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Killing the 7 Motivation Murderers

(borrowed from despair.com)

I spent almost all day unmotivated to do anything. I moped around, slowly fed the dogs, slowly shoveled eggs into my mouth, avoided any productive task. Then I remembered that I could motivate myself. I busted out my Motivation Toolkit and dug up that energy reservoir that was waiting to be tapped.

Motivation is talked about too much. It seems like twice a year there’s a scientist that comes out with the new secret to motivation that will forever keep us motivated to do the things we want to do. You buy their books every time and read the motivational message about the secret to motivation. Damn they’re motivating! You’re excited all the way through the book! “HELLO WORLD! I AM MOTIVATED!”

Then you wake up the next morning extremely unmotivated.

You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t see the point in moving on. You eat too much sugar and crash into immobility. You stop caring about your passion.

Sometimes being unmotivated is just ‘meh’ and sometimes it’s the deepest, darkest corner of hell. Either way, nothing is being built. We’re builders! If we go too long without constructing something then we die.

At a certain point you get motivated enough to go read something motivating. That works for a second, a minute. You soak in every single one of the greatest motivational ideas in the world.

Holstee’s manifesto of motivation

Then you exit the Window of Motivation and realize nothing happened. You read everything about motivation – you know all there is about the thing, why isn’t it hitting you!?

You didn’t do anything.

Without action, knowledge only leads to frustration.

You don’t need to go read lists of “50 Ways to Motivate Yourself” or look at pictures with exciting quotes on them. You don’t need to find the perfect Tumblr picture to find that motivation. You don’t need to read the right book. You don’t need anything external to get motivated right now.

You don’t need this blog post.

I’m going to show you my 7 Motivation Murderers and then I’m going to give you the tools I use to kill them.

We can often get to where we want to be (in this case, a motivated state of mind) by taking away what’s holding us back. We simplify our situation to open it up to where we want to be.

By the time we’re through here you will have a heightened awareness for those things that are killing your motivation and you will have a set of tools to eliminate them immediately.

This is a long post so go ahead and skip to the Murderer currently tormenting you. Here is the list of them in order: Ingratitude, Envy, Impatience, Overwhelm, Inaction, Loss of Meaning, and No Skin in the Game.

Enjoy and Godspeed!

 

Ingratitude

 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. – Melody Beattie

This guy is a bitch to shake. Every day I have to kill him. When Ingratitude is around it’s hard to get anything done because it’s stuck in the past. All it sees is everything that isn’t here that ‘should’ be. When I do finally get some work done it’s with a grudge and so it sucks. Work becomes a grudge instead of a source of optimal experiences.

If this single Murderer is killed you will have done enough. If you can live in a constant state of gratitude your life is going to be rosy as hell. Imagine feeling grateful all the time! That’s like falling in love with life. Amor fati!

The godfather of lifestyle design, Tim Ferriss, once said that making a list every morning of the things you’re grateful for is the single most powerful thing you can do to make your life better as a whole. This is coming from a guy whose expertise is in finding the most potent piece of any system.

Becoming grateful for your life – as it is right now – is the most important thing you can do to productively move forward. It’s easier to work towards making money when you’re grateful for the money that let you eat (read: live) today.

How do we cultivate this? Make lists! I would be a piece of shit if I just recommended you make a gratitude list. Every fool (and non-fool) has already done that. I think I’ve found some unique ways to find gratitude that you’ll like.

Some things EVERYONE is grateful for

1. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Let’s get the standard out of the way. It works. If you sit and write all the things you’re grateful for right now then you’ll see that feeling of gratitude begin to deepen. You’ll feel better about what you have right here and right now. You’ll begin to see that your situation isn’t so dire. It’s important to break past the point of being obvious. Make a list of 50 things you’re grateful for and you’ll find appreciation for things you never would have noticed before. One Thanksgiving I made a list of 500 things I was grateful for and it blew me away how easy it became after realizing how many awesome little things there are in our world.
2. The things surrounding you right now that you’re grateful for. We are constantly surrounded by things that are making our life possible, comfortable, or better in some way. Right now I see an amazing machine that I can type thoughts into a spread to thousands of people in a blog constructed on the internet. There’s my phone sitting right next to me that’s speaking to a satellite in space right now. There’s a book of poems, Antifragile, Mastery, and The 4-Hour Chef all written by authors completely dedicated to great knowledge. There are an assortment of pens and paper that I can use when I want to stop looking at a computer monitor. My fingers are healthy enough to type these words out to you. My brain is functioning enough to make them worth reading. What’s around your screen? Your eyes seem to be working well. Maybe you’re in an office paying you what you need as you plan your great escape. Maybe you’re at home in a couch designed by someone to be comfortable to you. Maybe your air conditioner is working well. Maybe it’s the heater.
3. Make a list of lists of things to be grateful for. Create a list of categories of things to be grateful for. What relationships are you grateful for? What people in your life? What are the best moments of your life? What skills are you happy you have? What books are you happy you read? What habits are you happy you have? Make your own list – then dig in and expand them!

what are you grateful for?

4. Make a list of the worst happening to you right now. Then find the good in them. I know, this doesn’t make any sense at all. Aren’t we trying to starve Ingratitude? Wouldn’t this be feeding it? Well, if we stopped at the first part we would be, but the second part brings us back up into gratitude. What are the worst things that have happened to you recently? Did your partner cheat on you? Did you lose a bunch of money? Did you get food poisoning? Did you fall into depression? Did you forget to sign up for the StartupBros newsletter? Did somebody flake on you? Did you get rejected? Find one miniscule things about each that ended up being a good thing. If you need to go back farther to get more perspective then do so. It’s hard to say, “I’m grateful that I lost money in my business.” It’s easier to say, “I’m grateful I learned X about my customers, in the long run it will be worth having lost X because of it.”

5. Write a “thank you” note. It doesn’t even need to officially be a “thank you” note. Just write a letter (or email) to somebody with a sense of gratitude. Maybe it’s writing to them about a recent meeting you had while holding the idea of gratitude.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – JFK

6. Saying “Thank You” to nothing. All of these things are designed to do one thing – make you feel grateful. It’s not always necessary to target your gratitude though. You can just feel grateful for no reason. This is the end-goal anyway. When you can feel grateful for no reason then you have found amor fati. Your default state is a love for your fate. That’s a place worth getting to.

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Pick your weapon and slay Ingratitude before it drowns you in an unproductive, stress-inducing swamp of suckery.

Gratitude and motivation are close. As soon as you’re grateful for the things around you it will become easy to motivate your actions. Remember while you do any of these exercises that the whole point is to feel grateful. If you’re not feeling it then it’s useless. Notice what happens to your motivation when Ingratitude as been slain – it’s right here.

 

Envy

!?

Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate. – Goethe

When Envy has you in it’s grasp you’re blind to everything you have (and, OMG – ungrateful! – you’ll notice a lot of overlap in the Murderers) or you see it as worthless. You are only aware of the greener grass that’s never on your side of the fence. The most peculiar thing is that once you get to the other side of the fence the grass is pretty dull and you discover you left your own green grass in search of somebody else’s. Most people die without realizing that they were the ones coloring the grass. They were the ones killing the grass they stood on by neglecting it and, in most cases, shitting all over it (not in a fertilizing way).

I’m envious every day of those people who like they’re having more fun. I’m envious of those people who are smarter than me. I’m envious of Nassim Taleb that he has developed a mind that is so great he could produce a book like Antifragile.

We love to make stories. Humans thrive on the narratives we create. Sometimes we don’t treat ourselves well in our stories though. We assume that a highlight somebody shared represents their entire life. We assume that their creation is better than ours because they have talent we could never have. We assume people like them because they were born likable. We want their things, their partners, their experiences, their lives.

Envy will make you forget that the only life worth living is your own.

Indeed, it’s the only life you will ever live. Envy poisons desire so that we can’t trust it. Envy will focus your energy on being a victim of ‘not having’. Envy will take so much of your attention that you forget to do what’s important. You forget to see the progress that you’re making and so you lost motivation. How can you be motivated to build in your own life when it’s so hopelessly inferior to those lives?!

Envy is dumb. Let’s kill it.

1. Notice your reactions to the successes and failures of others. If your friend scores a win and you cringe, you’re envious of them. If they suffer a loss and you feel relief, you’re envious of them. Be honest with yourself. “I would never!” Yes, I know. Me either. Let’s detach a bit. Look at people in the news. How do you react to bad things (the only things reported in the news) happening to people? How do you feel when you see a car you want driving down the road? If you admire the car that’s fantastic. If you admire the car and then find a dig on the driver it’s not. Who are the people you like to hate on?

When you spend time being envious of people for having more (money, peace, happiness, perspective, intelligence, ‘time’, family, anything) than you then you certainly aren’t focusing on creating more of that into your own life. When you notice your reaction to others you can begin to shift it.

2. Kill Facebook. Facebook is a place for people to go and yell about the highlights of their lives. It’s great, I love sharing things I’m doing with friends and family that wouldn’t otherwise know about it. By spreading my ideas on my Facebook page I find friends who connect with me on different levels than I normally would have. It’s a great tool.

But it’s a tool and should be treated as one. As humans we need to be careful to use tools to make our lives better.

Facebook is a dangerous tool because it’s a breeding ground for Envy. Your friend that’s married with a kid and a fulfilling career won’t stop posting about it. Your other friend who has seen the entire world has you convinced your a loser for not being in all those places. That girl who is partying with every celebrity in the world won’t stop typing in caps about poppin bottles. Everyone seems to be on a a grand adventure while you’re alone at home.

Understand: Facebook is a highlight reel.

Monotony doesn’t often make it to the front page (unless it’s ironic). Of course we are going to tell people about the most exciting things in our life. To test this I just looked at the photos of myself on Facebook and was amazed at how adventurous my life is. This is what I found:

-Visiting my baby niece in Seattle.

-Holding a bird at a zoo (is it weird I think this is adventurous?).

-Directing a film in a donut shop.

-Wake boarding in Maine.

-Me talking on TV about politics.

-Me at a friend’s book launch.

-At an exclusive beach in Rhode Island

-In Boston

-At the top of something in Yosemite

-Trecking around Europe with my sister.

-Tracking around Europe with Will

- A road trip across the US .

All this happens in a couple pages of photos. And it’s exciting! It triggered all sorts of great memories. But by no means is it representative of how I spend my life. If my Facebook album “Photos of Me” were to represent how I spend most of my time right now it would be 70% of me in St. Petersurg, FL doing one of three things: reading, sitting at my computer typing and clicking into the Internet, or experimenting with something I read. That’s pretty much what I do. Then I sleep the other bit. And it’s awesome. I love reading. I love experimenting with ideas and then bringing you the results. It’s in no way what my Facebook looks like though.

