I believe that it happens to all of us. There are days when we feel totally motivated and we feel like we can achieve all the goals that we have set. There are also days when we feel a total slump, we have no motivation at all, and we just want to lie on the couch and do nothing.
Don’t worry if you have had days like these. It is perfectly normal. Even the most productive and successful people in the world have down times and days when they don’t feel motivated to do anything at all.
The difference is that the highly successful will never let themselves down for a very long time. They know how to handle their downtime and soon enough, they get back up, feeling motivated to take on the world again.
This is what you will learn in this article.
Besides finding out the reason why some people are more motivated than others, you will also discover some great ways how you can join and become the motivated ones. Moreover, we have brought a collection of some unique motivational quotes you have rarely read anywhere.
Motivation Has Something to Do With Your Brain
Science has discovered that motivation or the feeling of motivation comes from our brain. According to an article published on Entrepreneur:
“It’s in the small section where neurotransmitters send chemical messages to the rest of your body. It’s these neurotransmitters that keep us alert, focused, and that part of the brain influences things like completing a project or going to the gym.”
And researchers have also found that one of the most important neurotransmitters is dopamine, a chemical that signals information from one neuron to the next.
Dopamine is what get you out of your bed and start taking action. John Salamone, the head of the Behavioral Neuroscience Division at the University of Connecticut says, “Say you’re sitting at home on your couch in your pajamas, thinking you really should exercise, for example. Dopamine is what enables you to make the decision to be active.”
Therefore, dopamine encourages us to act. It motivates us to take action, to achieve, and at the same time, to avoid something bad.
When you think about something great, say achieving your goals and living your dreams, dopamine is released and in this case, it makes you feel pleasurable.
Now, scientists have also found that dopamine can spike during moments of pain, stress, or loss, not just when you’re feeling pleasurable.
Alright, you now understand that it is the dopamine you produced in your brain that makes you motivated, but why some people are more motivated than others? Here’s the answer…
Understanding How Your Intrinsic Motivation Works
To make things simple, I’ll take myself as an example. For many people, books, especially the non-fiction books like the personal development and business books, are extremely boring to them.
They don’t like reading. Whenever they turn the pages, they fall asleep as quickly. As for me and others who love to read, I feel excited to read. I don’t feel boring at all unless the book is written in a way that is really uninspiring.
Reading books is just an example. There are many things in life where one can feel driven to do, while others feel boring and find it extremely hard to come up with motivation to do.
One person loves to play badminton, while another person doesn’t like it. One loves to swim, another loves to golf.
This is what scientist calls, “implicit motives”, which refers to things that are pleasurable and rewarding to you that they subconsciously drive your behavior and motivate you to act on them.
According to Hugo Kehr, a researcher from the Technical University of Munich, says that there are 3 most common implicit motives.
In other words, there are 3 intrinsic motivations that drive us, and they are:
- Affiliation, and
Kehr says that each of us is driven by the 3 factors above to some extent; however, most people are driven by one factor than the others. You can read the full article here.
For instance, if you are motivated by power, you’ll feel pleasurable and motivated when you are in the leadership position. On the other hand, those who are motivated by affiliation tend to feel the best when they are surrounded by good friends and family. And those who are motivated by achievement tend to enjoy competitions and challenges.
According to Kehr, it is your implicit motives, your intrinsic motivations, that drive you to take action and complete a goal.
This is why money may not be the biggest motivator in your life. As what Daniel Pink says:
Identifying Your Intrinsic Motivation
Imagine you want to workout in the gym. And if you are motivated by affiliation, the best way to make sure you hit the gym is to get a partner. You will feel great to hang out with others and you will look forward to it.
On the contrary, if you are motivated by power or achievement, hanging out with your friends and getting the chance to socialize may not sound as exciting to you.
Thus, if you want to get motivated and stay motivated, it is important to harness the power of intrinsic motivation. You need to understand what drives you and then tap into your inner drive.
Do this exercise now:
One of the things I like from professor Kehr is this exercise that I’m about to share with you. You can use this exercise to find out your intrinsic motivation.
In other words, you can identify your implicit motives.
If I ask you what motivates you the most, whether it is power, affiliation, or achievement, it is difficult for you to know because implicit motives are actually emotions.
Like what Kehr says, “To really understand your implicit motives, you need to tune in to your emotions.”
Hence, the best way to discover your implicit motives is to use visualization. “Think about a situation in which you’re at the center of attention, such as when you’re giving a presentation,” says Kehr.
And then try to focus on the smaller details, such as what you’re wearing, how’s the room looks like, and is there a huge crowd.
Next, pay attention to your feelings. Ask yourself how do you feel. “If you have a positive emotional reaction to the situation—you feel strong and confident, say—that’s a sign that you’re driven by power,” says Kehr.
Contrary, if you feel anxious or no feeling at all, perhaps, you’re motivated by the other 2 factors, which can either be affiliation or achievement.
