Some days you wake up and right when you are going to begin your work, you feel a presence within you that stops you from doing so. You sit down, but you sit down quietly this time. Suddenly, that feeling where you once were so passionate and energized to take action just isn’t there anymore. You try to hype yourself up but it’s not working, and everything you do seems to be counterintuitive. You face the truth. You don’t want to work today and you don’t feel motivated to do anything but just escape. Without this motivation, you feel a little hopeless, lost, and stuck.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. If you’re not a hundred percent passionate about your work, then it’s impossible to wake up everyday feeling motivated when you wake up. You might compare it to the ocean. Sometimes you’ll wake up feeling like a tsunami, other time you’ll feel like just barely drifting to shore. When you feel like drifting to the shore, understand that it doesn’t always have to feel like there’s no hope. You can still feel inspired when there’s no motivation.
1. Connecting the Dots
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” –Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs at a Stanford commencement speech said that giving this speech the students was the closest thing he came to graduating college. He’s never finished college. He recalls that the working class savings that his parents had made their entire life was being spent on his tuition on a college he says was as almost as expensive as Stanford. After 6 months, he couldn’t see the value in it and dropped out. Not knowing where to go in life, he decided to take a class in calligraphy. He, however, didn’t see any practical application for it in life.
Ten years later, they were designing the first Macintosh computer, and it all came back to him. He used the ideas that he had learned in calligraphy class, including the different types of typography, and put it in the Mac. It was the first computer to have beautiful typography, which has affected the different types of typography that we use today. If he had never dropped out in collage, he would have never taken that calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do today.
Sometimes when you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s impossible to connect the dots where you currently are. Somehow you just have to trust in yourself, and have faith that you will reach your dreams, despite not having the slightest clue or perfectly laid out road to where you are going. Nobody can connect the dots looking forward; you only can connect them when you’re looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future; you have to trust in something, whether it’s karma or destiny, but trusting yourself is the first step towards feeling inspired and having the motivation to move forward.
2. Allowing Your Environment to Predetermine Your Mood
“There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want.” –Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has always advocated the idea of using your environment to your advantage. He believes that controlling your environment is often much more effective than relying on self discipline. He finds that he writes the best between the hours of midnight and 1 AM to 3 to 4 in the morning. As he is writing, he will put a movie in the background so it will feel like he is in a social environment, even though the entire movie is on mute. Next to him may be a glass of tea. This is what puts him in the mood to do quality writing and make him so successful.
Look around your room right now or your workspace. Does it inspire you? Does it give you motivation? Is it noisy or quiet? Sometimes the hardest thing we do to ourselves is try to force ourselves to work in an area that is subconsciously telling us, “I can’t work here.”
And when you are constantly trying to discipline yourself, you will feel worse and be less productive. Instead try to build your ideal workplace and ideal time. Free it from distractions. Perhaps add a piece of artwork or a quote of your favorite person nearby you on the wall. Maybe add a beautiful plant in the corner to give you inspiration. If you feel more energy and enthusiasm during the night, schedule your day to work at midnight if you can. If you can realize the power of having a productive environment, you will naturally feel inspired and motivated to get work done.
3. Don’t Work So Hard
“Research now seems to indicate that one hour of inner action is worth seven hours of out-in-the-world action. Think about that. You’re working too hard.” –Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield was once giving a speech to an audience. He tells of a story of a chiropractor who went into his dream city, near Pebble Beach, and asked chiropractor associate if they could hire them. They told him no because they had 1 chiropractor for every 8 patients. Instead of letting his external reality which was out of his control determine his future, he went back to visualize and think about it, and something would come to him. He put a pen in his new office one day, and put concentric circles that he needed to go ask people in town that he was opening up a new chiropractor office and if they were interested in joining.
Over 6 months he knocked on 12,500 doors, talked to 6,500 people, and gathered over 4000 names to the people who wanted to go to his open house. He opened his chiropractor in a town he was told there was too many chiropractor. In his first month in practice, he netted $72,000. In his first year in practice his gross income was over a million in income.
Now you may look at this and say knocking on 12,500 doors is hard work. To you it is, but to the man it was probably effortless. Jack Canfield says there are 2 types of action – outer and inner. Outer action is actually going out to do the action – whether it’s networking with people, going door-to-door to make a sale, or just writing at home. Inner action is other things like visualization, meditation, and affirmations.
If you’re trying to force your way into taking action, it could be a sign that you are working too hard. Most people won’t wake up and waste an hour visualizing, meditating, or affirming, and the first thing they think about is asking what do I need to do today? And when they get the answer, they feel miserable, as if their work suddenly weighs them down. But Canfield says that if you spend time to focus on your goals, you’ll receive good feelings – feelings that help you feel inspired and motivated to take real action.
Don’t try to paddle upstream. That’s just basically going everyday saying to yourself that you need to force yourself to work every day. Instead, paddle along the stream of the river. Trust yourself, let your environment work in your favor, and spend some a little bit of time putting yourself in a state before you work. Inspiration will come to you from different ways – inside and out – and give you the motivation to guide yourself towards reaching your dreams.
Gerard Arcos image