Realize that everyone manages their Facebook the same way. Correction: most people do. Some people think it’s the perfect place to yell about their breakup or some other fight they’ve gotten in. Thanks for not being on of them. But go look at your Facebook page. Look at the photos of you. What a life! You’re as exciting as those Kardashians I keep hearing so much about! You’re a jetsetting culture-icon hobnobber of massive scale!

I once had a friend in college tell me, “My goal is to make it look like I have the most epic life imaginable” as he handed me the camera to take a picture of him being absurd. At first I was taken aback. Then I realized that he was just being honest about the game that everybody is playing – consciously or subconsciously. Instead of having the best experiences possible people want to make their somewhat experiences look like the greatest things in the world.

Going back to the original idea: Kill Facebook. I have done experiments where I killed Facebook for months at a time and it’s been amazing. A few of the benefits:

-I read more books. When Facebook is gone it’s easier to stay away from the black hole that feeds can create.

-I was more focused on productive work. I didn’t have that distraction of, “I wonder what they’re up to” to steal my time.

-I stopped being envious of my friends. I wasn’t bombarded by the highlights of everybody else’s lives to make me feel worse.

-I felt free. I didn’t feel obligated to report anything to Facebook.

-I made stronger connections. When you’re forced to email people you get a stronger connection to them than commenting or “Liking” their stuff.

I’ve gone as far as killing the Internet for months at a time. That means only essentials – email, WordPress, Wikipedia in certain circumstances. It’s great, but killing your Facebook is a huge start.

Maybe you “need” Facebook. Then limit your usage of it. Try setting an hour at the end of the day to do all your social network stuff. I use StayFocused (http://www.bytesignals.com/stayfocused/) to limit my use of Facebook and Reddit to 20 minutes a day. Pick your biggest time-drains and cut them off for yourself.

Oh wow that went longer than expected.

3. Focus on your work. There are always people who are better than you at the thing you’re trying to do – or at least more well-known. There are people producing work inferior to yours making more money than you. As a writer, it can be tremendously difficult to read a masterwork and then go back to your own work.

While writing this I’ve been reading Robert Greene’s Mastery and it threw me into a feeling of helplessness. I’m eons from approaching his ability to so concisely and powerfully express the inner workings of achievement. It’s difficult at times to realize I don’t want to be Greene and I could never be. I haven’t dedicated two decades to deconstructing what makes a Master, he has. Instead, I can let his brilliant way with words make me work harder on this post to make it the greatest thing I can make right now.

Every person is at a different place in their work. We rarely realize that the exact place we are in our work is our most valuable asset. In that way I have been able to transform my paralyzing Envy for Greene into a driver for my own work.

4. Realize that Envy is separate from it’s chosen object. If I am envious of a millionaire’s money and subsequently become a millionaire then my Envy will be pushed onto billionaires. Even billionaires envy the wealth and power of other billionaires. This is possible because Envy tricks us into thinking that it wants something in particular. It will never be satisfied though. Envy is a feeling in itself that tricks you into believing that the next step will make you happy. It doesn’t work like that. You’ve seen this in your life time and again.

The goal isn’t to never want anything again, the goal is to notice your envy and see it for what it is. When you’re feeling jealous of a person because of their car or wife then notice it and realize that taking his wife and car isn’t going to get you where you want to be.

Envy is no fun at all. It’s the thing that tricks you into thinking you’re never enough. It tricks you into wanting everything but the things you have. It makes you want all the talents but your own. Envy will have you think that some other person is doing it all right and you should feel bad about yourself because you haven’t done what they have.

If I’m Envying the intellect of somebody else I can’t think of anything creative. If I’m Envying the things of others my own belongings will go unused. If I’m Envying the life of somebody else then I’m wasting my own.

 

Impatience

If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life. – Oscar Wilde

 

Some people find impatience a virtue. “Wow, he really gets it done now!” But if you’re driven by impatience then burnout is just around the corner. If you’re impatient you won’t take the time required to make anything worthwhile.

Being patient does not mean that you have no sense of urgency or that you can’t get things done quickly – you must! Impatience is the insidious thing that creeps up when we hurry. Impatience is what makes us fumble the ball because we’ve already moved on to the next task. It’s what causes us to half-ass work.

When I’m rushing out the door – Impatiently leaving – I’m guaranteed to leave the tickets to the show or my keys. When I’m Impatient completing a task it will definitely suffer. Quality and Impatience can’t coexist, it just doesn’t make sense. You can’t be doing your current activity well when you can only think of being done with it or, worse, the next activity.

Impatience scatters our brain and disorganizes our thoughts because it’s scared of the present. It’s scared that at every moment you should be further along. You should have that other task accomplished. You’re right here though.

Even as I write this I have a feeling of impatience. There are other projects that need my attention, Imptatience is creeping in to divert my attention to those things. But I see it, take a breath, and remember that this is the only task that matters now.

Don’t lose motivation to the unorganized rushing mind of Impatience.

Here are my favorite techniques for killing Impatience:

1. Have a map. I was getting Impatient with every task I was doing. This was just yesterday. When you work for yourself there are always an infinite amount of things to do. There are endless to-do lists that only get longer – and there are multiple lists like this for every one of the endless projects underway. It’s madness.

apparently this is the tattoo edition

Unless you write it down. Right now make a list of every project you’re working on. Now break every project into tasks. Now map each of those tasks on a shared calendar (I use Google Calendar). This might take you twenty minutes or it might take two hours. Either way it will be well worth the time.

When you have your tasks planned then it’s easier to focus on the current one. It’s easier to forget about that project you’re supposed to do later when you have actually scheduled time to do it later.

2. Focus on the current task. The most important step is this one. I think some ancient sage said that. If you find your mind wandering while working on a current task then notice it and bring your mind back to your task.

When an idea pops in your head and won’t leave take a break to record it in your phone or on paper. When you get the idea out of your head it’ll stop bothering you. This is one of my favorite things to do. I have notebooks (digital and physical) full of papers of mostly terrible ideas that let my brain be free to do whatever it was supposed to be focusing on at the time.

3. Faith in the Process. If you’re practicing a skill and at a plateau then you will suffer severe Impatience. It will make you doubt everything about your abilities. If you’re an entrepreneur and have suffered several failures then Impatience will begin to whisper in your ear that it’s not working, that you aren’t cut out for it. Oftentimes people listen and quit.

This is why it’s imperative to work with a process that you know works. If you’re going to attempt something difficult you will experience severe growing pains. There will be moments where you feel like an impostor or that you aren’t ‘cut out’. Impatience has tricky ways to make you think you’ll never make it.

You have to have faith in the process that you’ve chosen. Focus on this step. Learn from your failures. If these aren’t possible now with the process you’ve chosen then adjust your process – but do it carefully.

4. Study the Masters.  Anybody who has achieved great things has had to fail a lot first. Quentin Tarantino has to go through of eight solid years (almost an entire decade, and that’s short in comparison to others) of nothing working out. The entire time he just kept plugging away, getting better, deepening his knowledge, and learning from his failures. Then “out of nowhere” he made Reservoire Dogs and became every movie-lover’s hero.

whaa?

5. Take a break. Sometimes we get impatient because we’ve been stuck in a task for too long and our brains are getting pissed about it. Take a break. Go for a quick run or (very) slow walk. Go watch an episode of South Park. Do something unrelated to give your brain 20 minutes to stop thinking about the same damn thing.

This story of massive failure before success is universal.

Remember this when you’re impatient after six months of failures. Study your own personal hero and remind yourself that they probably went through the same frustrations. The key is to keep going.

—-

I’m getting impatient again. I want to type faster and I want my ideas to come better and faster. They’re better than last week which was better than the week before. I better keep going. Right now is going to make next week even better.

I can’t let Impatience rob me of the creativity available to me now. I can’t let Impatience for this thing to be done ruin the quality of the thing! So I’m refocusing. I’m going to go play with the dogs and when I come back I’ll have the patience of a saint.

Overwhelm

NOTHING IS POSSIBLE AND EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE!!

Usually once a week Overwhelm takes over my entire life and I can’t do anything. I get pretty much zero done on days of Overwhelm. There’s no motivation to do anything when there’s EVERYTHING to do!

I’ve sat in bed for hours thinking about the amazing amount of things that needed to get done. Then when I got out of bed and found my way to the computer I was so overloaded with tasks that the only thing I could do was go look at Facebook. Then it’s time for dinner. Then sleep. But I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about the EVERYTHING that I didn’t do today.

What a cycle!

Overwhelm comes from us putting too many projects on our plate then losing track of them.

These are the ways I get out from Overwhelm:

Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness. – Titus Livius

1. Subtract. Most problems can be fixed by taking something away instead of adding something else. When there are too many plates spinning then they’re all more likely to come crashing down. How can you simplify your life? What responsibilities can you get rid of? What trips can you get out of? What websites can you stop visiting? What mediocre books can you stop reading?

2. Organize. This goes back to the first recommendation to escape Impatience: “Have a map”. Organize your life so you can see all your major activities – professional and personal – on a single sheet of paper. When it’s all in front of you then it becomes much easier to digest. Break every project down into pieces small enough pieces that you understand everything that needs to be done to complete the thing (or at least get to the next step).

Schedule time to complete every one of these tasks. You’ll instantly see your overwhelm dissipate.

(Borrowed from Pat Johnson)

3. Lower the bar. One of the most universal feelings of our generation is, “I should be doing more.” Nobody is happy with where they’re at. There’s a massive gap between where you are and your ideal place in life. Same with everybody else. It’s not a bad thing to want to have ambitious goals but sometimes those goals can actually get in their own way. If you’re just setting around feeling bad for not having reached your goal then you probably won’t be working hard to get to it.

Lower your bar a little bit. Give yourself a little leeway and realize that you’ve been doing a lot of the right things. The goals were probably harder than you thought. You can still get there but it will take more work. Remember: Patience!

Overwhelm is one the most insidious Motivation Murderers but also one of the most straight-forward to get rid of. If you are paralyzed by being Overwhelmed then you have to externalize your life. Get all your activities somewhere you can see it. This isn’t a one-time deal.

Just like your desk, your mind needs to be cleared constantly.

Burnout is the kissing cousin of Overwhelm. If you are Burning out then “Subtract” and “Lower the Bar” are imperative. You have to get some rest before your creative mind is destroyed totally. Take a break. Quit your job and do something lower-stress for a while. Exercise. Ease up on yourself!

 

Inaction

The longer you spend in Inaction the easier it is to sit there. It’s comfortable to get ideas and think about them long enough that it’s exciting to tell people about – then you lose motivation to make that idea a reality. Notice what happens to your motivation when you spend a day not taking action – it’s gone.

