancha