There’s a misconception about motivation. I hear people say all the time that “motivation isn’t important”.
Why are people downplaying the importance of motivation?
I think it’s because they’ve been misguided.
There are a plethora of reasons why, such as motivational speakers or motivational videos on social media, but I would like to challenge you to embrace this article with a beginner's mindset and forget everything you know about motivation.
Simply put, motivation is the reason for doing something. (Which is very similar to the definition of purpose).
There are two types of motivation - intrinsic and extrinsic (internal and external). These two then branch off into subtopics, which we’ll cover in another article.
The greatest form of motivation though is intrinsic motivation and it’s what we all want and strive for. While there’s a place for extrinsic motivation, we’re hardwired to seek out intrinsic motivation.
You can see intrinsic motivation in several ways:
I live the majority of my life through intrinsic motivation.
I’d rather spend my time on earth doing stuff that I love and loving what I do, than wasting my precious time doing things that aren’t meaningful to me.
What I’ve discovered over the years is a simple process that can help you develop more intrinsic motivation when you feel like you're lacking the drive to take action.
I created this framework called The Unlimited Motivation Formula.
Every time I have a new project to work on, I imagine myself in a WWE scene where the announcer is giving me an epic introduction to my next big project…
Anyway, here’s the simple thought process I go through any time I need to generate motivation to the highest levels.
The purpose of this formula is to help you live a more purpose-driven life.
A big dream is a bold vision of the future, a vision that both scares and excites you at the same time. It brings out your passion, imagination, creativity, and willingness to take and embrace risk.
You can see the final destination in your mind’s eye and it inspires and empowers you. A big dream is a fire in your belly that fills you up with a craving to make yourself better.
The very act of dreaming and working towards your dreams has immense benefits for your well-being such as greater motivation, more self-confidence, more happiness, and more purpose in life.
A big dream is a powerful idea, but we all have different dreams.
We all have a secret (or not-so-secret) wish list of things that we desire in life. Your desires could be as simple as wanting to be a better person, getting a good job, or being happily married - to something more complex such as starting a business, getting a Ph.D., winning an Oscar, or being a billionaire. Whatever your dream is, you should own it and be proud of it!
When you verbalize something, it becomes more real and important to you. Speak your “why” to yourself out loud (and often) and share it with others too. This will motivate you to live in congruence with your commitments. So the next time you want to increase your performance, declare (to yourself and others) what you want and why you want it. I know it’s hard to share it with others, but at some point, you’ll have to do it.
Your reason “why” will keep you going when nobody else believes in you. It’s that gut instinct that will strengthen you and keep you in the race when you feel tempted to give up. Your big dream is your personal internal compass that guides you through your life’s journey. Define what’s meaningful to you. Not everything that is achievable is important, so the achievement isn’t the issue - alignment is.
Set high goals and aspirations. You can have more than one big dream, but it’s also best to relentlessly pursue one big dream at a time in order to achieve the benefits of focus and discipline.
Here are three self-reflection questions to help you dream big and seek clarity:
The quality of your life is the reflection of your standards. Raising your standards is not about being an egomaniac. It’s about having a healthy level of self-respect.
When you raise your standards and turn “should” into “must,” you are making an inner shift to take control over the quality of your life. Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.
If you want real change, you have to be willing to do your part. And it starts with asking yourself, honestly, who you are. Are you a winner? Or are you always a step behind making excuses? Are you the life of the party and bring joy to those around you? Or are you more reserved and/or create drama?
Answering the question of “who you are” and discovering what your true beliefs are about yourself is critical. This is your identity! And the fact is, we are hard-wired to follow through on who we believe we are.
Consider someone who is trying to stop being lazy. They might say to themselves, “I’m going to do my best to stop being lazy, but I’ve always been lazy.” It doesn’t matter how hard they try, if their identity is that they’re a lazy poop, it’s pointless. Maybe they get a burst of motivation for a few days, but those days are numbered and they’ll be back to their lazy selves soon enough. We act consistently with who we think we are, and ultimately, that’s who we become.
Unfortunately, most people never recognize what they are capable of because they think too small and lack self-efficacy.
If you raise the standard of your mindset, you will not be shattered by the failures or setbacks in life. You will see obstacles as an opportunity to learn and grow. You will get inspired instead of getting jealous. You will participate in healthy competition instead of comparing yourself with others.
Find others who have high standards too and surround yourself with people who accept you, respect you, and inspire you to become better.
Here are three self-reflection questions to help you raise your standards and be resilient:
Big dreams rarely have an instruction manual. You just figure it out as you go.
As obvious as it sounds, achieving dreams takes work, a lot of work, and the first step is to take action. Without action, big dreams are simply dreams.