This is a universal problem we face as humans. There are a million people online who post articles every day about how you will finally beat procrastination. You are promised magic bullets and methods that will completely eliminate procrastination in your life. Of course you are procrastinating by reading the article. Then you continue to procrastinate afterwords.

This is how you kill Inaction:

1. Action is everything. Inaction is killed instantly by action. Action is like a light turned on in a dark room of inaction. Every action you take, no matter how small, will build momentum. Soon you will find yourself in the habit of taking action and it will actually be HARDER not to act.

2. Lowering the bar: Part 2. Make it so easy to begin a task that you can’t not do it. A study showed recently that the best way to get in the habit of flossing your teeth regularly is to commit to flossing a single tooth. You make it so easy that you have to do it.

Once you floss a single tooth then it becomes amazingly easy to floss the rest of your teeth. Once you sit down and write the first word it’s easy to write the next thousand. Once you sit down and answer the first email it’s easy to answer the rest.

Trick yourself into beginning tasks by making the commitment so miniscule you HAVE to do it.

begin and begin and begin

3. Appreciate the wisdom of action. Our best tool for procrastination is over-thinking and rationalization. Action is the only way anything gets done, but it also offers you a wisdom that’s not available through thought. When you practice something you get a true feel for it. When you do something new you learn things that you couldn’t have unless you tried the thing.

Before embarking on the journey of writing a book I researched quite a bit about the writing process but nothing could prepare me for actually doing the thing. You run into all the nuances of making a book when you actually have to make it. The same goes with everything else. Once you do the thing you will run into nuances and pre-thought knowledge that you can’t find in written text.

4. Don’t stop. For me it’s best to make progress every day. Even one day of inaction can create a resistance to acting. For exercise, do at least two minutes a day. For writing, do 50 words. You don’t need every day to be a big one but you do need to keep the motivation alive by keeping the chain intact.

Take action on your idea today. Even just a tiny one. You will begin to build momentum. That momentum will only grow and soon taking action will become a habit. You will no longer sit on good ideas and let them die, you will build them out and take them to fruition.

Begin now. What’s something you’ve been wanting to do forever? Get it shape? Do one tiny thing to be healthier today. Tomorrow do another. Soon you’ll be so far along you will have forgotten what that kind of inactive sloth is like.

Don’t let Inaction continue to rule your world. Don’t believe it when it tells you taking action is hard. Baby steps!

[Check out The Overthinker's Guide to Taking Action for more.]

Loss of Meaning

 

the work!

If you feel like what you’re doing has no purpose then you are guaranteed to have zero motivation to do it. Without meaning we feel lost. And as we search for meaning we realize it’s not really there. Without the motivation to do something we can fall into the stagnation of an existential crisis or worse.

This is a huge problem for my generation and the one before. Our grandparents were proud to do their work because they enjoyed the work itself. We believe we need to have some overflowing passion for everything we do at all times and it’s causing a lot of people to fall into what’s being called the “Quarter Life Crisis” which is a lot like – you guessed it! – the famed middle life crisis. But we’re only a quarter way through our 100 year-or-so-probably-less lives.

People are getting depressed because they thought life was supposed to be something different. They thought they were going to go on adventures but instead they’re in a cubicle or selling knives – and those are the lucky ones.

I have existential crises at least once a week. If you could be an expert at existential crises I would be one. Unfortunately, the nature of the thing doesn’t allow for a lot of understanding. There are ways I’ve found to get out of my own however, I hope you find them useful.

It’s the journey

1. Adopt the craftsman mindset. Focus on your work. When you are worried about being passionate about something or whether is “means” anything you end up asking questions like:

“Is this what I’m passionate about? Why am I not feeling passionate about it right now?”

“Shouldn’t I just switch crafts again?”

“Does this mean anything to the world?”

“If the world is going to end anyway why should I even bother?”

“Is this pleasing to me?”

Notice the obsession with your own self in that mindset. Instead a craftsman focuses on the work he/she’s doing. When you adopt the craftsman mindset you end up asking questions like:

“How can I be better?”

“How can I provide more value for others?”

“Why did they respond that way to my work?”

These questions are centered around making better things for other people. For making other people’s lives better. The secret here is that you end up doing a lot more good for yourself by holding this focus.

This kind of thinking has deep roots in eastern philosophy. Consider the quote, “Zen is not to think about god while peeling potatoes, it is only to peel the potatoes.” (Paraphrasing.)

Try focusing on your work and getting better and notice how much better and more productive you become.

2. Meaning is created in work. If you find anyone with a deep feeling of mission and purpose in life you will find someone who loves their work. You don’t find meaning in a sentence or anything like that. You find it in the flow of work. After the initial stages of learning a skill you begin to be able to do it without thinking to hard about it. When you enter “the zone” you are in a flow state of mind. The people who feel most meaning in their lives are the ones who spend the most time in this kind of state.

Find YOUR mission

3. Aim bigger. If you’re no longer excited about your work you may be playing too small. Somebody wrote a book called “The Magic of Thinking Big”, I’ve never read it but I imagine that one of the magical things about thinking big is how exciting is. It’s not very exciting to say, “I’m going to write a blog post on motivation”. It’s much more exciting to think, “I’m going to write a blog post that covers every one of my major Motivation Murderers that I can go back and reference whenever I’m feeling unmotivated.” Believe me, I was there.

StartupBros wouldn’t be exciting if we only wanted to make some money online. What makes StartupBros such an exciting thing for me is that we are aiming to disrupt the traditional course of education. I hate that so many of my friends think they must follow a prescribed path. I want to explore other options and show what’s possible. We’re entering a world where self-reliance is imperative and we need to face the scary ideas that presents.

Try bulking up your mission. It may help infuse every little task with a little more meaning.

4. Express yourself. It may be difficult to express yourself through your work – so find another outlet. Go paint or draw a picture or write a poem. Express yourself in some raw way that gives meaning to your life. It’s easy to forget about art when we’re focused on profits – and it could take a while for you to feel like your craft is actually an art – so sometimes you need to go to art directly.

5. Realize that your life already has meaning. Your life, right now, is already meaningful. You’re a part of this universe. You interact with people every day in one way or another and so you create relationships with them. Just by the way you carry yourself through the world your meaning is understood by the people around you. You are made of the same stuff as stars. You probably share molecules with a star that exploded millions of years ago. Your human body is a miracle in all that it can do. Your life is already amazing, sometimes you just need to take a moment and see it.

Alan Moore writing for Dr Manhattan in The Watchmen – SO GOOD

 

—-

Notice that the answer is almost never to “find a meaning”. That’s not how it works. You need to focus on the things that create meaning. Creating meaning in your life doesn’t mean giving yourself a story that infuses your life with some purpose. Instead, it means that your actions create the meaning of your life.

Maybe one day later you will find your “aha!” moment of finally understanding your definite mission in life and maybe you won’t. The good part is that you don’t need to have a one-sentence mission to lead a meaningful life

 

No Skin in the Game

 

Expose yourself!

Do you know why poker games without money in the pot suck? There’s no stakes! You can bet like a jackass if you don’t have anything to lose – and you should! It’s the same thing with motivation. The less you need to succeed the less motivated you become to do so.

I’m not talking about mortgaging your house and putting your family in danger. You can get to pain long before then.

Earlier I talked about how Quentin Tarantino had to go through eight years of nothing working out for him before he made Reservoir Dogs. He attributes his ability to do this to the fact that he didn’t set up a plan B. Plan A was going to work or he would continue working in movie stores. It had to happen.

Raise the stakes!

Some ideas to force your skin in the game:

1. Be responsible to someone. It’s easier to stay motivated when someone else is there to push you along. We all need support every once in a while. So share your deadlines with somebody who will slap you hard if you don’t meet them.

2. Set yourself up for pain. You need to set yourself up so it will hurt to not finish what you said you would. The website StickK (http://www.stickk.com/) can help you do this by using anti-charities. You set yourself up to donate to a charity that you hate. Would you rather not complete your goal or donate money to a charity for Nazis (or something slightly less terrible)?

You need to create an environment that supports action in the direction you want to go. One way to do this is to use the above tools to make it painful to not follow through.

 

Poor Health

Cute until the heart fails…

If you are a physical wreck it’s nearly impossible to stay motivated. Greasy fast-food will not provide you with any kind of inspiring energy. Every time I go a week or more without working out my motivation plummets because I have no energy. The same happens when I eat terribly. Our brains need good food to work like we want them to. Our bodies need to be used in order to hold themselves in an energetic manner.

Get healthy!

1. Sleep. If you’re not sleeping well then you’re not functioning well.

2. Exercise! Even if it’s only five minutes, do something. 

3. Stop eating shitty.

4. Caffeinate. This one actually isn’t healthy at all. However, some days a cup of coffee is pure liquid motivation.

There’s nothing I can tell you about nutrition and health that you don’t know. You know your brain works better when it’s well fed, when you work out, and when you sleep well. You know what’s good for you. Respect yourself.

 

Epilogue: When Motivation Speaks

 

There are an infinite amount of things that are waiting to grab on and suck your motivation straight out of you. You need to kill them at every turn. Sometimes they come in the form of shitty people, sometimes they come as failures, sometimes they are something as sneaky as the absence of action.

Motivation feels great but sometimes being unmotivated is a tool.

I just wrote 7000+ words about how to stay motivated and now I’m telling you that it can be good to be unmotivated.

If you try to get motivated to really get into your job but you can’t. If you go through and try all these strategies I’ve offered up and still aren’t motivated then it’s probably time to switch things up. Your inability to get motivated about a certain project could mean that that’s not the project you should be working on.

The most important thing you can learn to do is trust yourself. Our body gives us all sorts of signals that aren’t as clear as, “Quit this job with that jackass boss ya dummy!” but can be just as loud.

There have been points in my life where motivation dried up completely. I couldn’t muster any excitement for my job or the project that I was working on. After trying all possible routes of getting excited and still feeling numb about the work I was doing it became obvious: it was time to leave. 

It’s the scariest thing in the world to change your life in a dramatic way for no real “reason” other than you’re not “feeling” it. People may judge you harshly. You may judge you harshly. But if you learn to trust in it, that voice will take you to the places in life that matter more than any of the others.

That’s the voice that told me to start writing. It’s the one that energized me to begin working on StartupBros. Every time I’ve listened and jumped into the darkness I’ve been rewarded handsomely with awesome experiences and an infusion of energy that doesn’t come by following what others think you should be doing.

Listen to yourself. Observe your motivation. When are you most motivated? What activities are most motivating to you? What people around you motivate you the most?

Watch intently and support your motivation in any way you can.

