How to Stay Motivated
In yesterday’s essay we talked about the three big emotions driving sales:
1. Positive Expectancy
What your customers say they want (money, health, happiness), is not always what they actually want. Most of the time your customers are looking for validation that if they wanted to achieve these life goals they could, using one of your products.
As you can imagine, this mindset kills motivation driving real change, so today we’re going to talk about what keeps us motivated.
A few weeks ago, Early to Rise published an article by ZenHabits.net author, Leo Babauta. In the article, Babauta shares 8 experiments to test your motivation.
What caught my attention wasn’t the experiments but the story Babauta shares at the beginning:
I was talking to a 19-year-old recently and he has been struggling with motivation.
His problem goes like this: he gets excited about starting a project or plan, and is very motivated at the start … but after a few days, that feeling dies down, and he starts procrastinating.
He really does want to do the project or follow through on the plan, but the motivation inevitably drops away.
I told him this is something he should devote some effort to figuring out, because very few problems are as important to solve as this one.
I can relate to this 19-year-old so I don’t take Babauta’s advice lightly. For practical steps to solving your motivation problem, read the full article here.
If you’re interested in the “why” behind your lack of motivation, I recommend reading Eric Barker’s article How to Be Motivated: 4 New Insights from Research.
Barker’s focus is on staying motivated in your job but I believe a lot of his insights are applicable outside of work. Here’s a quick summary from Barker:
Being too focused on rewards is demotivating in the long term. You need more than just money and other “carrots” to keep yourself going day-in, day-out at a job. Be careful not to pick jobs based solely on money. Research shows it’s one of the biggest career regrets. And don’t think that a pay raise or promotion is a long term solution to lack of motivation if you aren’t interested in what you’re doing.
What should you look for in a job if you want to feel motivated? Remember “AMP.”
Autonomy: Look for places where you’ll have freedom to get things done your way as long as you achieve the boss’s objectives. Avoid micromanagers.
Mastery: Where will you learn, improve and grow at something that is meaningful to you?
Purpose: Will you be contributing to a big important cause? Or will you be doing something where you feel your contribution is important?
Track your progress. It’s the most motivating thing there is and most companies are terrible at doing it for you. Your career is like a video game: keep leveling up.
Note your small wins. Tracking only major annual accomplishments is disastrous for happiness and motivation. Even those tiny wins that move the ball forward should get noted. That’s what gives you the energy to keep hacking away.
“Intrinsic” motivation rules. Make sure you’re doing things that are personally meaningful to you and you’ll find you accomplish way more than your peers who are just thinking about the shallow stuff. Ignoring the rewards can be the path to getting them.
That last one is a biggie. Barker concludes by sharing this quote by Neil DeGrasse Tyson which I believe summarizes intrinsic motivation perfectly:
The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
Success Formula Daily