Now, to find out whether you are achievement-oriented, just imagine yourself taking a challenging task or are training hard to win the competition. How do you feel? Do you feel motivated and energized? Or do you feel stressed or have no feeling at all?
As for affiliation, try to imagine yourself meeting new people or attending a party and talking to someone you meet for the first time, how does this experience make you feel?
The key is to take note of your feelings. Try to visualize the detail as specific as possible and make the process as real as it is happening in your life.
When you found out what motivates you, power, affiliation, or achievement, you can then harness these intrinsic motivations to achieve your goals and reach higher success.
Why Some People Are More Motivated Than Others
Do you understand why some people are more driven than others now?
Some people are more motivated because they tap into their implicit motives. They work according to their intrinsic motivation.
For example, if you are affiliation oriented, you feel good to be around with others and networking makes you feel great, then you should incorporate the affiliation factor into the process of achieving your goals.
For affiliation oriented people who want to build a successful internet business, start with a partner, join groups, network with other successful internet marketers, have weekly meetings to update each other, and more importantly, socialize and talk about your internet business daily.
This way, you can maintain your motivation and keep your energy high all the time.
What if you are achievement-oriented? Well, create short-term goals for yourself, go and compete with others, come up with challenging ideas to create breakthrough such as building 1,000 subscribers in the first 30 days.
There are many things you can do. But you must first understand the source of your motivation.
If you want to have more motivation than others and keep the motivation going, you must tap into your inner drive, not just externally.
How to Become a Motivated Person
Do you know what drives you right now?
A couple of days ago, I sent an email to my list and I asked them what is the one thing that they want to learn in order to become successful. (If you’re one of my subscribers who replied, I sincerely thank you.)
Guess what is the number one answer for most people?
It is staying motivated and getting rid of procrastination. People want to get motivated, stay motivated, and get things done.
I believe that most of us understand what we want out of life. We all want to be rich and successful, there’s no doubt about that, but the problem is in taking action and making our goals a reality.
So how can we maintain our motivation and make ourselves take consistent action to reach our goals?
After going through all the information above about how dopamine drives us and how our implicit motives can impact our motivation levels, here are 7 ways how you can become more motivated.
1. Tap into the power of your intrinsic motivation
I guess I don’t have to explain this anymore. The first thing you need to do to get and stay motivated is to tap into your intrinsic drive.
Use the visualization exercise to find out what drives you.
Know and understand yourself. I guess Lao Tzu was right, he said:
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
2. Lower the resistance by changing your beliefs
The next thing you can do is alter your beliefs. Stop telling yourself that it is something you “need to do” or “must do”, instead, make yourself believe that it is something that you “choose to do” or “want to do”.
My friend, this shift in your belief makes all the difference.
People who often say that they have to do this or they have to do that, usually, they are telling you that they are not really willing to do.
That is why they are using the word “have to”. When you operate from the mindset of “have to do”, you are indirectly expressing your unwillingness. If there are other options, you’ll choose not to do it, right?
So change your beliefs. Change your thinking. Start to think and believe that you want to take action because you “choose to” or “want to” do it.
Just like your hobby, you will never tell yourself that you have to do it. You’ll tell yourself that you want to do it or you love doing it.
Have you ever heard a 3-year-old tells you that she “has to” play games or watch the cartoon on her iPad?
I doubt it seriously.
The same goes for you and me. Think about it, you’ll never tell yourself that you “have to” check updates on Facebook or “have to” watch the funny YouTube videos that your friends share, right?
But when it comes to taking action and working on your goals, things will be different.
You’ll tell yourself that you “have to” write an article to publish on your blog, you “have to” draft emails for your subscribers, you “have to” work on your goals, etc, etc.
Therefore, change your beliefs and switch your thinking.
Lower the mental resistance by using positive and productive self-talks.
3. Start extremely small
The third thing you can do to stay motivated is to lower down your resistance to taking the action.
Sometimes, we feel lack of motivation and we choose to procrastinate because the work seems to be too big to tackle.
Think about it, do you think it is easier to write 1,000 words or it is easier to write just 100 words? Do you think it is easier to do 50 pushups or just 10 pushups?
The answer is obvious, right?
When we deal with work that doesn’t excite us or when we find it hard to come up with motivation to work on the task, break the task down into smaller pieces and act on them.
If writing 1,000 words are difficult and challenging to you, choose to write just 100 words. If writing 100 words are still not going to put you into action, tell yourself that you’re going to just write down the title.
The principle works the same way as the One-Minute Rule.
The key is to start. When you start, you build up the momentum. So just start, do something, anything.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small the task is going to be, just do it. Just put yourself into action and let the momentum drives you into doing more.
Whenever I find it no motivation to write or to do something, I will tell myself that I’m going to do it for just 5 minutes. When I start writing for just 5 minutes, a paragraph or two, I kick-start my momentum and the motivation comes automatically.
Try this, and you will see how powerful and effective this technique can be.
4. Surprise yourself with exciting rewards
Rewarding yourself can be a great way to motivate you into taking action.