Kill the Motivation Murderers and realize that the only person who could ever rob you of your motivation is you.

_______

This isn’t nearly complete! Comment below and tell us about your favorite ways to stay motivated.

by Kyle Eschenroeder

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Let me know what you think - the good, the bad, the ugly - in the comments below. I'm an entrepreneur (more in the StartupBros About Page) in St. Petersburg, FL but this World Wide Web let's us connect from anywhere in the world: Facebook Google+ Twitter Or email me any time (you can get my email by signing up on the form below)

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192 comments… add one

  1. Wow! This is an INCREDIBLE post with a lot of things people (including myself) need to hear. I’m going to have to come back and reread parts of this to digest it all, but I’ll be passing this along to several people. Everything you addressed was spot-on: if you culminate the opposite of these motivation murderers, you’re going to be a successful and optimistic person.

    Maybe this is proprietary info, but how long did it take you to write this? This could almost be broken up into a month-long series, or at least used as the basis for many more great posts (which is on my mind thanks to this article: http://www.shopify.com/blog/6997620-my-mantra-to-blogging-that-made-20-000-remix-reuse-and-republish )

    Reply
    1. Hey Matt! Really appreciate the love! My idea in creating this was to make something that is worth revisiting – more of a resource than a one-time thing. I’m hoping that you do bookmark this thing and come back when you find that your motivation is gone (my goal was to make something that I could go back to).

      I certainly could have broken this up into 7 pieces and get more traffic but I think it would lose the power of being (hopefully) a one-stop-shop. That article you sent is fascinating, I’ll definitely be playing with those ideas. One difference I have with the author is that I revel in hurting my brain to come up with original ideas – the fun is in digging deeper. However! This content IS being leveraged – I’m including nearly all the content in a book I’ve been writing titled “SelfMadeU”.

      It took me a lot of hours haha – I want to say 8 or more.

      Curious, what pieces of the post do you think could be expanded on? Which deserve more attention?

      Also, love your site! Beautiful design and the post on Google+ communities is making me seriously reconsider creating one for StartupBros.

      Great to have a guy like you on the site!

      Reply
  2. This is an excellent approach to motivation. There are many ways to get motivated but you hit the nail on the demotivators.

    The INACTION and NO SKIN IN THE GAME are the demotivators I’m guilty of. Two very good business ideas are sitting on my shelf as I type this. They have been refined and planned out. My skills have been honed and I’ve reached financial independence. I’m simply not acting on them and am financially cushy to not go through with them. Yet, I continue to fantasize about them. I like your simple solutions: action and responsibility.

    Another demotivator I would add to this list is FUTURE. I’m always coming up with many excuses why I will have more time and resources in the future to act on these business ideas but never have a good enough reason to act today.

    Reply
    1. I hope you’ve taken Step 1 toward building one of your FUTURE businesses!! And that is the perfect addition – I think I’ll make an addendum and see what you think. We always have so much faith in our future selves. Time to start giving more credit the present self/circumstances!

      Loving your blog by the way!

      Reply
      1. I think “Aim higher” would fit here too Kyle

        Reply
        1. “Aim Bigger” is my third suggestion to kill “Loss of Meaning” but “higher” has a different feel to it. I actually like that more in some ways.

          Interesting stuff! Would love to hear about how you’ve used that one.

          Reply
  3. Just wanted to say excellent work and to ask you what other books you recommend seeing htat you are a Nassem Taleb and Tim Ferriss fan. I quite enjoy their work myself. Any other authors or books that have really made a difference to you that you could recommend?

    Reply
    1. Books are my favorite things in the world James. I’m not sure what you’re looking for – if you let me know where you’re at in your journey I could give you a more specific recommendation. Here are some of my favorites that come to mind. I put together a short list on my personal blog at http://www.kyleschen.com/2012/09/27/books-that-will-rebirth-your-mind/

      Right now Taleb is my hero because he IS his work in a way that no other business writer living is – except for maybe James Altucher. He combines philosophy (one of my other favorite things) and business more elegantly than I thought was possible.

      Our “Secret Weapons” page has a ton of books that both Will and I love. I’ve written a couple summaries on this blog of books I enjoy – ReWork and Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You and What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.

      The Steve Jobs bio is a great inspirational book for any entrepreneur. It shows you just how thoroughly you can break every rule out there.
      Robert Greene’s Mastery is a masterwork on becoming a master. It’s unreal how tight Greene’s grip on greatness is. It does make sense – he’s been writing about power for more than a decade now.
      Taleb’s just-published Antifragile is blowing my mind every page. I can’t praise Taleb enough.
      The Lean Startup is a must-read for any entrepreneur. Ries essentially redefined the process of starting a startup by bringing the ideas of MVP and testing to the masses.
      The Personal MBA is a necessity as a reference book if you’re thinking about business at all. It’s hugely valuable and super cheap.
      The Laptop Millionaire is a great collection of ideas for starting a business online. Surprisingly innovative and honest.

      If you’re looking for a great story and like sci-fi, check out Dune. If you’re looking for a great secular spiritual book check out You Are The World by Krishnamurti. If you’re looking for straight up motivation in a book Seth Godin’s Linchpin is great – I hear his upcoming Icarus Deception is even more exciting.

      Are these helpful? I’d love to help find one to solve whatever problem you’re looking for. Let me know!

      Reply
  4. This is an EPIC post! You really hit on some great points Kyle. Incredibly helpful stuff.

    Reply
    1. Thank you, sir!

      Reply
  5. You are such a wonderful human being. I am SO thankful to have someone like you as a friend. P.S. *hug*, how’s the script coming?

    Reply
    1. It’s a-coming! Thank you so much, means a lot!

      Reply
  6. This has been a useful random find from Google. Better than when I was looking for Pochacco to show my girlfriend and I thought the anime dog was spelled “pochatto” which is chubby hentai, not a cute anime dog.

    Reply
    1. David – I want to thank you for the first StartupBros comment that made me physically laugh out loud. Well done, sir.

      Reply
    2. Unfortunately I was looking for chubby hentai and now I’m reassessing my life. Th-thanks…

      Reply
      1. And there’s the second one! :)

        Reply
  7. LOL David! I’m so happy you came this way! Thank you so much for introducing that unbelievably cute dog to me…

    Reply
  8. Hello, what a great post! I’m not finished yet, but needed to send my thanks to you for the inspiration and the tools to get a grip on motivation.

    Thanks again!!!

    Reply
    1. Awesome Leana! Come back and let us know what tools you found most useful!

      Reply
  9. Just what I needed thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Godspeed, Adrianna!

      Reply
  10. Hey Kyle,
    wonderful post and I agree with you on so many of those things.
    One thing I noticed about constantly seeing all the highlights of “friends” and people on Facebook is the following: When I meet people that I haven’t seen in quite a while they can barely tell me something new about their life. That’s because I already knew what they were doing, without even talking to them.
    I think that is kind of sad!
    Of course it is far more interesting to hear stories personally, but it just changed the way experiences get shared.
    cheers

    Reply
    1. It is bizarre, isn’t !? Of course maybe that’s an opportunity to immediately dig deep with them- there’s a moment of awkwardness (“Are we really going to start our conversation talking about THIS?!”) but it can be followed by a more satisfying conversation.

      Reply
  11. I started a business last year but have lost all motivation for it. I was actually online looking for a job and decided to type in “lost all motivation for my business” when I came across you blog.

    Your bit about Facebook really made me laugh. I used to work in the hotel industry so many people I know still work in hotels, now holding senior positions in exotic places, all seeming to be having a great life while I struggle to make a small business work!

    I will have to come back to your blog for a re read, as its now 2am and I really should be in bed. And thanks to your article, I will now go to sleep in a more positive frame of mind..

    Reply
    1. Great Donna! There’s something to be said for building your own thing… I’m sure they’re looking at you with a sense that the grass might be greener too

      Reply
  12. Wow, I can’t fully describe how insightful this article is! First, just prior to reading I was sitting (slouching really) in front of my computer, on FB, wondering how my life got to HERE – mindlessly scrolling through the endless nothingness of my news feed. Why was I choosing to observe other peoples’ lives and not my own? Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice – more of a bad habit. I wonder why I can’t get off my lazy butt and read a book, take a walk or catch a great documentary. Thus my “motivation” to find motivation led me to you. The thing I love most about this article is that you provide a balanced perspective. Destroy the motivation killers but choose something your passionate about. Take care of yourself but don’t obsess to the point of comparison. You’ve done an excellent job giving us a realistic, controllable method to stay motivated regardless of our external circumstances. I consider my perspective altered! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Tessa! So glad you found this post when you did… and found that it could help! I’ve found that staying connected to reality helps my motivation in the long-term… it forces you to realize how amazing reality has the potential to be :)

      Reply
    2. hello! this came in right on time. As some one who loves motivating others and encouraging others , I find that there are times when i have no motivation left over for myself. so to prevent being bitter or resentful towards life, I went searching for some good reads on motivation, I knew I had to do someting and something soon because like I said i was begining to feel a bit resentful about helping others. and at 37 and 3 teens I was falling apart. trying to create that ballance but there this post was. what an awsome read! this is the best post on motivation . you nailed it!! it took me 3 days to complete being a single mom and all added the longwinded details of every topic but thats what I LOVED THE MOST ..oh how long winded I can be myself.but after reading this im like yes! just like i have said all along, when you care about making sure people get what they need . a person of any great concern will be detailed- making sure none walk away going “oh I didnt get that. again I have booked marked this one . you have made my day YOU have been my motivation! I learned so many hings from this post it would take all day all post sapce but I love the part on breaking it ito smaller pieces. and even the one on envy didnt know I even had some of that going on ! aint that the turth I said to myself lol but yes we can get better not bitter thanks bunches Jalina!

      Reply
      1. Your welcome bunches :D Thanks for taking the time to comment!

        A lot of people burn out “serving” others because they are expecting a payout. Motivating others can be extremely motivating to yourself… however, it will destroy you if you are expecting something back without asking for it.

        For instance, an older friend of mine spent a lot of time as a spiritual advisor and ended up bitter that she wasn’t paid more. GIVING is not a transactional act. If there is an expectation, then it isn’t giving – it’s a one-sided transaction.

        Make your transactions clean. Take money at agreed-on times and give where you feel free to give. If you DON’T feel free to give, then don’t.

        Reciprocity is a powerful psychological tool, but not one we should count on.

        Looking forward to having you more in the StartupBros community!

        Reply
  13. Sat in by a roaring log fire in Cumbria, UK, on the shortest daylight day of the year, whilst really filthy weather blows trees over outside. Motivation to go out and train is difficult, really difficult. Reading your tips on putting the motivation killers to rest has eased my mind somewhat and I will do some sit ups and press ups by the fire instead. Something is better than nothing. And as the Norwegians say ‘no such thing as bad weather, only bad choice of clothes’. So an excuse to shop!

