People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
If you want to excel in life, self motivation is essential. You must know how to motivate yourself. You must be able to keep your spirit high no matter how discouraging a situation is. That’s the only way to get the power you need to overcome difficulties. Those who are discouraged in difficult times are certain to lose even before the battle is over.
The question is: how do you motivate yourself? Here are several tips I’ve found to be effective to build self motivation:
1. Have a cause
I can’t think of a more powerful source of motivation than a cause you care about. Such cause can inspire you to give your best even in the face of difficulties. It can make you do the seemingly impossible things.
While other causes could inspire you temporarily, a cause that matters to you can inspire you indefinitely. It’s a spring of motivation that will never dry. Whenever you think that you run out of motivation, you can always come to your cause to get a fresh dose of motivation.
2. Have a dream. A big dream.
Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.
Your cause is a powerful source of motivation but it’s still abstract in nature. You need to make it concrete in the form of a dream. Imagine how the world will be in the future. Imagine how people will live and work.
Having a dream is important because it’s difficult to be motivated if you don’t have anything to shoot for. Just think about people who play basketball. Will they be motivated to play if there is no basket to aim at? I don’t think so. They need a goal. You need a goal. That’s what your dream is for.
But just having a dream is insufficient. Your dream must be big enough to inspire you. It must be realistic but challenging. It must stretch your ability beyond your comfort zone.
3. Be hungry
Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.
To be truly motivated, you need to have hunger and not just desire. Having mere desire won’t take you through difficult times since you don’t want things badly enough. In many cases, hunger makes the difference between the best performers and the mediocre ones.
How can you have hunger? Your cause and your dream play a big role here. If you have a cause you care about and a big dream related to it, you should have the hunger inside of you. If you think that you are losing hunger, all you need to do is to connect again to your cause and dream. Let them inspire you and bring the hunger back.
4. Run your own race
I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.
Comparing yourself with others is an effective way to demotivate yourself. Even if you start with enthusiasm, you will soon lose your energy when you compare yourself with others.
Don’t let that happen to you. You have your own race so how other people perform is irrelevant. Comparing yourself with others is like comparing the performance of a swimmer with a runner using the same time standard. They are different so how can you compare one with the other?
The only competitor you have is yourself. The only one you need to beat is you. Have you become the best you can be?
5. Take one more step
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
When you meet obstacles along the way, there could be the tendency to quit. You may think that it’s too difficult to move on. You may think that your dream is impossible to achieve. But this is where you can see the difference between winners and losers. Though both of them face the same difficulties, there is one thing that makes the winners different: the courage to continue.
In difficult situations, just focus on taking one more step forward. Don’t think about how to complete the race. Don’t think about how many more obstacles are waiting for you. Just focus on taking the next step.
6. Let go of the past
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Believe it or not, one of the best demotivators is your past. Your past can drag you down before you realize it. Your past can give you a heavy burden on your shoulders.
The good news is it’s a burden you don’t have to carry. Take it off your shoulder and leave it. You might make mistakes in the past. You might disappoint others with what you did. But it’s over. It’s already in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Today is a new day and you have the chance to start again. No matter how bad your past might be, you still have a bright future ahead waiting for you. Just don’t let the burden of the past stop you.
Apply these tips and motivate yourself. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Let your self motivation take you to excellence.
This article is part of October 2008 theme: Winning Attitude
The archive at this website has over 700 entries. That’s a lot of reading, so even if you enjoy the articles here, there are probably quite a few articles you’ve missed over the last 3.5 years.
So, I’ve compiled a list of the best 20 motivation articles on the website.
The Top Three
I realize that 20 articles (at about 1000 words per article) is a lot of reading material. So here are the top three I would read if you’re too busy to look through all twenty:
- What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?
- Walk Your Talk… One Step at a Time
- Sprinting Theory: How to Have Self-Discipline on Steroids
The Top Twenty
And, now, my picks for the best 20 motivation articles at ScottHYoung.com:
- Average Doesn’t Mean Secure. Just because it’s common, that doesn’t mean it’s not risky. Many people fall into the misconception that if a lot of people are doing something, it must be the safest path.
- Walk Slowly So You Don’t Trip. The more time you give yourself to complete a goal, the more likely you’ll achieve it. By undertaking new goals with deliberate slowness, you increase the chance you can achieve lasting success.
- How to Discover What You’re Passionate About. Enjoying playing video games isn’t the same as spending thousands of hours designing your own. Your passion has to be something you would work exceptionally hard for. So what do you do, if there is nothing you feel that engaged about?
- What Do You Want to Do With Your Life? What do you want to do with your life? It’s a question almost everyone asks themselves. It’s also a question I don’t believe you should bother asking in the first place.
- The Zen of Folding Laundry, and Other Thoughts on Happiness. How to stop resisting life and accept things.
- Overcoming the Frustration Barrier. When is the last time you went ballroom dancing, made a speech, learned a new language, took up karate or even cooked a new exotic food? When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone?
- You Suck. Get Over It. Life isn’t a steady escalator. Sometimes getting better requires that you first get a lot worse. If you can’t admit to yourself that you suck at something, chances are it will hold you back from future improvements.
- The Quickest Route is Usually the Boldest. What’s a faster way to become a great public speaker: works slowly, giving a small speech every month, or finding the time and courage to tackle a big crowd every day. Tony Robbins, perhaps one of the world’s best known public speakers gave three speeches a day when he was starting out.
- How to Stop Making Excuses. How often do you catch yourself making excuses? Instead of doing something, you come up with ways to explain your inaction?
- Sprinting Theory: How to Have Self-Discipline on Steroids. Using this concept has been incredibly useful in breaking through my own laziness.
- Walk Your Talk… One Step at a Time. Imperfections are part of life. I think it’s sad that some people feel that because being perfectly consistent with your values is impossible, that there is no point trying to debug the inconsistencies.
- Arete: The Meaning of Life. Arete is an ancient Greek word meaning excellence or virtue. Using arete as a principle for living life means that you are focused on the quality of everything you do and experience.
- The Laziest Solution Possible. Laziness is a fairly underrated virtue. It’s synonym made the short list of deadly sins (sloth) and it is often seen as the major culprit behind a lack of success (he’s smart but he lacks discipline). I happen to think the opposite.
- How to Not Want Things and Still Be Happy. Focus on the process to stay happy, even when you don’t get what you want.
- Be Ambitious With Goals, Not Deadlines. I’ve always found that if you want to know how long something will take, ask someone who has already done it. Sounds obvious, but few people do it.
- Itchy Chair Motivation. I think this principle is true of a lot of things: when everything is going perfectly, fewer things get done.
- Avoiding Motivation Burnout. You don’t start a marathon by sprinting the first mile. So why try to run your life that way?
- Ask for What You Want. The key reason confidence is so powerful and magnetic is simple, confident people ask for what they want.
- If You Aren’t Getting Hate Mail, Your Writing Probably Sucks. It’s only the ideas that are new, involve risks or push boundaries that get hate mail. Those are also the ideas that change the world.
- How to Measure Your Degree of Persistence. How long would you be willing to work on a project, without being able to see any results from your efforts?
Thanks for reading, and making it possible for me to write for the last three years!
Filed Under: Courage, GoalsTagged With: archive, motivation, repost