When you have no motivation to do something, create a reward for yourself after you have taken the action and completed the task.
Make the reward so exciting that you can’t wait to achieve it. Use the reward to motivate you into taking action.
The reward doesn’t have to be big or small, it just has to be relevant and exciting to you.
So choose a reward that you really love. It can be anything like playing games for an hour, watching TV for 40 minutes, exercise, sports, swimming, reading, taking a day off, visiting the museum, a good dinner, etc.
The reward must be something that you’re looking forward to. It will not work if you choose to have a reward that you don’t like.
Studies have discovered that before people go on for vacation, their productivity soar. They want to get their work done before they go on vacation.
Of course, you can’t give yourself a vacation just because you have completed a day’s tasks. Bigger rewards are for achieving bigger goals, such as when you hit your 3-month target, you reward yourself with a vacation.
Hence, be creative and come up with an exciting reward that will propel you into action.
5. Celebrate your wins
One thing you can do to boost your motivation is to always celebrate your wins, no matter how small they are.
You don’t have to give yourself a reward like the above, all you need to do is to acknowledge your effort.
Just give yourself a pat on your back. Tell yourself that you’re doing great. Acknowledge your effort and hard work.
You can tell yourself in your head, “Yes!” and follow with a fist-pump. The more you celebrate and acknowledge your effort, the more likely you are going to take more action.
Celebration can work as a great encouragement for more actions. For instance, when a baby learns to walk, you don’t scold her for doing that, you encourage her. When she starts to learn how to talk, you encourage her to pronounce correctly, and when she did, you celebrate and clap your hands, didn’t you?
Celebration encourages more action. It is a sign of telling someone that what he or she did is correct and should do more of it.
Hence, celebrate your wins. If you set out to write 1,000 words but you only did 200, it doesn’t matter, just celebrate the fact that you started and got 200 words done now.
The key is to celebrate and encourage yourself so that you will associate the great feelings with action. And thus, you will want to take more action.
6. Practice the reverse-gap thinking
I first came across this idea from the famous strategic coach, Dan Sullivan. Lifehacker has published an article on the Reverse Gap and you can read the article here.
When we set goals, we are looking into the future. And most of us will have the idea, “once I achieved my goals, I’ll be happy”, sort of thinking.
But this is not a good way to motivate yourself because there is a gap between the life you are living right now and your goals, which are happening in the future.
It is great to have goals, but you should have conditions on your goals such as you should only feel like a winner or feel happy when you reach your goals. Here’s what Lifehacker article says:
“Rather than constantly focusing on your future, remind yourself regularly of where you were 2 years ago. What did your life look like? What was your career like? How were you? And when you think about that, celebrate how far you’ve come in the last 2 years.
You need to train yourself not to only think about the future but to also celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past. Pay attention to your “reverse gap” the period during which you had successes but also difficulties that you’ve overcome. That’s how you create happiness and gratitude in the now.”
In other words, you must count your blessings and measure how much you have done.
You don’t have to wait until the moment you accomplished your goals only to feel great and to feel like a success. You can have those feelings right now.
One reason most highly successful people are more motivated than others because they operate based on the Reverse Gap.
Like Thomas Edison, when people asked him about his failures, he said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison did not treat his failed experiments as failures, but rather, he sees them as a progress that is contributing to his success.
You should practice the Reverse Gap thinking and do the same in your life.
Count your blessings and measure how far you have come by. Feeling happy and celebrate even the small steps you have taken in your journey.
7. Make your goals absolutely inspiring
Do you know why some people are more motivated than others? One of the most common reasons is goals.
Highly successful people like Elon Musk, the late Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson have exciting goals. What about you?
Tony Robbins says it perfectly:
“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
If you want to be motivated and stay motivated all the time, you must make your goals as exciting as possible.
Everyone’s goals are different. Some people are motivated by achieving great success in business like Donald Trump, some are motivated by creating an exciting future to mankind like Elon Musk who wants to colonize Mars, while others, like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, they were motivated to bring peace to their countries.
So what motivates you? Create a goal that is absolutely exciting that you will want to jump out of your bed and can’t wait to act on it.
Create a goal that is so inspirational that you are willing to wake up early and stay later just to work more on it.
When you have discovered this goal, you will understand that why some people are motivated than others, and how you too, can be the same.
One of the reasons that we feel motivated is because of dopamine, a chemical that signals information from one neuron to the next.
And dopamine encourages us to get active, to work, to walk, to act, and to achieve.
Scientists have found that everyone’s motivation levels are different because of their ‘implicit motives’.
Someone may be motivated by power and they want to be in the leadership role. Some may be motivated by affiliation where they feel the best when they are surrounded by others. And some may be motivated by achievement, where they feel great with their results.
In order to stay motivated for the long-term, we must identify the implicit motives that drive us.
For me, I believe I’m a little motivated towards achievement and affiliation. What about you?
Let me know what you think about this article in the comment section below.