    Reply
    1. Something is always better than nothing indeed! And something will lead me to some more and more and more… Little things that snowball.
      Glad you enjoyed the post! Sounds beautiful over there

      Reply
  14. thanks man for this!
    i know all those murderers and experienced each of them at some part of my life,but thanks to you this post made me rethink about everything :)
    i was making like $1k per month but it droppped to $10 per day and i know its all bcoz of my laziness that caught me and i dont know how my fingers are typing this xD

    I bookmarked this and will come back to startupbros if i get demotivated is some part of my life again hehaa !!

    Thanks man!
    Abhijith (Oh yea u’ll find it hard to spell my name :p )

    Reply
    1. I definitely have tried a few ways to pronounce your name, it’s a fun game but I probably ended up with something offensively bad haha.

      I’m glad this could help! I hope you’ve already made moves to get back to – and undoubtedly surpass – that $1k/month mark!

      Reply
      1. haha just call me A-B xD
        and yes i already(finally) started working :)
        Also had a chat with $18k/day guy in cpa markeing and it was just “Woah!!” experience in my life that also motivated me like hell.

        thanx man,
        AB or call me moneyboy2012 :) (its my username everywhere :p )

        Reply
        1. I bet you get there before long :)

          Reply
  15. Amazing blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform
    like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out
    there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

    Reply
    1. I would go with a paid wordpress page. I also put a massive guide on getting better at writing together:
      http://www.startupbros.com/the-ultimate-writing-guide-for-entrepreneurs/

      Good luck!

      Reply
  16. Thank you very much, this brought back a sense of hope i thought i had lost .

    Reply
    1. Awesome :)

      Reply
  17. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. You, Stanley Hughes, are welcome any time

      Reply
  18. Thank you, I’ve found this very insightful.

    Reply
    1. I’m glad, thanks for stopping by

      Reply
  19. Thank you, really, I’ve been struggling with so many things lately, and began searching for some sort of band aid advice for how to get myself out of bed in the morning, this was so much more. I think I fall into the “time to leave my job” group, but just knowing others are out there struggling with the same thing helps.

    Reply
    1. Hey Christina, glad this could help. Getting out of bed can be the hardest thing in the world. I wrote a piece specifically about that time for me, it might be helpful on the next day you get stuck in bed. I hope today is not that day, but if it is : http://thoughtcatalog.com/kyle-eschenroeder/2013/03/some-suggestions-for-navigating-a-world-thats-110-bad/

      Reply
  20. Thank you, Kyle. I never comment on anything but this truly deserved it.

    Reply
    1. Awesome, Hans. Thanks a ton!

      Reply
  21. Everything you mentioned in that article is relatable and relevant. I’m glad I took the time to read this, thank you for making me realise I’m not the only sloth in town!

    Reply
    1. Here’s to you spending slightly less time as a sloth!

      Reply
  22. Oh man, right on.

    One of my favorite way’s to be motivated is to play with others. I definitely like to share my happiness, and so that keeps me going. Just wanted to voice my appreciation. This is exceptional Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Playing with others! I just saw a talk that Warren Buffett gave to UF MBA students… the guy is in a perpetual state of PLAY.

      Reply
  23. Just came across this post and I found it really really helpful, thanks for taking the time to write it! It’s clear you invested a lot of time and energy into it, which makes it different to a lot of articles out there that I have come across. It is certainly an article to come back to again in order to practice these different tips. thanks again!

    Reply
    1. So glad it was helpful Dana! Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

      Reply
  24. This has got to be the best post I’ve ever read on motivation. You were so thorough that I felt like you were peeking inside my brain, particularly with your insights on impatience and overwhelm.

    One of my favorite ways to stay motivated is to surround myself with other people who are on fire about what they do, and are genuinely enthusiastic about my work, too. Envy is one of the only issues you listed that isn’t a struggle for me; I get a huge thrill out of seeing other people succeed, so this works well for me. It ends up being a perpetual cycle of mutual encouragement.

    Reply
    1. Creating the tribe!! That is probably the biggest, right? The people we’re around are the most potent piece of our environment I think.

      Thanks a TON for including me in your list! Seeing this article mixed in with Seth Godin and those other guys was a nice boost today :)

      Reply
      1. You’re so welcome Kyle! Your blog is such a great resource, I just had to share it with my readers. Thanks for doing what you do.

        Reply
        1. Hey Mani, wondered how you’re doing. Hope everything is well!

          Reply
  25. Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful post, it is a very nice site i really enjoyed to visit this site.

    Reply
    1. Glad you’re digging it :)

      Reply
  26. Maybe I missed it, because, I freely admit to having skimmed this more than actually read it, but, I did not see my motivational murderer represented. The biggest thing I have a problem with is other people.

    Not what they think. Not just that they are not also cleaning. Yeah, see, I saw those bits!

    It’s their actively creating messes, breaking things, smoking pot at me when they know it makes me ill, stealing things, and, not cleaning up, and, what they think. All combined. But, mostly, just that I can clean things up and they will be right there to dirty it all up, again; I can buy nice things and they will be right there to destroy them. Sometimes, within minutes.

    If I kick out everyone living with me, because of it, someone will just break in and do it, anyway, in this neighborhood. And, you know why they can? Because, while I was busy washing the dishes, someone else took the deadbolt out and put a doorknob with no lock in it’s place, because, that was easier than installing a separate handle and having to use a key every time you leave the house, even to go check the mail.

    I am overwhelmed by lack of money, lack of energy, and, extreme ungratefulness and lack of respect from others.

    Reply
    1. Sorry to hear about this Arletta. I agree with everything Julie suggested. It sounds like the biggest thing you can do now is remove yourself. It sounds like the poison you’re in now is too deep to do anything else.

      Reply
  27. I love this. Realistic advise, funny and doable!? Which is VERY motivating to me! I will bookmark this page and re-read often. I’m 50 years old and seem to have mastered nothing. Just taking that step to be the best me in my passion has been a nagging thorn in my side. I really like the tricking of the mind to just do one, like flossing one tooth, or typing one word, or taking one picture, or taking one minute on the treadmill…haha…so many possibilities….but now the dilemma of picking one. I liked also to either get rid of or spend less time on facebook or even the internet…reading about others achievements instead of making my own is depressing. I’ll be back, thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Awesome Ann! So many people did their best work after they were 50. When I get frustrated with my position I remember that most of the progress I have made is invisible to me now and will only make sense later. Then I put my head down and work. Everything makes sense in the moments of clarity… but those only last a moment!

      Reply
  28. Tessa, just the words I want to say. Plus, this blog is for any age. I am nearing 50 and gained incredible insight into my lack of motivation —this from a lady with a m.a. in counseling. Way to go…gave me a new appreciation for the younger generation – even with the few curse words…I have already shared the article. If it was cleaned up a bit, it could be submitted to an educational or counseling magazine…I will definitely be reviewing it when I back slide…

    Reply
    1. I’m grateful to know you found this useful! Thanks a ton for stopping by. What magazines would you recommend? Feel free to comment here or email me: kyle at startupbros dot com

      Thanks again!!

      Reply
  29. Wow. They are taking advantage of you, but it has likely been going on for a LONG time. It Seems that you either need to call in reinforcements for an intervention, so you can get your house back…OR leave the home to the “wreckers” and start anew without them. You did find motivation murderers…ingratitude and overwhelm/burnout.

    Reply
    1. Agreed 100%

      Reply
  30. Excellent article. To do it justice, will be re-reading it. Covers every area succinctly and clearly – easy to understand, probably because you’ve been there. I am a pianist/composer, stuck in the process of my next idea. Reading good things like this, is a way for me to get unstuck. Thank you for taking the time, effort and risk to write this. It is appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you come back and share your next composition with us!!

      Reply
  31. Kyle,

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write this piece.

    I will most definitely be back for review. Right now I need to slay impatience and meaning! I am a Christian and so “I should” have a deep sense of meaning… and overall in life I do, but the meaning you talk about hits me hard sometimes when I see the state of the world… like what’s the point and nobody needs this product anyway, I’m just good at creating desire for “things” that don’t even count in the broad scope of life.

    I have to slay impatience because I’ve become a habitual quitter and I can even remember the day my attitude changed! It was in 1993!!! The problem has been I’ve been given enough talent to make things “sort of work” or work “modestly well” quickly, but since I never really cared much about any of it, as soon as it got difficult, I was out.

    I’ve got to digest this writing of yours, it’s a feast.

    Reply
    1. I’d love to hear more about what happened on that fateful day in 1993!!

      That’s an insidious problem, one I’ve suffered from often. It’s not a acute pain but instead the chronic dull pain that we can sit with for a long time. Hope to see you back!

      Reply
  32. Hi Kyle,

    My tank is nearly on empty when it comes to gratitude as it seems almost everyday my boys are always asking me to buy them stuff and I always respond with “I don’t have enough money”; This is then usually followed up by frustration/anger at my circumstances. Then I find myself caught in an endless tennis match of whether to ignore the career I’m passionate about over one that pays better. So, I ignore both because I feel so tired just thinking about it all and drink my sugar loaded coffee or just take a nap. I used to be so fit and now I’ve gained 10-15 lbs. I don’t sleep and my mind never shuts off. I give all I have to my boys and nothing to me. I dont feel good about myself and so don’t go anywhere. I’m stuck in this endless merry-go-round.

    Reply
    1. Lisa,

      I’m glad you commented, read some of the others in the thread and you’ll find stories from many others who are stuck.
      Here’s some ideas based on what you’ve said:
      -Wealthy people have the opposite problem with their kids. If you give your kids everything they want then they’ll become bored with life and go into a tailspin. I know of a rich kid who just jumped out of a highrise in NYC last year. The most successful entrepreneurs I know were raised poor. This created a hunger in them that drove them to achieve success that kids with an easier childhood could never hope to. I know it’s difficult to see but do some reading on it (try Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath) if you don’t believe me. Allow yourself to be grateful that you’re providing them a stronger foundation than their well-to-do counterparts around you. When they grow up a little bit they won’t look back and blame you for being poor, all they need from you is your love.
      -Career: it sounds like you need to stop trying to fix everything at once. I don’t know your situation exactly but it seems like there are a lot of little fixes you should make before going into the “passion” career. Check out this post on creating passion: http://www.startupbros.com/how-to-create-you-passion/
      -You’re wearing yourself out from thinking too much. It’s not helping – you’re just running in circles without any progress. When you wake up in the morning, meditate for ten minutes. Every single day. Next week, 15 minutes, then 20. When I did this I cut my rumination by at least 50%.How to meditate? Sit down and focus on the sensation of your breathing on the tips of your nostrils and your upper lip. That’s it. No more instructions until you’ve done it for at least a week.
      -Diet: don’t worry about this until you’ve begun meditating. If you find a chance to stop yourself from a significantly bad diet choice then take it and congratulate yourself.
      -Stop reading so much and start creating (or just sit): http://www.startupbros.com/input-deprivation-week-forcing-action-by-killing-information-addictions/

      Just pick one thing. Meditate this week. Then worry about other things.

