Why motivation sucks, and what to do about it


Do you have goals and dreams, things you really want, but you just can’t seem to get started?

Perhaps it’s because you just don’t feel very motivated. You say to yourself – maybe I’ll feel it tomorrow – I’ll do something then.

But then one day, one week later - you just can’t seem to feel motivated enough to get going.

Seriously, what’s the problem?

The problem is motivation sucks.

Motivation is unreliable. It can be affected by trivial things like hunger or tiredness. And often how motivated we feel is even outside of our control. Jocko Willink, the master of productivity said it perfectly on the Tim Ferris show

 

“Accomplishing your goals is not about motivation…motivation is fickle, (it) comes and goes.  So when you’re counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished, you’re likely going to fall short.”

 

So when we rely on motivation to take action, most of us end up not doing very much.

And this is where the problem lies. Not that we don’t feel enough motivation, but that we rely on it in the first place.

So what can we do instead? We need to review how we think motivation works.

 
 

HOW MOTIVATION REALLY WORKS 


Most of us think motivation works like this.

It’s a catch 22 of sorts. But motivation doesn’t work like this. It’s actually an endless loop.

Motivation isn’t a one-way straight line. It doesn’t only ever come before action. Instead it’s actually a circular loop. Action can come before motivation. Action can CREATE motivation.

Basically, regardless of what you want to get motivated about, taking action is always a healthy answer.
  • Instead of thinking - “I need to get motivated to take action”

  • We want to start thinking – “I need to take action to get motivated”

 

It’s easier to act yourself into feeling the way you want, than it is to feel yourself into acting the way you want.

 

Therefore – if you lack motivation to do anything in your life – the answer is simply to do something.

 
 

THE “DO SOMETHING” PRINCIPLE 


Borrowing the phrase from Mark Manson, the “Do Something” principle states, when you have a goal but you are feeling unmotivated – simply do something, ANYTHING.

If your goal is to start a business – start brainstorming business names. If your goal is to develop your skills – take a course. If your goal is to get fit – sign up to the gym.

Whatever your goal is – just pick something and do it – and motivation will come.

How? There’s some actual science behind it, and from one of the most famous scientists no less – Newton. Newton’s first law states that “Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.”

And so applying this to the ’physics of productivity’ – when we start taking action, no matter how small we naturally produce momentum.

To quote another famous academic, Mark Mason’s math teacher - “If you don’t know how to do a problem, start writing something down, your brain will begin to figure it out as you go.”

When we take action, our brain naturally inspires new thoughts and ideas, but these new insights will never come if we simply sit around not doing anything.

 
 

But wait, surely it can’t be that simple? 


Yes, yes it is my friend.

The most common reason we get stuck in procrastination is because we keep repeating the same pattern over and over again – doing nothing. And just as Newton’s first law states – when we stay at rest, well we tend to continue to stay at rest - in do nothing land.

But when we apply the ‘Do Something’ principle, and simply take action in the direction we want to go – we start building momentum and kick starting the motivation -> action cycle.

Personally I’ve used this principle many times over with myself and my clients. Take for example this article. Truth be told it took me 2 weeks to get started writing, (hey we're all human right?). My goal was to start our business blog. But it had been a few years since I wrote articles, so I found myself procrastinating on how to get started.

Until I remembered the ‘Do Something’ principle. So I told myself I’ll just start researching how to write. Which led me to practicing what I was learning. And then 3 hours later I was writing this whole article.

Many famous writers often swear by this rule for fighting through ‘writer's block’ – that if they can just write 200 crappy words, more often than not – the act of writing will build momentum – and before they knew it, they had written thousands of words on the page.

 

 

CONCLUSION 


So how you feeling after reading all that? Feeling motivated? Yes, No?

Doesn’t matter – because now you have a sure-fire principle, regardless of how motivated you feel, to tackle your goals every time.

So go on, pick one thing – and just do something!


Will you try the ‘Do Something’ principle? Let us know in the comments below.

 


 

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