When you are all fired up and excited about the thing you are planning to do, little motivation is needed.
Tony Robbins, motivational speaker, life coach and personal finance instructor, recently said that the best predictor of success in people is their hunger or, in other words, their passion towards whatever they are doing. Basically, according to Tony, it all boils down to this: How bad do you want it?
While I definitely agree with Tony on this one, I need to say that I don’t personally know anyone who always looks excited and passionate about their goals. Unfortunately, ups and downs in motivation may happen even when we are pursuing our most ambitious, most exciting goals. Goals, large goals in particular, may take a long time, perhaps years to achieve, and it can be very challenging to stay in this excited “hungry” state that is supposedly necessary for our success. Then there are other, not-so-exciting things we have to do. Maybe we don’t feel very motivated to do these things, but we surely would love the results. So what do we do? How do we motivate ourselves when we would rather chill in front of the television?
You need a proven system that works
When it comes to large goals, financial goals in particular, the problem is often not what you think. It’s not your laziness or lack of motivation. It’s the lack of a clear plan that, when executed, will bring predictable results. In other words, you aren’t sure what you are supposed to do. You are still in that frustrating “throw spaghetti against the wall and see if it sticks” stage. It can be pretty discouraging when this stage lasts for too long, but it’s most often the case.
Let’s pretend that you decided to open an online store. You have a nice little product to ship, and you know you can get interested buyers to your site for as little as $0.50 per click using Google Adwords advertising platform.
All excited, you start your little experiment. Everything is so easy, your site is online, your shopping cart is ready, people are clicking on your ads. After a few hours you get your first sale. It’s working! Then you wait for another few hours and… nothing. You continue running your ads through the next day and… nothing again. Three days in, you are confused. You’ve already spent tons of money only to make one measly sale. You are actually losing. Nerve-racking, isn’t it?
Then when you are about to quit, you make four sales in one day, and then another couple of days without any profit follow. At this point, you are so confused that you decide to quit. Not that it’s not working (it is), but your results are unpredictable. This isn’t a proven system that brings predictable results. Staying motivated in this situation is very challenging.
Compare that to someone who made their plan, found their perfect ads and advertising medium, figured out who are their perfect customers and where they live, and now is able to target them with laser-like precision. Once the plan works in their favor, they can scale it all up and reach their desired income level. Would this person have problems with motivation? No way! Once the system is in place, little motivation is needed. The real question is how to stay motivated when you are in that “throw spaghetti against the wall and see if it sticks” stage trying to figure out what works.
“While we are postponing, life speeds by.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Surviving the initial stages
Just like willpower, motivation doesn’t last very long for most people. You need to find a more reliable way to help yourself get through the beginning stages of your project. It is not going to be easy, but it’s doable.
Here are 4 ideas to help your motivation level:
1. Educate yourself
A lot of mistakes we do in the beginning is because of the lack of knowledge and experience. How do we tackle that? By educating ourselves of course! Although there obviously is initial time and energy in the investment, it will save you time, money and other resources in the long run. There is another benefit to educating yourself too, things become much more interesting and fun when you know what you are doing. Once you reach that stage, you get what you were looking for; the natural motivation.
2. Surround yourself with people who do something similar
Not only can you learn from them, but you can support each other when things don’t go as expected. In addition, you will be less likely to quit because of the sense of social accountability. You will be embarrassed to acknowledge your failures, and you don’t fail unless you quit.
“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
3. Consider the cost of inaction
Sometimes the cost of inaction may exceed the costs of making a mistake. As Tim Ferriss has pointed out, don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It’s equally important to evaluate the downside of inaction as well. Are you going to be satisfied with the decision to leave the things the way they are now five or ten years from now? Is your life miserable? Are you bored and uninspired? Be honest with yourself; denial, even optimistic denial, is rarely a good strategy to deal with the challenges in your life.
4. Deal with procrastination
Many things you will have to do are not going to be fun, and you will be tempted to procrastinate. Simply getting started and committing to work for a short period of time will almost always do the trick. What will happen is that you will usually end up working for much longer than expected, accomplishing much more.
To sum up what has been mentioned above, in many cases the lack of motivation is not the real problem. Motivation can be too fickle to be reliable. What you need is a good understanding of what has to be done, what will bring you predictable results and a good strategy that will help you survive the initial learning and testing stages.