      Little things multiply in effectiveness. Focus on each little step.

      You’re in a deep hole right now. I don’t even know if you can see the light. I promise you there IS light left for you, though. I’ve been down there and couldn’t see anything. Finally I started doing little things. I lowered the bar so low I could practically roll over it. A few months later I stepped over it. A couple years later and I’m able to take leaps.

      I never thought this would happen. But it did.

      Godspeed!

      Reply
    2. Hi Lisa,

      I hesitate to say, “I’ve been you,” because no human being can ever know exactly what another has gone through, so I’ll just tell you that if I substituted the words, “my girls” where you wrote “my boys,” there have been so many times in my life I could have written exactly what you shared.

      My heart goes out to you. I know that sometimes it can all start to feel like a hamster wheel that spins faster and faster, and there’s no way to stop running and jump off. It feels that way, but it’s not the reality. I promise, there is a way out of this, and that way happens one moment at a time.

      Kyle gave you excellent advice (I actually cried last night, reading it while I was in line at a pizza place). As someone who has been there, I second everything he said, but especially the meditation. If you feel like you can’t possibly carve out even the ten minutes he recommended, start with five. Or three. The most important thing is just to start. As your commitment grows, the time will show up to expand your practice.

      I grew up in complete poverty. My daughters, all teenagers, have seen me struggle and fight, sometimes just to be able to feed them. We faced some serious challenges, and it was exhausting and terrifying. All of that is changing now. I tell you that not to be a rah-rah Pollyanna, just to let you know that it can and does happen. There’s hope. And there are strangers out here in cyber-space rooting for you.

      Mani

      Reply
      1. Hear hear!

        Reply
  33. I loved it!!! Very helpful!!! I sometimes seem to get overwhelmed and to feel a loss of purpose. I’ll ask myself why do I need to even do this. Lol! I will also want to do things in my mind as if my mind is full of energy but I don’t want to do the things that I need to do and I’m not sure what I want to do. However, I stay away from things like Facebook and TV as that seems to help. I find that the nosier you are about others takes precious time and energy from your own life. I guess I said that correctly. Anyways, thanks a lot. Some of these things I already do and didn’t realize they were common to others. I do tend to shorten the task. I’ll tell myself I’ll just at least do this one thing and once I get started I tend to keep going even past the one task I was going to in the first place. I’m sure I’ll come back and read this again. :) great advice!!!!

    Reply
    1. Awesome Rebecca! I love that you’re here!!

      Reply
    2. Rebecca,

      You are so right. I did not realize that others struggled with similar motivational murderers. I too have been pumped up to get some things done esp when pulling up in tge driveway…then it fizzles out when I get into the house. I will try to do at least 1 on my list BEFORE I check my e-mail starting today. I was actually successful. I just need to keep plugging along.

      Thanks Kyle – loving you

      Reply
      1. lol the driveway!! oh i knoooow that one

        Reply
  34. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. You are very very welcome :)

      Reply
  35. Thank you.
    This is a keeper.
    So well thought out and so helpful today..
    One never knows what gems one can stumble upon…I love the length and breadth of the internet…Blessings.

    Reply
    1. I love the internet too. Curious: How did you stumble on this?

      Reply
  36. Thank you Kyle, I am so happy to have stumbled on this blog while I was surfing the net for “I have too many projects I want to do”
    When I read your list, I see I suffer from many of the motivation murderers, including envy, Facebook ( I have left once, for 6 weeks :-) and try to only whizz in and out each day ) impatience, inaction…….well all 7 really!
    You were right about even looking up my problem being a procrastination, and now it’s too late in the day to be creative, I have to go out and do some things before the shops shut.
    I will come back here later though, I have to put your information into practice, as not being creative is not good for my health, even though I do think “If the world is going to end, is there any point!” Lol
    Thanks again,
    Linda :-)

    Reply
  37. I just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU SO MUCH for this. Helped me in ways I didn’t think a blog post [while procrastinating against doing things I need] would. Now, on to get my five minutes in.

    Reply
    1. godspeed bonnie! it’s funny what low standards we set for blog posts :P

      Reply
  38. Awesome! Thanks for your help. I have had the best few days by just stating what I am grateful for. Appreciated!

    Reply
    1. Heellllllll yeah John!! It’s as simple as just one thing man, the power in simplicity amazes me every time. Congrats!

      Reply
  39. Hi, Kyle,

    Thanks for the awesome post, insightful and surprisingly helpful, especially the part about overcoming impatience by organizing your schedule. I wouldn’t have thought of that one!
    Also, I laughed out loud reading the part about Loss of Meaning. At 30, you’d think I wouldn’t need to read a blog to realize I’m not the only person in the world who sits around wondering if my work “means something”, if it’s profound and meaningful enough for me to spend hours and hours of my life doing something that may never get me rich (or indeed even paid) just because I am (or used to be) wildly passionate about it. I completely agree with you about adopting the craftsman’s mindset, though for me, that doesn’t so much shift the focus onto others as it shifts the focus onto actually enjoying the process of creation itself.
    Finally, I actually stumbled upon this post while searching the internet for material to further my work, thus making it the new number one on my list of Experienced Oxymorons: Productive Procrastination. So thanks again for that!

    Kim

    Reply
    1. Hey Kim!

      Thanks for letting me know what was useful in the thing. It’s funny, I only have access to weird solutions that I’ve stumbled into… like organizing my schedule as a last resort to help me see that it’s good to be on day 5, not day 30… skipping steps won’t help lol

      “I’m not the only person in the world who sits around wondering if my work “means something”, if it’s profound and meaningful enough for me to spend hours and hours of my life doing something that may never get me rich (or indeed even paid) just because I am (or used to be) wildly passionate about it. ” … amen! This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. I slip out of the craftsman mindset every time I get thrown off my routine for too long. And it can take days for me to realize that I’m asking the bad questions AGAIN! Vigilance!!

      Curious – what did you search to get here?

      lol Experienced Oxymoron… I love it! Looking he paradox in the eye and saying… “Well…okay.”

      Reply
      1. Hey Kyle!

        I searched (and yes, I’m aware it will require somewhat of an explanation in order for me to look like a sane, normal person):

        “i’ll make sure everyone here sees you getting the crap kicked out of you anime”

        Yeah… So why did I search that and how is it relevant to my work?

        Well, that’s the thing about the internet: You start out searching for something that makes complete sense, then something rather less sense-making tends to come floating along. In this case, that something was a snapshot out of an anime I felt I might want to take a look at sometime in the future (because I’m working on a graphic novel and wanted inspiration, of course, not because I was at this point in any way distracted by the shiny, shiny world of Internetland).

        Right. And the line I searched was the line of subtitle included in that snapshot, which is what got me here. As for WHY it got me here, I’m all out of explanations, lol.

        You’ll have to ask Google about that one.

        Kim

        Reply
        1. lol that might be my favorite search term ever that led a fellow Interneteer to something I wrote. So thanks for that. That is a wild thing, serendipity everywhere all the time!

          Is your work online? Are you willing to share it here? I want to see it!!

          Reply
          1. lol, your enthusiasm makes me loath to disappoint you but sorry, most of my finished artwork is part of a project I’m actively trying to get published, which of course means I can’t let pages or character designs run rampant on the internet all willy-nilly.

            Your post did motivate me to set aside time in my schedule to work on a sideproject of mine however- a oneshot I’ve been planning (vaguely) and failing (abysmally) to complete for the specific purpose of internet publication. So thanks for that! Hopefully I’ll keep to the schedule and actually get it done this time.

            Reply
            1. Well… I hope you share it when it’s shareable anyway :)

              Have the changes lasted?

              Reply
  40. Thank you for the beautiful post, Kyle.

    Reading your post was good start of the day..
    A blogpost on motivation telling people “You don’t need this blog post.” for motivation sounds utterly honest to me. Like your emphasis on intrinsic motivation. :)

    Applause,

    Samita
    http://wpsmartapps.com/

    Reply
    1. Had a lot of fun on the interview for your site!

      It’s weird how sometimes we just need to be told that we don’t need anything

      Talk to you soon!

      Reply
  41. I googled my symptoms as of how Ive been feeling for pretty much the past 9 months. Blamed the loss of a relationship, change in job, increase in the need to use facebook etc as to why I feel low and demotivated. Im motivated for work and seem to put on a face and on facebook comments on what an interesting life I lead posts motivating. In reality I lost..lost my way. I spend what time I have alone in bed..sleeping..watching tv..eating crap..get up..dont shower or see anyone until.its time to go back to work. My house is untidy..I put off and do very little..basics that just get me by. I often wake motivated and think right Lisa today is the last day I feel like this..write..do a few tasks then before you know it im back on the merrygoround of couch or bed.
    Cant thank you enough for this Posting..made me accept im a)not alone b)can survive this c)life will get back on track
    A big Thank You x

    Reply
    1. So glad you found this, Lisa. It sounds like you’ve really got to put time on your side. That just means tiny positive actions. I wrote a post about how I dealt with my depression here: http://www.kyleschen.com/2012/09/14/the-21-laws-of-annihilating-depression/

      I think you might find it useful.

      Godspeed! And thank YOU for sharing your story

      Reply
      1. Thank You Kyle for your kinds words I appreciate your response and reading your post on depression…wow..Dive in and find my shit. I got my paints out..canvas..its something I used to be really good at and a way to express myself…I will revel in my shit and mix it up with a bit poetry n song too.
        Once again thank you x

        Reply
        1. “revel in my shit and mix it up with a bit of poetry n song too.”

          Freaking awesome

          Reply
  42. I really love this article, especially the “kill facebook” and about “envy” section.
    Thanks for sharing bros.. :)

    Reply
    1. Yeahhhh! I hope it was helpful! I wonder if you killed Facebook?

      Reply
  43. This is an amazing article.. which is just the thing I needed to read to get me up and to make me get on with things. The section about envy is something very close to home which I am not happy to admit and really need to work on!
    Very helpful, thank you for motivating me!

    Reply
    1. It’s powerful that you admitted it here! Good luck, I hope you keep consistent

      Reply
  44. This was so insightful , never left a comment on a blog but this one I had to! I feel like this could possibly change my life if I let it ……My me / motivation has been murdered by ALL the above at separate times in my life and sometimes all these motivation murderers have worked at the same to literally kill me!
    Thank you….. onto living life .

