Motivation – a cornerstone of success. An invisible hand, pushing (or pulling) us closer to our goals.
Motivation “flows” through everything. Personal goals, health, success; even talent can be hacked through motivation.
Take for instance our career. Studies suggest that motivation and optimism define one’s career. In other words, first we get optimistic about a particular career path, then we use motivation to “make things happen.”
So how can we take control of the process and achieve insane motivation?
Trick #1: Be selfish (and grateful)
“You have to be selfish with the time you have left and grateful for the time you’ve had.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
At first, you might be surprised to see the words “selfish” and “grateful” in the same sentence (I know I was). But as Gary describes it in his article on what it takes to stay motivated and hungry, selfishness and gratitude can go hand in hand.
First, Gary invites us to consider time as the one and most valuable assets we have. But time is limited, so if we want to stay motivated and focused, we need to get our priorities straight.
What’s interesting is that money, although an important aspect of our day-to-day life, doesn’t play a significant role in this trick.
In fact, if we listen to what science has to say, materialism does not pay. Researchers who conducted studies on roughly one thousand students have concluded that:
“Materialism was positively related to amotivation.”
To put it briefly – Be selfish with your time, not your money.
Second, Gary talks about the importance of gratitude. In other words, to be grateful for all the good moments you had. All those moments of greatness that have motivated you to push harder and achieve any goal.
So, being selfish (and grateful) boils down to – prioritizing our goals above all else and being grateful for our past success.
Trick #2: Turn your needs into desires
One of the smartest questions we should ask ourselves before taking on a new project is – why do I want to do this? Is it something that I have to do? Am I genuinely interested in that particular activity/task?
From a recent study on goal motivation and our subjective perception of obstacles we find that we can divide motivation into two different types:
- Want-to motivation is when we’re genuinely interested in a particular activity or task.
- Have-to motivation is when we do something we’re not passionate about (like washing the dishes).
And what did the authors find?
Well, they discovered that unlike have-to motivation, “want-to motivation leads to perceiving fewer obstacles in the future.”
A need is something we have to do; a desire is something we want to do. That is the difference between have-to and want-to motivation.
In order for us to create a want-to motivation style, we can either find a passion we think is worth investing our time and energy in, or try to rephrase our current goal and create the desire. Perhaps the current task doesn’t give a lot of motivation, but if one focuses on results, it creates desire which can quickly change our perspective.
Let’s look at twin brothers John and Jake. Both are married, work a fairly tedious job and have two kids. John doesn’t like his job, has no passion for it, is constantly looking for alternatives, and usually comes home from work tired and bored. Jake, who also doesn’t find the work fun in itself, is immensely passionate about his kids. And he knows that every hour he works goes straight into paying for a good life for his children. He is happy about his job because he knows the results are worth it. He might not love every minute, but he loves the results it creates.
Who do you think is the most productive and motivated of the two? Are you doing something boring to create something better for yourself? Focus on that and see your motivation skyrocket.
So, to increase motivation, either find something you are passionate about or rephrase your current circumstances and create motivation.
Trick #3: Use “group” motivation
Nowadays, the Internet has made it easy for people to share ideas and opinions. We can even support one other with a dose of moral boost.
A kind word or even a small pep talk from a fellow “player” can do miracles for our motivation, especially during those “I don’t feel like doing anything” moments.
Since we’re all social creatures who need to interact with each other on a regular basis, groups can be powerful motivational tools.
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
– Oprah Winfrey
As Oprah points out, not every group (or person) can be an “oasis of motivation” we can rely on when the going gets tough.
We need to find like-minded people who can keep our spirits up and help us make that extra push.
Sometimes, a friendly “thumbs up” can do a lot for our motivation, other times it’s a bit of playful competition that helps us achieve goals.
To sum up:
- Put your goals above all else.
- Switch to a want-to motivation style by focusing your passions.
- Join an online community. Get involved with others!