YOU want to feel better and get more done, first you need at
least one goal. You need something to aim at. Human beings are
goal-achieving at their best. This is one of the most basic principles
of success, sanity, and mental health.
Once you have something to aim for, you
have two things to concern yourself with: Motivation and demoralization.
You already know what to do about demoralization: Use the antivirus for your mind. That will prevent
setbacks from taking away your motivation. But can anything be
done to increase your motivation? Is there anything else
besides setbacks that can take away your motivation?
When you first create a goal, you are already
motivated. The moment you choose it, youre highly motivated.
You chose the goal in the first place because youre motivated
to accomplish it.
But what happens? Your motivation tends
to fade, doesnt it?
The question has bothered people for centuries.
Why does motivation fade? The reason the question is perplexing
is that motivation fades for many different reasons. You already
way you explain setbacks can deflate your motivation, rather
quickly. But there are more things that cause demotivation than
For example, one very significant reason
motivation fades is that you think of new goals, and they
seem better somehow. You havent gotten bogged down in the
details of your new goal yet. The new goal seems clean and pristine
and more appealing than the goal you are slogging toward at the
moment, full of problems and difficulties (or, if you prefer,
challenges and opportunities).
Interruptions and distractions are major forces that can dampen that once-hot-burning
fire of desire.
But a more practical way of thinking about
the causes of demotivation is that it happens simply because
you havent tried to keep yourself motivated. Motivation
will naturally fade. Motivation doesnt last. But it can
can be renewed and needs to be renewed and refreshed regularly.
When you bathe, your state of cleanliness
doesnt last forever either. You have to bathe again and
again if you want to stay clean. And when you exercise, it doesnt
make you permanently fit. You have to exercise again and again
to get and stay fit. So what? Thats what it takes, so thats
You may never have put motivation in the
same category, but now that you think about it, Im sure
you can see that it must be in the same category.
The question is, of course, How can
motivation be refreshed? How can you enhance your own motivation?
How can you boost it when its sagging?
MOTIVATION IS IMPORTANT
A feeling of motivation isnt just
nice, it is very powerful and important. The difference between
someone motivated and someone unmotivated is like night and day.
A motivated person can do far more and is far more capable.
I once worked as a waiter in a new restaurant
and the bussers were all high school students from the local
area an upscale, wealthy area. These kids didnt
need the money. In fact, more than one of them only worked because
his parents thought it would be good for him to have
These kids were not very motivated. They
had the potential to do a good job, but without motivation, they
didn't com close to fulfilling that potential.
The waiters tipped the bussers. Thats
how the bussers made most of their money. The waiters, of course,
tried to motivate them by letting them know wed tip more
if they worked harder, but they didnt really care. They
were more interested in just going through the motions of their
job, and talking to the opposite sex.
Then the restaurant began to hire illegal
immigrants from Mexico for the busser positions. The contrast
was astonishing. These Mexicans did about three times the work
of the high school students. Why? They werent physically
healthier or smarter than the high school students. They definitely
werent more well-rested most of the Mexicans worked
two full-time jobs.
But they were motivated.
When they worked hard, we tipped them more.
And the money we gave them was worth a lot more back in Mexico
than it was in the U.S. Many of them had a wife and kids, and
were often supporting their parents and sisters back home, and
they were saving up their money to start a business or buy a
house back in Mexico.
They were very motivated and the contrast
between them and the well-fed, young, well-rested high school
students was sharp and dramatic.
Motivation makes a huge difference. Imagine
what a difference it could make to you and your goals.
Whether or not you achieve your goals depends
almost entirely on your motivation. Think about that. Let it
sink in. It is entirely possible that you will never achieve
your goals. But if you do, it was because you were motivated.
If you dont, it was because you werent motivated
And it doesnt really matter if you
are motivated right now. Motivation changes constantly, like
all feelings. And your feelings of motivation can be cultivated
and grow, or they can be neglected and wither. Its largely
up to you.
Tremendous things are possible to someone
who is motivated and can stay motivated. And there are people
all over the world who accomplish extraordinary things, many
of them merely ordinary people with ordinary talents but
with extraordinary motivation. And it's not something they were
Listen to me very carefully. This is important.
They werent born with motivation. The reason they now have
extraordinary motivation is that they're doing certain kinds
of things that cultivate their motivation. And they do certain
kinds of things that prevent their motivation from withering.
Cultivate is the key word. You dont
cultivate an apple tree once and for all. Its an ongoing
task. If you pull weeds and add water and fertilizer and prune
it, the tree can grow robust and healthy.
Let it fend for itself, however, and it
will probably become weak. Itll be choked by weeds. Itll
dry out. Itll be infestested with pests. The leaves will
have holes in it, the branches will grow too close together or
sprawl so it will produce fewer and smaller apples. It might
even wither and die.
Here you are now, with a goal and somewhat
motivated. Lets see what we can do to cultivate your motivation.
Lets see what we can do to make your motivation healthy
and robust. What is motivations water and fertilizer?
Here are seven of the most potent ways
of growing and maintaining a lasting, energizing feeling motivation.
1. Prune your goals.
2. Make a list, put it in order.
3. Keep the level of challenge just right.
4. Measure your progress.
5. Read and listen to motivational material.
6. Take the time to think.
7. Refresh your goals.
I once heard a phrase that has stuck with
me ever since. When you make a list or chart your progress or
put a motivational slogan on your bathroom mirror, you are creating
a structure of fulfillment. Youre making your
progress easier. Youre making it easier for your goals
to be accomplished. Youre making the fulfillment of your
desires more likely.
Think of it like a trellis. Many bean plants
are vines, and if you just let them grow naturally, theyll
grow along the ground, making them more vulnerable to pests and
rot, and they won't get as much sun if there are other plants
around. But give them a trellis to climb on, and they will produce
more beans. It is literally a structure for it to fulfill its
potential yield. It wont yield as much without that structure.
It wont do as well.
The same is true of you. If you make structures
to help you, you can fulfill more of your potential. A good part
of cultivating a feeling of motivation is creating structures
of fulfillment that make success easier or faster. Success is
motivating. Focus is motivating.
The seven principles above give you structures
of fulfillment. They will help you keep your motivation high.
And your high motivation will help you accomplish your most heartfelt