    Reply
    1. Awesome Kigen! I’m glad to hear you’re going to make some changes because of this. Look! You’ve already commented on a blog when you don’t usually do that. Little steps like that can add up big time.

      Would love to hear about your progress

      Reply
  45. Hi!! Wow!! this column is so awesome. I already learned some of these stuff in the painful way but you added others very important ones and organize them in a nice way. I think that unfortunately I am suffering of all of them. The oldest one is the lost of meaning and the most recent the envy. Sadly the craftsman mindset leads me again to the fact that I lost meaning and I started then, to feel envy of the others that are doing the things that have more meaning to me. My problem is that I am 2-3 years away of a PhD degree. I already took a break from it for a semester and I had the chance to leave it but I wasn’t strong enough. So I came back and every time my motivation gets worst. I have hopes that if I work hard and follow these advices I could get some motivation back and make something useful of these years, and when I am done I can choose something else with more meaning to me. I already feel stupid because I feel like this when I should be grateful of the opportunities that I have now in this PhD, even if I am not passionate about my field. What would you advice? Just quit? or try again? I know is hard for you to say anything with this little info but literally anything you can say it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for the time and your awesome column!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    1. Hi Maria! I’m glad you found the article useful. I’m not sure I totally understand your situation – you have 2-3 years before you complete your PhD, but why don’t you like it? Are you not interested in the topic? Is the stress of it ruining the experience?

      Can you leave for a year or two and return to complete your PhD at another time? It sounds to me like you need some space. You need to relax and get perspective so you can look at your situation clearly

      Reply
      1. Hi!! thanks so much for answering!. The thing is that I already took a break from my PhD. It could have been for 1 year, but I ended up returning after 6 months. I made that decision not because I realized that what I was doing was really my passion, I did it because taking the time to think about what to do and doing ‘nothing’ in between made me feel a fool, I didn’t have much support and I wasn’t strong to actually quit forever my PhD without feeling I was crazy to do so (I am not an american, so coming here was already a thing that I thought I was stupid for giving it up). I came back to finish it, and try to be grateful and make the most out of it for the next step. I don’t like my PhD because I am not passionate about the topic anymore, I do very abstract science and I want to be more connected with the real world and people (so I spend a lot of time reading about other things and not working well in my research, and I end up doing neither effectively). I am trying hard to finish it but I lost motivation constantly and that is why I asked you about maybe leaving it for real, or put myself together and finish the damn thing even when I know is not my passion. Anyway, today I am putting on practice all these advices and I have been productive and haven’t stop to think why I am doing it. Maybe not the best, but well…

        Thanks so much!!! :D
        (if this is too much you don’t need to answer I already appreciate so much that you did it before)

        Reply
        1. Awesome to hear Maria!

          The best way to connect to the real world is go for a walk or talk with a friend – not reading about it! At least for me lol.

          But that’s the stuff! It sounds like you’re there because you want to be. You’re interested in the work.

          I’d love to hear an update in a week or so!

          Reply
  46. This was an amazing article, will pocket it for future reference. Thank you for writing this, being an entrepreneur can be overwhelming at times but I think we just need to keep reminding ourselves what we would be doing instead of this, and that should be enough motivation to keep you going! Regardless, your article is way better at giving advice you can work with. Hehe.
    Thank you so much for this. Signing up to the newsletter! :)

    Reply
    1. Amen! Memories of the cubicle-life should be enough fire any entrepreneur’s ass to get a move on. Of course, there’s always looking forward to…

      …and here :P

      Welcome to the family!

      (Love your 1984 poster btw!)

      Reply
  47. Awesome Article ! But in todays generation doing things that you are great at creates no value, The only thing i find motivation is .. Just being me.. I have friends but you know selfish friends are better then none.. whenever i needed a motivation , i simply listen to few songs, and read some quotes that really makes me motivated.. but another thing i found is that exercise really helps you to control your stress…

    btw i will be re-reading this article i found it very usefull because i am gonna try this for myself..

    Reply
    1. That’s it! The modern hero is the one who has the balls to infuse the monotonous with meaning!

      Exercise has been a massively helpful to my motivation.

      Reply
  48. Great Article,

    Helpful for every aspect of life, every portion of the article is helpful in leaving life at its best we can do.

    Thanks for writing such awesome article.

    Reply
    1. Thanks a ton, Diptesh!

      Reply
  49. Creating a ‘Gratefulness Journal’ really helps. When I need motivation I think of my parents and all the amazing opportunities they have given me. (College, Good Morals, Loving Household) and then I get motivated! I get motivated because I want to give back. My dad hasn’t been to New Zealand in years, and he wants to bring us there sometime soon as a family. Because I am grateful for everything he has given me I have become extremely motivated to bring HIM and the rest of my family on a trip there. I want to give back and that motivates me!

    Reply
    1. That’s awesome Nico! Thank you!

      Reply
  50. I have read a lot of motivational books and blogs but this one is my favorite. I thought my desire to do so much while never accomplishing anything was due to inattention and lack of focus but now I see I’m overwhelm and inaction with a side of needing to be more grateful. Thank you for this, I can really use these ideas to change my life.

    Reply
    1. That’s my favorite thing to hear, Hannah. Thank you! I’d love to offer follow-up support by email (kyle at startupbros dot com) or here and see how your progress is coming!

      Reply
  51. Hello Kyle

    OMG!!!! It has been a WHILE since a post has flabbergasted me! WOWZAAAA – this is a 100000/10 post!

    I stumbled onto your blog post after typing the following in the Search box: “How to motivate yourself when you are feeling SO COMPLETELY HORRIBLE” lol

    Today has been one of those days – and I have many of those days ;) – when NOTHING seems to inspire me: not my blog post for a friend , not a trip to the library , my favorite songs , not even my afternoon siesta .

    But, dear Kyle, THIS BLOG POST here is a MASTERPIECE. And now I am feeling impatient, envious and purposeless because I CANNOT write like you! Trust me, I am the QUEEN of envy and jealousy. I am the girl who will not stop my best friend from succeeding, but will HATE it if and when she does! LOL

    Anyway, I love hugs and wish I could give you a long one right now because I am going to bookmark this and read it EVERY DAY! #HUGSSSSS

    I am sitting outside – in the famous Chicago Spring Chill – right now, and although my motivation level is still below ZERO, your post has empowered me to keep going anyway!

    Thank you SOOO MUCH!!!

    BEST wishes
    Kitto

    Reply
    1. You can’t write like me because you’ve had different experiences! It sounds like you could write a mean piece on envy if you let yourself dig into it!

      But even reading your comment was musical! Your style is fun and easy to go through.

      Writers just suck at appreciating their own work lol.

      Thanks a TON for the kind words! They’re the things that let me write today :)

      I hope to see you here more often!

      Reply
  52. Thanks a lot Kyle for this awesome article. I’ve read many books, but this one summarizes many things beautifully. I also got a new word for my situation: “Quarter Life Crisis” :)

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. It’s funny how much power there is in naming the invisible. Pressfield’s “Restistance” and Godin’s “Lizard Brain” have given so many people power to push on and do what they didn’t think they could.

      Reply
  53. I cannot express in words how much I appreciate this. It is perfect, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for writing this.

    Reply
    1. Hi Genevieve, I’m so glad you found this today! Hope you have an awesome day :)

      Reply
  54. This is a great article! I am in the importing webinar group and now being self-employed my biggest challenge is staying focused amidst the slew of distractions around me! Even getting out of bed on time is difficult when there is no “write-up” waiting for you if you don’t :P

    Reply
    1. It’s awesome to see you here Dan! Yeah, there’s a whole new slew of challenges when there isn’t a boss outside of yourself. I like them better though!

      Reply
  55. As a student, the best post I’ve read since first being introduced to the internet!!

    Reply
    1. :D

      Reply
  56. Hi Guys, Beautiful wisdoms here, truly. I like the patience tip very much. Sometimes you just have to wait, stand still and let the corn grow. you can’t harvest anything before its grown and ready, stand still and let the corn grow. Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Amen! Thanks for the comment

      Reply
  57. Hey,

    I liked your post .It was well written and realistic.I just wanted to ask you how do you get motivated when you want to do something you have already achieved in the past but you cant find motivation to do it currently.More like how do you do the same thing again with the same passion as you used to do it previously but somehow there isnt the same excitement as before.Want to achieve a fitness oriented goal again but I am unable to find meaning to do it as much as i used to.

    Please advice.

    Reply
    1. Hey Ankush,

      That’s a really tough one. For me, I have to let go of BEFORE.

      You have to start from where you are. It’s not about what you achieved before, it’s about what you can begin achieving now. You’ve had more experiences since the last time. You shouldn’t try to do the same thing you did before because you’ve learned a lot since then.

      It sounds like you need to embrace the craftsman mindset. Start going to the gym, start WORKING WITHOUT PASSION, you don’t need a reason to do anything. Just do the thing. Put the effort in and motivation will follow.

      Check out the article I put up at Art of Manliness about taking action: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/05/19/10-overlooked-truths-about-taking-action/

      Let me know if this helps!

      Reply
  58. Taking a decision isn’t a problem; maybe implementing them is! Most of the road accidents I have seen are of dogs who are uncertain. They move ahead, take a back step, still straight, run and collide. Same is the case with human beings. Discussing motivation will not help but yes implementing it will surely. Glad that I came across this thoughtful post, everything is covered and conveyed. So detailed and wonderful; Loved it :)

    Reply
    1. Implementing surely will, indeed!

      Reply
  59. I googled “lack of motivation” and this post was 9th in the list. It is the best one so far! Really well done. I like how you shared your own struggles on the subject — you’ve been there yourself — and it’s also very cool that you responded to every comment! I really liked the video about taking action. Now following you on FB and looking forward to exploring more of your work.

    Reply
    1. I’m glad you found us, Jason! And I hope you got the boost you needed to get done what you were trying to get motivated to do! :P

      I’ve been there myself, absolutely lol. I lack motivation once a day! Got to remind myself of these things CONSTANTLY.

      Consider getting on the mailing list, too, that’s our main way of getting information out.

      Reply
  60. Great and very useful. Super real! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Glad you could use this :)

      Reply
  61. Thank you for this wonderful post! I have been stuck in a rut and your article gave me great ideas on stopping the cycle of being unmotivated and becoming productive once again. I love your site and think you guys are doing a great service to those of us that need a little help being pointed in the right direction! Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. De-rutting FTW! I’m glad you’re part of the StartupBros family Christina :D

      Reply
  62. Thank you for this article.
    I have been running my business for 6 years and have never felt so unmotivated as over the last 4 months. Everything I try to get going results in all the above – inaction, loss of meaning, overwhelm – you name it.

