What’s Your Motivation?
The single biggest reason cited for not competing tasks is the lack of motivation. If you’re like everybody else in the entire universe (and you are) then at one point or another you will lack the motivation to do something. Welcome to the club. There are about 6 billion human members plus a few million animals as well (that’s right animals can be lazy too). This may not be a regular problem for you (and kudos to you my friend if that’s the case) but for many students, ‘lacking motivation’ can be a real pain in the butt.
When you don’t have the proper motivation to complete something, it can quickly become a painful and cumbersome chore – rather than a fairly straightforward task. Why? Well, when you feel ‘motivated’, it’s easy to stay focused over a long period of time and work diligently towards your goal. However, when you are not feeling ‘motivated’ you will have virtually zero focus and the chances you will even start the task are minuscule (and if you do start it you will probably just sit at your desk doodling in your text book about how you ‘heart’ such and such…) Sound about right?
Either that or it will require someone threatening you with something before you’ll get started on your work (like a parent taking away your iPad or a teacher removing you from the class). That’s not a great way to get motivated! We don’t want that for you. We want you to be positively inspired each and every day. ‘Yeah right, good luck with that!’ (you may be thinking) but we’re not kidding, and we’re relentless…we’ll inspire you. Oh yes we will.
How Do I ‘Get’ Motivated?
‘Getting’ motivated is a process – it’s not something you can ‘trick’ yourself in to. It’s also not something that comes naturally for most people. Motivation is not something you just create instantly and then hold on to for more than a few minutes, hours or days. Serious motivation (as in you wake up every day and you’re motivated, not once in a blue moon) is a pursuit that is well worthwhile, but it’s also something that can’t be faked. Bummer huh…am I right?
Fear of Consequences
Generally, motivation comes in the form of fear. As in, what will happen if I don’t complete this task? What will happen if I don’t hand in my paper on time? What will happen if I don’t do what my parents say? What will happen if I don’t go to school? It’s the fear of negative consequences that really motivates us as a human race. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. But it’s the way we are conditioned to behave. Why? Because it creates order. If there was no deadline and no consequence for not handing a paper in on time, would we ever even hand it in? Would we even start the stinking paper? Would anyone ever do anything they didn’t want to do? Yes? No? Don’t know? Fear of negative consequences has its place in the world. It’s important in its own way – however it should absolutely not be the ultimate reason for you to do whatever it is you do. It should not dictate your behavior. That’s not living. That’s ‘existing’.
Acting Out Of Possibility
Whilst ‘existing’ may work for you for a period of time (and for many people it works for their entire lives) it doesn’t both work and lead to a positive approach to life. The motivation we want for you is one where you want to complete tasks for positive reasons. It’s one where you don’t act out of fear, but instead you act out of possibilities. You act out of the possibility of what doing the task may bring to your life. The possibility of wealth, health and prosperity. This is the entire foundation for positive motivation – and the real kicker is that it’s more powerful than any form of negative motivation could ever be. Interested? Let’s take a look at what you need to do to act out of possibility.
What do you believe you can realistically achieve? It is vitally important to not underestimate nor overestimate what you are capable of. Why? Well if you underestimate yourself then you are not really pushing yourself and you are allowing yourself to achieve less than what you are truly capable of. You are not challenging yourself. You are not setting expectations that make you work hard. You are just in a funk. Equally, if you set expectations that are clearly impossible to achieve then it will only serve to demotivate you when you don’t achieve them – which will happen if they are not realistic.
What are your strengths? By understanding the ways in which you display power and are at your most comfortable and self-expressed, you can more easily establish what you are capable of. When you know the things that come easily to you, you will know which things will not require your motivation to complete.
What are your weaknesses? By identifying what your weaknesses are you can actually seek to take positive action to address them. If you don’t know what they are, you can’t…can you? So think about them. Make a list. What actions can you take to address them? What behaviors do you need to change? What can you do to actively attack your weaknesses and try to turn them into your strengths?
What can you do to restructure your timetable to avoid activities that involve your weaknesses? (you don’t always have to attack weaknesses) In what areas of life will you be unlikely to have much motivation based on your weaknesses? For example, if you struggle with numbers and formulas, you could seek to address it, or you could seek to avoid it. But by continuing along doing Maths and Science classes and achieving very little (and getting very frustrated), you will only serve to demotivate yourself and lower your confidence.
Plan For Failure
When failure occurs (and it does for everyone – remember the story of Thomas Edison?) you need to be ready. You need to have a plan of attack. Don’t allow failure to be an unexpected freak out moment. Expect it. Accept it. Understand it. Address it. That’s the powerful approach to failure. If you allow failure to rattle you and throw you off your game, then that will define you as a person.
