Imagine your motivation is a person.
And to motivate you, they whisper things in your ears they think will rev you up and make you productive:
- “You can do it!
- “Way to be!”
- “Keep at it!”
These are pretty typical things you think of when it comes to motivating yourself. But you’ve got to wonder… does any of that “positivity” actually work?
I’ve been in the self-improvement world for over 14 years, and I’ve tried it all. And if I’m being honest… positivity’s never done much for me.
Beyond temporarily making me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, it’s rarely actually kept my motivation going for more than a few gleeful minutes. After which, it wears off and I’m back to square one. If I’m lucky, I’ll have gained enough momentum for it to carry me through my task.
But more often than not, the positivity just dies off and it’s pure willpower and discipline to strenuously move me forward. And I don’t need to tell you how annoying it is to fall back on those things.
So does it make sense to continue on with such a “motivational” strategy? After all, it’s a popular and well-received tactic, so you should force it till it works, right? I got to say, I don’t think so. Because no matter how popular something is, or how much you “want” an idea to work… if a motivational tactic hasn’t furthered any of your goals, there’s only one thing to do with it – abandon it.
I know this runs contrary to what MANY people online say… but if it doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work. So I’m going to do you a solid – the following are motivational insights that are a bit off the beaten path, and many won’t like or agree with them. But since you’ve gotten this far, I’d hazard they may be right up your alley.
Take a look:
1. The universe is unfair and doesn’t care for your success
A tough pill to swallow, but pretty easy to confirm. Off the top of your head, rattle off a couple things about your life you’d like to change – I’ll go first:
1. I wish I was in better shape
2. I wish I made more money
3. I wish I was more charismatic
And so on, and so on. Honestly, I barely needed to think about those three. But from the sheer fact that I “don’t” have those things now, and that getting them would require work, time, and patience… it’s clear that the universe (which didn’t grace me with the fortune or talent to gain those things without strenuous effort and luck) probably doesn’t care that much about me.
And as much as I hate to say it, it probably treats you (and everybody else in existence) with the same regard. Although some are lucky and born with money, looks, or ability… I’d bet big bucks that even those people feel a lacking towards at least one thing in life, and that it’s hard for them to get it, too.
(After all, money can’t buy everything. Looks can’t attract every person. And talent doesn’t guarantee success)
2. Necessity runs the world (and not love, happiness, or even greed)
If you’ve ever wondered what the ultimate motivation is, then this is your answer.
People are only willing to do something in life if they HAVE to do so. So basically, if a person’s life is on the line, or if they’re livelihood is at stake (meaning their income, social life, or lifestyle in general)… only then will they “find” the motivation to act.
A person can act out of love. But only because they fear not having the recipient of their love in their life. A person can act to achieve a source of happiness. But only because they fear being unhappy in the first place. And a person can act to satisfy, let’s say, a financial greed. But only because they fear NOT having money in the first place (or even fear being judged for a lack of money).
Now, before you raise the “I disagree!” alarms, you probably want to read the next insight as well.
3. People are rarely motivated to act on their goals because they think they can “get away with it.”
Think about common recurring situations in life:
- A person chooses Netflix over going to the gym
- A person chooses junk food food over a healthy snack
- A person stays up late on Youtube over getting a good night’s sleep
These things happen ALL the time and for every single person alive. But consider this – if choosing Netflix over the gym cost you $100 each time, do you think you’d choose Netflix still?
Or if eating junk food instantly added 15 (highly visible) pounds to your gut, would you still eat that junk food over the healthy food?
No, of course not. But the problem is, none of these things happen when you make bad decisions. There are no immediate repercussions for these actions, and even worse, the human tendency is to do the easiest, most satisfying thing given the chance. So we’re “already” leaning towards the worst possible option in the first place.
Now, after considering all these ideas, isn’t it strange that most people INSIST on using positivity (and other popular motivation methods) when people aren’t especially designed for it? After all, saying “I can do it!” doesn’t mean much after a long, hard day at work and your mood is at rock bottom. No amount of positivity will ever change that.
A much stronger method is finding small, acceptable ways to “punish” yourself for choosing the bad tasks over the good ones. Imagine “really” losing cash each time you watched Netflix… wouldn’t that add just enough sting to push you away from indulging? Grab a spouse or family member and make it happen. You could even have them record you whenever you’re being lazy and have them upload to social media with a caption that “hurts” your reputation. Even if it’s done in a non-serious manner, who’d want people to see them as a lazy person? Just the thought of it has more power than if people truly cared about it (which they probably don’t).
But still, there’s power in these “small” punishments. And since people hate having money taken from them and don’t want to be judged for “low integrity” moves (like being seen as lazy or other undesirable traits)… you’d go a long way towards motivation and productivity if you started there.
That’s always been my experience with this method. And even better, I’m FAR more productive, motivated, and able to achieve my goals because of it. And I have a feeling it’d do the exact same for you as well.
Ericson Ay Mires
If you’d like to see more motivation advice like this, you owe it to yourself to download the first chapter of my ebook, “Motivation Instinct,” for free – it shows you why generic advice like “just be positive” and “visualize your success” don’t work for the average person… and the “dangerous” motivation method I use to create instant, long-lasting motivation to achieve all my goals instead.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.