Staying Motivated Is Not Possible

I recently met with Emory MBA students who wanted to interview me for their entrepreneurship class. In order to prepare for that interview I had been in a introspective mood during my trip to California last week. I was thinking primarily about what it was that motivates me to do what I do daily. I’ve always been extremely introspective and quite self-critical. In my experience. being critical of yourself is helpful but can also make you feel disappointed that you were unable to achieve certain goals that you laid out for yourself in your head but never put on paper. My poor friend Jai has witnessed these wild swings where I appear to be at the top of the world when my productivity is maximized and my goals are being realized. He’s also witnessed my frustrations when I’ve been down in the dumps because some artificial goals centered around not having “made it” yet have not been met.

I’ve always wondered why those swings occur. I’ve always wondered why I’ve been unsuccessful at counteracting the downward swing. I’ve attempted to prop myself up with videos (mostly of Steve Jobs or re-watching The Social Network) and by browsing books during the lull but the downward slope doesn’t change. It seems that I can’t reverse it midstream.

Tonight I saw a video explaining why this happens.

I consider myself a high performer and generally a high achiever. I’ve been following the most awesome ABCD in the world since 2005 – Ramit Sethi. Ramit has been talking about top performers, high achievers, and motivation for years. I’ve taken his Earn1K course and re-taken it a few times when I am jonesing for guidance. His material is just amazing. Everything he does is extremely well thought out and is exceptionally executed. How is he able to execute so consistently? And like my mom would say if my mom knew his parents: “WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE LIKE HIM?”

Well god damn it, I am going to figure this out. I’ve been watching his interviews closely. He’s got something up his sleeve… it’s his systems approach to life. His material covers systems for personal finance but he also revealed in his Staying Motivated lesson in Earn1K how he accepts the downward swing and how he tackles whatever he can during the lull. I heard the lesson but I didn’t listen. I probably was going through the lesson during a high motivational period and didn’t find that planning for the lull was relevant. So I probably just filed it away in my back of my head – because I didn’t understand why it was important at the time.

Today I found his source for that lesson – He built that lesson around his mentor’s findings… One of Ramit’s teachers/mentors at Stanford was BJ Fogg. I only started reading about BJ tonight and I’ve watched only two videos so far. In one of these two videos I heard Ramit’s favorite word of late: Disproportionate. Since hearing Ramit use this word, I’ve also fell in love with it. His sales pitch for his No Stress Negotiation class was centered around how top performers get disproportionate results and therefore deserve disproportionate pay. I couldn’t agree more.

BJ’s video on motivation explained the peaks and troughs: The periods of extreme productivity and the periods of sorrow where I bitch to Jai. BJ says that he’s not a fan of amp-ing motivation during the downward slope. There’s my answer to why I too can’t reverse the lull once it’s underway. He explains that he likes to do things that reduce barriers during the highs so that in the lulls you can execute on tiny steps and baby steps. That big leaps almost always fail… Ramit goes into a lot more detail in the Staying Motivated lesson. For whatever reason I had not put the tiny steps list together yet. And since I am now in the highly motivated zone it’s time to plan for the lull to keep pushing forward.

I started this blog to help me with a few things. I want to improve my writing (copywriting and general writing), I want to organize the ridiculous ideas in my head which I think will help me generate even more revenue, and I want to become more accountable to my boss – myself.

Tomorrow I plan on re-listening to the Staying Motivated lesson and will put together 5 baby steps that I can execute on when the lull comes. That lull is forecasted to arrive in 2 weeks.

-N

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