Breakaway from fear, start acting on your dreams and get ready for a bunch of failure along the way (good thing we already told ourselves to be resilient!) Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. The biggest dream killer is dreaming big and then doing nothing.
Get started, hit that ignition switch, step on the gas and start steering. Each little step that you take on a daily basis takes you one small step closer to achieving your goal. Small action steps taken incrementally over time will add up to a lot of progress.
Over time, the accumulation of these small incremental tasks is what will fuel your momentum leading to a snowball effect where something small gets bigger and bigger over time.
Think long-term and get insanely good at key skills. Determine the five major skills you need to develop over the next three years to grow into the person you hope to become. Then, set out to develop those skills with laser vision focus. The most important thing you can do to make your dreams a reality is to always be developing the critical skills for your future success.
The world is constantly changing, so you’re going to need to constantly learn new skills, which require a lot of energy. That’s why so many people stop growing, they never developed this idea of “Unlimited Motivation” and lack the fuel to keep them driven over a long period of time.
Be responsible for the energy you bring to your day and each situation in life. Focus especially on bringing joy to your activities. Anticipate positive outcomes from your actions, ask yourself questions that generate positive emotions, set triggers to remind you to be positive and grateful, and appreciate the small things and the people around you.
Your energy is everything. It’s the fuel you need to stay driven throughout this journey.
Here are three self-reflection questions to help you execute and generate energy:
A discussion about big dreams would not be complete without talking about failure.
A major reason why many people do not pursue their dreams is because of their fear of failure. Imagine for a second if fear didn’t exist in the world, what would you do in this kind of world?
Lucky for us, fear is just a mental game. Unless you’re being attacked by a bear and there’s a legitimate threat to your life, most of our fears are self-inflicted. There are three types of fear. Fear of loss, fear of failure, and fear of success (believe it or not).
Failure is always a possibility. There is no true success without failures and setbacks. Look at every successful person in the history of the world. They all experienced failure. Failure is hurtful and disappointing, but this fear causes premature death to your dreams more than anything else. It would be naïve to ignore that failure is a possibility, but at the same time, it should not hold you back from taking action. We ALL have fears. Face your fears and do it anyway.
The main motivation of humankind is to be free, to express our true selves and pursue our dreams without restriction - and to experience what we call personal freedom.
If you want to live your dream life and be free, follow this impulse by consistently sharing your true thoughts, feelings, needs, and dreams with other people. Do not play small to placate others. Live your truth. You’ll come across a lot of people who laugh at you, bring you down, talk about you behind your back, etc. but that’s the challenge you need to embrace.
Ignore the haters, and find someone to fight for. We need a noble cause to rise up for.
High performers tend to make that cause just one person - they want to fight for that person so they can live a better quality of life. They also want to do more for others than themselves.
Have the courage to live a life where you provide value to the world. Not only will you be making a positive impact, but the world will also reward you more than you can imagine. Find a cause or person worth fighting for, and live your dream life through your purpose.
That’s what Unlimited Motivation is all about. The lifelong journey of living your dreams.
Here are three self-reflection questions to help you adopt a courageous and confident attitude:
If it’s not on the calendar, it’s a dead dream.
Your calendar reveals who you really are and what you really want in life. All these things should be on your calendar: a daily habit list, learning goals, a monthly 30-day goal list, a daily priority list...you need completion deadlines, learning dates, practice times, reflection questions, daily action items...the list goes on. Your calendar better be clear, full, and extremely motivating!
Start using your calendar as a weapon of achievement. What goes in there is world-class strategic thinking. Approach your calendar like it’s the most important thing in your life because what goes on there becomes your life.
Many of us have been successful without even using a calendar, but that won’t take you to that next level of success. High Performers use their agenda. I remember Joe Rogan said on his podcast he sits down every Sunday and reviews his week, and then plans his next week. This is what the most productive people do. Don’t be fancy and reinvent the wheel. We know what works in productivity. Follow in their footsteps and see what happens.
While you need to get your calendar in check, what most people don’t realize about productivity is it’s not a time management thing, it’s a purpose thing.
The biggest issue with being productive is that some people look at their day-to-day tasks with dread, and then they accept that feeling and stop. This is why you need to follow The Unlimited Motivation Formula.
Too many people are just trying to check items off their to-do lists. Their head is down. They’re working hard. But they’re completely oblivious to how they are showing up in the world. They’re not really alive. They’re not really demonstrating real character. This leads to a disaster that derails long-term progress and achievement.
Each day, your job is to show up as your best self. Period. That’s the real achievement. If you show up open, engaged, and enthusiastic, then no matter what you’re working on, it will turn out better.