You will be allowing it to control you and dictate to you. Instead, understand that it happens all the time and so realize that it will also happen to you. However, that doesn’t mean you have to like it! So when it does happen, what will you do to address is? What can you learn from it? Was it because of a lack of knowledge? Was it lack of effort? Was it flawed study strategies? What can you do differently next time? Be honest in your assessment of the challenge. Did you really do everything you possibly could have done? Did you really work as hard as you could have? If you did, it may be the way that you approach your work that is problem. Did you use every possible strategy there is? Do you know what works best for you? If you are being honest, did you actually get the outcome you deserved? Remember to be honest when doing this.
It’s far too easy to blame others (or other external factors) for your outcomes and achievements (and many many many people do this). It’s also a very weak position to take. It means you are saying ‘I am not in control of what I achieve – it’s all about other factors’. What does that really tell you about yourself? Let me guess, you don’t have the time, the energy, you feel sick or you’re too moody to do the work required. Big whoop. You’re a blamer. You don’t want to be responsible for what you achieve – just in case what you achieve isn’t very good. Right? However, when you understand that you do control your achievements and every outcome is merely a triumph or failure of your application to the task you will be far more in control of your life – and far more motivated to do the best you can possibly do. Why? Well, when you stop blaming and start taking full responsibility for what happens to you – a powerful driving force will come over you – you will have realized that your destiny is in your own hands – and no one else’s. Nothing is a more highly motivating factor than that realization – the realization of control over destiny.
Establish What Is Useful To You
If you believe completing a task (or an assignment etc) will be useful to you, you will naturally place a higher value on its completion. If you feel a task has no benefits to you and/or it bores you, it will be extremely difficult to find any level of motivation required to complete it. Have you ever heard people say ‘how will doing this help me become a [insert profession here]?’ The reason we say that is because we can’t see the relevance of the task – and guess what, sometimes the tasks have no relevance at all! But that’s not the point. The point is that completing this task should take you one step closer to your ultimate ambition. It’s not about the task itself – it’s about the overall outcome. Isn’t it? Sure you can say to yourself, ‘I want to get good grades’ but the real driving force is what the good grades will result in.
Getting into a good college, a good university, getting a good job, building your own business are all reasons to complete mundane tasks (or if you are being truly honest what you are really trying to do is give yourself the best chance to live the life you want to live – aren’t you?). Do you really want to work hard every day for the rest of your life? No? Would you prefer to work for 10 years and then retire and do as you please? Yes? No? Don’t know? If you don’t know the ultimate ambition, then you won’t be able to motivate yourself to complete each individual (and often painful) task. Once you know why you are doing something, the how becomes only a matter of course, not an unmovable obstacle.
Establish What Interests You
Don’t make this too hard for yourself. If you have an interest in something then you should pursue it to the exclusion of those things that don’t interest you. You are far more likely to complete tasks that you like, have an interest in or ‘come easily’ to you. When you enjoy a certain subject, you are likely to enjoy the reading and study required for its completion. Therefore, do what you love and love what you do. Don’t pursue certain fields because you ‘think you should’ or because others tell you that ‘you must’. No one lives your life but you. Others can guide you; but you are the ultimate decision maker and you are the one that is ultimately responsible for what happens and where your life leads. Do you think your parents or your friends will take responsibility for where your life goes? No, they will expect you to take responsibility even if they influenced you.
Don’t be a martyr. If you complete a task or you achieve a good grade, give yourself a pat on the back! You deserve it. Don’t pretend it’s no big deal. Get happy. Shout yourself a diet coke. You should feel pride. Your ambition should be strengthened. You should spend time reminding yourself that your effort will result in the outcome you want if you pursue them hard enough, and smart enough, for long enough. What you want to achieve is always possible and when a little milestone is achieved, it’s time to reward yourself. You should also make sure that the reward is something worthwhile, not some token gesture to yourself. Remember, you don’t want to link good grades and completion of tasks to rewards alone, but adding rewards in is a nice thing to do for yourself.
So What’s Possible?
Ultimately, what you get out of your life will be a reflection of what you put in – but it will also reflect how willing you were to do things smart – not simply hard. Earlier, we introduced the idea of wealth, health and prosperity. What do these words mean to you? Do they mean being rich? Do they mean being super fit and eating salads? Do they mean having lots of amazing people around you in your life? Hopefully, it means a little of everything. What you need to determine is what really matters…to you.
What does wealth, health and prosperity mean to you? You need to have an ambition about your life in order to create the motivation to take charge of your life. With no ambition comes no driving force. And we all know what happens to those people. They sit on the couch eating chips and watching soap operas day in and day out. The only question you need to ask yourself is whether that is what you dream for yourself? Is that what you aspire to? Or do you aspire to something more? You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do with your life, you just need to make the choice that whatever you will you do with it will be what you want to do, and not as a result of anything but that possibility.