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How to Forever Cure to Your Lack of Motivation

How to Forever Cure to Your Lack of Motivation

The late Zig Ziglar once said, “Of course motivation is not permanent, but then, neither is bathing. But it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

But rather than just revisit what Zig said, I’d like to add to it by challenging that it’s not just motivation that gets us going. Before you can become motivated, you must first be inspired.

These are two different things in my mind. Inspiration comes first, and this is what really keeps us going. Motivation is simply the day-to-day grind to keep moving towards your goal. Without a bit of inspiration here and there to really compound your belief in yourself, your motivation will eventually fizzle out.

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Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Maybe you see a movie and decide you want to be more like one of the characters, so you set out to change certain behaviors. Inspiration strikes first in the form of the emotions you experience during the movie.

Motivation comes next in the benefits these changes will have on your life. Maybe you read a book that tells a rags to riches story. The inspiration comes in the form of the story: the belief that you too can create wealth for yourself just like the person you read about. The motivation comes when you start to realize what you will be able to do with your new found wealth.

The big difference here is that the emotion of feeling inspired to make a change is incredibly powerful. It can be a true catalyst to a big change in a person’s life, but inspiration has a finite lifespan before it needs to turn into tangible goals and “motivation” to keep things going.

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Humans are Irrational and Emotional Beings

We as humans are irrational and emotional beings. Unless we have something that is truly emotionally striking driving us forward, the day-to-day motivation to get better eventually dies out, and a lack of motivation can easily set in.

While I’m a huge believer in things like goal setting, to-do lists, and organization, these things are not emotional in any way. They’ll only keep you motivated enough to keep spinning your wheels.

This is why to stay truly motivated to do great things, you must stay “inspired.” You must seek out those things in your life that bring you deep emotional inspiration to be a better person.

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For me, reading success stories of personal change from people like Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferris really bring me the belief that big time changes are possible. Studying the philosophy of great successes in history, like Walt Disney, Bruce Lee, and Dale Carnegie, and the way they went about not just their business but their daily lives is incredibly eye-opening.

Going to conferences and meeting people who have been radically successful doing things not too far from what I’m doing, and then finding out they were once younger, less-equipped, and less networked than me (true story), can really make a person believe.

These things are just a few examples of my inspiration, but that’s just me. Inspiration is different for everyone.

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Find Your Inspiration

To really keep improving in your own life, you must find your own inspirations. For example:

  • Maybe it’s a mentor you can look up to and learn from
  • Maybe it’s certain authors you would like to emulate
  • Maybe it’s an incredible success story you know you could do as well
  • Maybe it’s an event or group of people that you find incredibly inspiring
  • Or maybe it’s family or friends that drive you to continue to be better

Whatever that inspiration is, this is what you really need to stay truly driven and motivated. Find it. Keep it in your heart. And there is no doubt you will continue to improve each and every day of your life.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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