This post is the first part in a series of posts about the topic of motivation, I’ve named the posts - The Key to Success, because I strongly believe that motivation is essential for one to achieve what they desire. In the series, I’ll be covering three different areas; finding your motivation, using your motivation, and staying motivated. This post is about finding your motivation, but first you should know…
Why We Lose Motivation
We lose motivation because of three things: lack of direction, lack of focus, and lack of confidence.
Lack of Direction:
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
Lack of direction is a fairly common thing, but it’s easily countered. Have you ever started a project, or worked on a certain thing, where you have no idea of what you want to achieve? I’m sure most of us have, and if you haven’t – feel free to apply for a job at a local retail store; you’ll see what I mean. Of course, money can be a major motivator, and it is in many cases – but as humans, we prefer to have something extra, the feeling of achieving something important. Without that extra incentive, it’s hard to find direction. The way to counter this is to find out where you’re headed, where you want to go. There’s nothing wrong with working in a retail store; you can earn good money, but instead of wanting money to spend on clothes, consumables, etc. Have a better reason for making money, maybe it could be saving up to buy that new guitar that you’ve always wanted, or something that will benefit you in more ways that one.
Lack of Focus:
“Always focus on the front windshield and not the rear-view mirror.” – Colin Powell
I’ve always been a firm believer in finishing something roughly, and then fixing it up later – in fact, this very moment I’m typing as fast as possible to get my ideas down. One of the main reasons we lose motivation during something is because we constantly back track, make minor changes; we tell ourselves that it’s important at the time. It isn’t. Always look ahead, it’s far easier to look back over a roughly finished project where you can see the whole thing at once rather than adding something here or there without an idea of the bigger picture. Always focus on the front windshield.
Lack of confidence:
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” – Jordan Belfort
Lack of confidence is a killer, even for the arrogant. For most people it’s the most common reason for not starting something. The fear of rejection is something that no-one likes, so people avoid it. I believe this is the wrong thing to do – you see, with time the fear of rejection slowly passes away. Even if 9 times out of 10 you get rejected, it doesn’t matter, because that one time that you succeed makes it all worth it. I’ve applied for jobs that recommend qualifications that I don’t have, I’ve applied for writing positions far beyond my ability. Was it because I thought I had a chance? Yes, but only a very, very small chance – which made it all worth it. Did I get any of the jobs? No, but now I couldn’t care less about applying for the next one. You can achieve anything you put your mind to, have the, “I’m unstoppable” mindset. It works.
Now that we’ve talked about the reasons for why we lack, or lose motivation, I’d like to move onto inspiration, which I believe is the best way to find inner motivation. Before you get confused, yes, there is a difference between motivation and inspiration. The difference between inspiration and motivation, is that inspiration makes us want to do something, and motivation makes us do it. Inspiration leads to ideas, motivation makes them work.
Inspiration is different for everyone, it can anything from something as simple as a photo to a more specific case such as a video about success. Everyone has different ways of finding inspiration, some try to find it every day, some don’t think they can. Ask yourself the question: Do you feel inspired on a daily basis? If you answered Yes, then you’ve got a head-start - if you answered No, then read this article twice.
Make sure you have multiple sources of inspiration. If you’re not pro-active, and you find that on sunny days you feel motivated to do something, then you’ve got a problem. It’s important to become pro-active, and find other ways of being inspired. I can only tell you what’s inspirational for me, I can’t help you on that part, you have to find out yourself – but generally it will be something that makes you happy. I find inspiration and motivation from comments left on this blog, they encourage me to help more people by writing more posts.
Finding Motivation without Inspiration
Although I believe that finding inspiration is the best way to become motivated, it’s not always possible. There’s been days where I think – you know what? Screw inspiration, I really can’t be bothered looking for any today. So I sit at my chair and stare at the wall, or play PC games that I try and justify by telling myself that they need strategic thinking and I’m doing myself good by playing them; procrastination at it’s finest really.
If you have no inspiration, you can’t expect to output at your best quality – it’s just not going to happen. If you worried that whatever work you do will not be at the standard you want it to be, then don’t do it. I’d recommend productive procrastination, which is something I’ve just started looking into recently. The thing with productive procrastination is that it normally leads to finding some sort of inspiration without you even realizing. So what is it? Say for example, you need to finish an essay, but can’t really be bothered; instead you read some interesting content related to what you’re writing about. This way you’ll enjoy your time, you’ll learn, and you may even find motivation to help finish the essay. An important thing to note, is that productive procrastination can get out of hand really quickly, it’s easy to go from one article to a completely unrelated article on the net – before you know it, you’re playing some ridiculous flash game on a website with advertisements asking you if you like single asian women.
Put pen to paper, literally. Think of one, and only one thing you want to get done. Write this down on the biggest piece of paper you can find, with your biggest writing (it helps to use a permanent marker or something similar), make sure it’s obtrusive and unavoidable. After that, stick it above your work-space. Stare at it for as long as you need, while weighing up the benefits of working vs. Not working, and ask yourself: What do I want more?
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