If you’re anything like me, motivation often feels like a foreign concept. It comes and goes, regularly tied to moments of inspiration at odd hours and strict deadlines. Unfortunately, it ends up long gone before you can do much else with it. The list of things you want to do waits obediently at the sidelines for the motivation to return from wherever it slunk off to. Yet, it’s not like this for everyone. Many people are consistently motivated, so why couldn’t I be?
If you take notes from highly motivated people (like Amelia Earhart, Michael Schumacher or Dana Hill), a pattern starts to emerge. No matter how the advice is presented, it can all pretty much be drilled down to one similar sentiment: you have to motivate yourself.
It felt almost paradoxical after I truly realized this for the first time. How could I possibly motivate myself? Unpleasant situations, and fear of failure or letting people down, motivated me. But none of those times really felt as if I willed the motivation into being. It felt like it just dragged itself in because it had no other choice. Having to be the one to motivate myself just didn’t make sense.
But what if my beliefs on how motivation worked were wrong? If the people who have proven how driven they are couldn’t be believed, then who could? Despite how it came about, I obviously had the ability to get motivated or else I’d get nothing done. So, there was a serious truth to what they were saying. Maybe it was just a skill I was rusty at using; something I needed to brush up on, which is why it felt forced at times. In hindsight, it did seem rather intuitive. After all, where else would motivation come from if not from within yourself?
But how do you push yourself to get things done? Well, something else a lot of successful people have in common is their approach to this problem: just do it. It’s not just a silly meme — Shia LaBeouf was really onto something. Walt Disney, Wanda Sykes, Carrie Underwood, Donald E. Westlake and many more also subscribe to this approach and it seems to have worked out rather well for them. The more time you give yourself to stop and think, the more time you have to doubt yourself, the more time your drive has to slip away. Set your mind to what you want and get it done, no ifs, ands or buts. Motivation will follow and, before you know it, will become a regular occurrence in your life.
The motivation to do the things you want has been and always will be inside yourself, you just have to goad it out every once in a while. Like famed poet Rumi said, “look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.”