Finding Motivation: Have you ever hung around, waiting for inspiration to strike?
Maybe you had work to complete that needed
a little more creative thinking, but you weren't feeling it. You might have
even tried various things at the time to find motivation – maybe in scanning
Pinterest for ideas. Or perhaps you looked for inspiration in nature, by taking
Did it work? Chances are, you might have found a dab of motivation wrapped up in inspiration and it might have launched you – for about ten minutes. And then you were back to feeling unmotivated, but now that feeling was coupled with the idea that maybe you just weren’t capable of creativity...or lazy.
The problem is, by seeking out motivation first, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Finding motivation works best when it comes after the action has already started. If that’s the case, then what can you do to get motivated?
(You know I like setting the bar low for myself.) How do you do that? By using the momentum of a project that you're already engaged in, you're able to use your current forward motion to encourage you to keep going. It's the difference between the ‘carrot' and the ‘stick.' Set the bar so low - think of a mini step - that guarantees you will be successful.
In the old classic analogy, to move a donkey forward (donkeys being stubborn creatures) you have two choices. One is to use a stick. In this case, the ‘stick’ is the old way of motivating ourselves, where we try to force ourselves into action by throwing a lot of “You must do this now” statements at ourselves.
But in starting action first, we now switch over to the ‘carrot’ or the reward. This method of motivation is much more positive because you’re looking at the fact that you’re already doing something and asking yourself to keep going. Think, “Hooray for you! Look at how much you’ve gotten done today, let’s see how much more you can do!”
The problem is, sometimes action alone isn’t doing it, and we’re still forcing ourselves along. That’s where the second method comes into play.
B. Act "As-if”
The idea behind this method is simple – you act like you’re already motivated, and amazingly, you’ll feel motivated. It’s kind of like making yourself smile when you’re not happy, only to find out once you’re smiling that you’re feeling happier.
Together these two tools will motivate you even when you're not feeling inspired initially. Remember that action is the key. So act first – finding motivation will follow. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
My favorite scene in American Beauty is when Ricky Fitts shows his video of a plastic bag blowing in the wind.
Ricky seems inspired by everyday items (and people) doing everyday things. He explains of his bag video:
“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes.
And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember—and I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”
Has your muse been absent lately? Do you feel unmotivated about your job or your business? Use the following tips to help bring your muse back to inspiring you.
1. Read Profiles of Successful People
Don’t try to do
everything on your own. Finding motivation from people who have gone through the
pain and effort of what you want to accomplish. Use their success, and more
importantly, their failures, to draw inspiration
2. Open Your Eyes to People Around You (And Even More)
get so caught up in their day-to-day activities that they don’t see what others
around them are doing. Many times, these other people are doing extraordinary things, and we can use them for our own inspiration. You can do this both at work
and in your community. People are always doing amazing things. It just takes
some observation to see it.
3. Revisit Your Own Past
Most people have accomplishments they have forgotten about. Try to remember what you have done in the past that excited and inspired you. Sometimes, just thinking about them can inspire you for your present life and help you as you explore finding motivation.
4. Keep a Journal
You never know when your muse is going to pay you a visit. When you get an inspiring idea, if you don’t write it down, you will forget. It can be something as simple as a small notebook with a pen attached. You could also use a smart device for this purpose. Just make sure you carry it around with you wherever you go.
5. Rely on Hard Work
Inspiration alone will not get much done. When you work hard at something, you will often find the work itself inspires you. People often find different ways to do things simply by performing the tasks in their job.
Sometimes, they try something they haven’t tried before, and it works out in ways they would never have imagined. This only happens because they chose to work hard at their jobs.
6. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone (I know...I don't like this one,either!)
If you interrupt your brain from its normal way of thinking, it will think in ways you have never thought about before. Try to step outside your comfort zone. Do activities that you, and others, would not consider normal for you. When you do this, you are causing your brain to generate new neural pathways. This is a great method to become inspired.
7. Watch Videos on YouTube
Try to find videos that are inspirational or teach something. This is not about watching videos of cats playing with each other or doing other cute things. There are plenty of stories about people who have overcome adversity. This gets the creative process flowing.
8. Make Lemonade out of Lemons
Granted, this is a bit cliché. But, the message is clear. Try to always turn problems into opportunities. You will never know until you try.
Never stop being an explorer...
You are what you feed yourself. I'm not just talking about your body. You are what you feed your mind, as well. Talk to yourself. You're a whole package!
I encourage you to take a look in the Self-Help Shop for more ingredients to boost your body and your mind.