Enjoying the process makes your mind want to do it again tomorrow. More motivation means more achievement. You have to love the process of learning and growing. That’s why it’s important to bring full awareness and a positive attitude to your day.
The final and perhaps most important productivity secret is the focus. Author Cal Newport, who wrote a book titled Deep Work, has said, "Deep work is important...not because distraction is evil, but because it enabled Bill Gates to start a billion-dollar industry in less than a semester." The point being, develop laser vision focus.
I’m on this journey with you. I’m always trying to improve my focus, productivity, and everything else we mentioned above. Don’t feel like you have to be perfect all of the time. Take action, build momentum, and measure your progress.
Here are three self-reflection questions that will help you measure your progress and develop your skills:
Part of achieving your big dreams involves working through others. It is very rare that a single person is able to achieve a big dream on their own.
Big dreams take many hands to accomplish. It requires team effort and synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
You need to be able to inspire others, make others believe in your dream, and get buy-in for your ideas, your cause, belief, purpose, objective, results, or goals. Clearly articulate your expectations and the level of involvement that you expect or require.
Let people know what specific actions they can help you with towards the attainment of your goals and eventually your dreams.
This could be you sharing your dreams with your teachers, friends, or parents so they can help you along your journey. There is tremendous power in asking for help, as well as talking to others and brainstorming to get different angles, perspectives, and points of view. It further strengthens and refines your train of thought, thinking vision, and overall dream.
You will definitely encounter people who don’t show support, which is why “influence” is an important skill to learn, so you can help people better understand your vision. It is very discouraging to hear a successful person talking down, ridiculing, or belittling another person’s dreams. By the very definition, a successful person is one who pursued his or her goals and dreams and did well, so why should they turn around and discourage other people’s dreams or even make fun of others' dreams?
A successful person has a moral obligation to guide and mentor other rookie dreamers to achieve their dreams.
If people aren’t supportive of your dreams, it’s important to understand where they are coming from. Is it from a place of insecurity where they’re just not being very supportive? Projecting their own issues onto you...or are they trying to mentor and coach you by challenging your thoughts and how you think about your dreams because they have more perspective and are trying to guide you? Listen, learn, reflect, and make the decisions that intuitively feel right to you.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. What you do with your life and how you live your life is on you! Don’t blame anybody else for your failures or mistakes in life. Remember, it’s part of the process. Take full ownership, own it, and keep moving forward by making adjustments from what you have just learned.
As you grow, continue learning the art of influence and teach people how to think. One way is to shape people’s thinking by saying things like: “Think of it this way...” or “What do you think about...” and “What would happen if we tried...”
Observe people’s character, connections, and contributions, and actively challenge them to develop those things even further. Ask people if they gave their all if they could be treating those around them even better and if they could give even more or serve with even greater excellence.
Seventy-one percent of high performers say they think about being a role model daily. They want to be a good role model for their family, the team, and the greater community. So ask, “How can I handle this situation in a way that will inspire others to believe in themselves, be their best, and serve others with integrity, heart, and excellence?”
It’s important to emphasize you’re not telling people what to think or how to live their life, rather you’re trying to inspire, motivate and empower them to live their best life too. Leaders create leaders. Always come from a place of empathy and understand as you grow into this role of a leader, it’s not about you. It’s about them.
All great leaders and dreamers strive for excellence and influence. No matter how big or small, your impact matters.
Here are three self-reflection questions to help you serve, lead and inspire others to live their dreams:
Follow this 6 step process and you’ll be on your way to generating more motivation and purpose in life.
There’s only so much I can include in this blog that will help you along your journey, so take it with a grain of salt that this is not the ultimate key to success, where if you do this you will automatically be successful tomorrow when you wake up.
We all have our own definition of success and success is generally a long-term game. It takes time, dedication, persistence, passion, purpose, energy, motivation, and a million other things.
This is meant to help you get started in building that intrinsic motivation where you can utilize at any moment of your life.
Don’t feel like doing laundry? We can still find ways to motivate ourselves to get it done, even with the most boring, annoying, frustrating tasks that we all have to do in life. You won't be perfect 24/7, no one is, but when you are a person of high standards, you strive to do everything with excellence. Even the most mundane tasks. It just becomes a habit.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Will Durant
Re-framing, “I should probably do my laundry” to “I MUST do my laundry with excellence because I need to be on top of my game so I can inspire others” or whatever you want to say to yourself, is a completely different attitude that will make you more determined, motivated, and fulfilled in life because you’re living through your values and standards of excellence.
I’m aware doing your laundry with excellence sounds ridiculous, but that’s the kind of attitude people like Kobe Bryant had which led them to greatness.
Keep at it. Keep working. Keep dreaming. Keep growing. And live your dreams.
“The real journey begins when you make a commitment to change.” - Me
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