    I’m healthy, got skin in the game, great staff, good business, but just been in the dumps with motivation. And the worst part is the impact its had on my business over that time – evident in the cash flow crisis I’m heading towards.

    Today I took action by reading this article and actually doing the exercises. I have read 200+ articles on similar topics lately but forget them as soon as I’ve finished reading them. This article spoke straight to my sense of being and could not have more accurately diagnosed my motivation downer at the moment.

    Thanks Kyle – you’ve helped me take that first step and I’m feeling bloody fantastic already!

    Reply
    1. Hi Gavin,

      I’m so glad you commented! To know that this has stood out among all those other motivation posts… well, it’s pretty awesome. So thank YOU for inspiring me :)

      I’d love to hear from you (here or email) about your progress and what other motivation humps you come across. If you’re willing to share.

      Godspeed!

      Reply
  63. Ahh. First time to comment on an online article and I feel weird about it. Lol. But anyway, thank you soo much for this! It was really informative and well thought, not like those abundant Thought catalog (not that I have anything against them) articles that seem to be giving advice from egoistic 20-somethings. (Okay hater alert lol, just that I wasted so much time reading those articles. :/ )

    I’m currently in my “dream”job, the one I was pinning for years. Now that I’m here, it just perplexes me how I have to drag myself to work everyday. Isnt this what I wanted, though? Been getting trouble alot for missing deadlines, and unfortunately, its all cause im just REALLY not motivated.

    So thank you so much for this, slowly getting thy game back. :)

    Reply
    1. Ahahaha it’s not alll bad at TC…. http://thoughtcatalog.com/kyle-eschenroeder/
      :P

      Thanks a ton for sharing though! I rarely comment articles myself so I know that jump.

      I’m curious, what IS the dream job you’re in?

      Reply
  64. Hi kyle,
    Gotta say first love the post I will have to read over it again thou. I Googled where’s my motivation and found your article. I do all the things above and more. Problem is I don’t know if I ever have had a passion or motivation for anything just trying to do what I think others what me to do. I give up too easily. Problem is even when reading your post I find counter arguments as to why these wont work on me. I get overwhelmed with work ,quote s I need to do to get work, tax I have to sort out, family responsibility. I leave things to the last minute when I have to do it and rush. I started a plumbing bathroom install business 4 yrs ago because I thought I would earn more and have more time with my kids but it has turned out opposite. Lots of what you say ring true and I will give it a good go and some of your techniques. I am a craftsman but I am never fully happy with the work I’ve done I can always pick holes in it. Even when customers compliment me on the work or me as a person I don’t believe it. I have no heroes to look up to. Typically English I put myself down and are no good up bigging up myself. I don’t know if I have a passion for what I am doing but giving up now is not a option. I have no organization skills so I will be trying to set dates in calender. Anyway sorry for ranting and bringing everyone down. I will be studying your site in more detail. Thanks for the post. The external pessimist.

    Reply
    1. Hey Graham,

      The best way I know to short-circuit my intense pessimism (I’m a cynical bastard, it’s a danger to my relationships…) is to try an idea on for a set amount of time. Instead of saying, “That doesn’t make any sense, it’s bullshit.” I’ll just TRY it for a week or two.

      It sounds like you and I share pessimism from a dedication to truth. This is a bullshit defense against being wrong. The breakthrough for me was in deciding the bigger “wrong” is in not trying or being unhappy. This is not something you can rationalize yourself out of, you have to do an experiment. “Is my life better when I assume that people actually mean their compliments… even if I could be wrong and look like a fool?” … Try it for a week or two to consciously believe them.

      I had a severe depression once, I had severe guilt and assumed everything nice was said out of pity. It took me a long time to begin trusting that someone might actually be nice. But it took a period of “lying” to myself. And now I see that my pessimism was the real lie.

      We can never know the whole truth, we are always going to be making mistakes.

      Suck it up and err on the positive side.

      Reply
      1. Hi Kyle,
        THANKS for the quick reply. I’m definitely going to try and ignore the pessimistic voice in my head, push it to the back ground. You hit the nail on the head, I need to stop being cynical. Thanks again for the article.

        Reply
        1. Ah! Sure thing! We all know we should stop being cynical, it’s tricking ourselves out of it and practicing being non-cynics that’s the hard part. I hope you stick to it, the world is a better place on this side :)

          Reply
  65. This is the best one I could find around, really. I made a summary of every one of your points just to see with which one I would be more identified and needed more atention on my side so yeah, good excercise and now I know what do I have to start and stop doing, thank you again! ;)

    Reply
    1. Awesome to hear, Herzon! I’m curious – would you be willing to share your summary? I’d love to see how you went about the exercse

      Reply
      1. Haha I’m sorry I think I wasn’t clear enough, I meant that I just selected some “bulletpoints” as the most relevant thoughts to me.

        They are the following: http://pastebin.com/v1bRZJdp

        Again, thanks A LOT for the brain shake :P

        Reply
        1. Ah okay I gotcha. I forgot about pastebin, what a cool site.

          You’re welcome, thanks for saying something :)

          Reply
  66. I’ve been googling to find some useful way to think about motivation, the lack of and what to do about it. This article is so refreshing and really speaks to the truth I feel inside already. Thanks for setting me on track and inspiring me.

    Reply
    1. Hey Jessica, thanks for letting me know it was worth it :)

      Reply
  67. This post falls under the category of one of my favorite blog posts ever. May I please have permission to copy this post (providing credit and a backlink of course)?

    Reply
    1. Glad you like it, Rafi!

      I see you already put up a copy – I’d appreciate a link back to this article at the top as well as the bottom if you could :) But feel free!

      Reply
  68. Kyle this was absolutely fantastic. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. I intend to spread the word about your blogs and I’m certainly looking forward to checking out your others. Thanks for the inspiration….. We can all use it sometimes!

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the kind words Josh! And even bigger thanks for spreading the word… that’s the nicest thing you can do for someone who writes words :D

      Reply
  69. I’m bookmarking this.

    Reply
    1. See you back here soon :)

      Reply
  70. Hello my name is Helen Ivan, I’m 25 years old. I was in a sexual relationship with my ex-boyfriend for 5 years, we had rocky start for good 4 years then our relationship grew stronger and we were so happy and even planned to get married until he & my Mum had a blew, Mum called him awful names because he did not have a well-paying job. I did what any partner would and stood by my ex-boyfriend, then he decides to dump me by text and phone telling me that he was hurt by my Mum’s behavior when they had a blew. I was mad when I noticed that he has reconciled with his old time fiance week after the blew with Mum, I don’t want the years that I have spent with him to waste because I knows that he truly love me but my Mum won’t allow us to get married.
    I contacted Spiritual Doctor named Dr. Aikhomun from posts I saw on blogs. This powerful Spiritual Doctor helped me to change the mind of my Mum to like him and also broke the relationship he had with his new fiance. Our feelings are stronger now, he loves and appreciates me. We have now got back to where we were happy, affectionate, passionate, romantic and loving. We will soon get married. I am so happy right now

    Reply
  71. This is “THE ARTICLE”….very solid…
    thanx to ALLAH true ISLAM (not with that sucidebombing or killing) is already teaching me all these things.

    Reply
  72. Thanks! Definitely learnt some home-truths here :-) But by far the best thing about your post is that it is written in a casual, light-hearted way. Kept me reading when more formal (read: boring/inaccessable) writing with exactly the same lessons would not.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the comment Jezebel! It’s awesome to know the casual writing helped make it more palatable!

      Reply
  73. What a spectacular article.. This past year I’ve been struggling with myself and I just can’t seem to find any passion or motivation for anything anymore, besides a few dreams I refuse to even attempt. I’m a 19 year old kid and I’m struggling to go through college (not because of grades or money, but motivation and desire) and reading this gives me hope for myself. I read and relate to many things throughout the article. Motivation and persistence is going to be a tough egg to crack, but reading this gives me hope and for that I am grateful. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Hey Jacob–thanks for commenting. If you need any support feel free to comment here or email.

      Reply
  74. Good stuff Kyle! Great post with many comments. But quantity of comments isn’t what matters – it’s their quality and length.

    Was your target audience 9-5 job people or newcomers entrepreneurs?

    I feel “No skin in the game”, “inaction”, “overwhelm” and “loss of meaning” are my motivation killers one caused by another.

    If I was to discuss with you something, it would be movie “The Matrix” and if you were to tell me you didn’t watch it, I wouldn’t believe it.

    Reply
    1. Hi Boris,

      It IS about their quality… and we’ve had some AWESOME comments come through here! (Like yours :) )

      Honestly, I was targeting myself. Which really means I was targeting humans. I think that all 7 of the Motivation Murderers are nearly universal over time. At some point or another, we will be taken down by one of them.

      The Matrix is one of my favorite movies of all time. Freaking awesome stuff. What made you think about it in this article though?

      Reply
      1. For majority of 9-5 people that settle for less than life can offer, who can’t grow past where they are, who can’t evolve as individuals because all they see every day is dead end job, this post won’t make sense because they don’t view life this way. Except minority of those who are career oriented, making efforts to advance in their career to get to where they want like those who were lucky enough to be employed in Google. You can see their working environment by Googling “google working environment pictures”

        I have been on both sides and I know how easy it is to give advice for someone who is at one side of the coin to another who is at different side of coin. Dieting advice would be perfect example which can be found everywhere today on the internet but it won’t work for majority. That same information is also offered in a paid form be it digital weight loss course or endless weight loss equipment where people buy product after product expecting a miracle to happen (coincides with make money online, doesn’t it?)
        If one was to read that sugars and processed foods are bad for your health, he would forget about it next day due to different reasons, mainly due to his dead-end day job that he probably hates, returning home with suppressed individuality and awareness, feeling tired and stressed when watching TV and eating what he planned to avoid is inevitable. Such people don’t have ultimate purpose and don’t see the life in a positive way although they still have a dream, we all have.

        If I kept working 9-5 a few years ago in a miserable job, I wouldn’t be able to take action and lose weight but I did because I started looking on life differently and lost weight in a non-standard way because I was over-motivated: http://fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/6473/unplanned-achievement-lost-72-8-lbs-33-kg-but-was-it-the-correct-way-of-doi

        I think your post caters to people who at least work part-time because they have more time to invest into themselves and possibly see the life differently while perfect audience for this post are all kinds of entrepreneurs (except maybe entrepreneurial deity?)

        I brought up The Matrix movie after I read your short bio in this website’s About section because person with bio as yours can see through the movie like Neo can see through Matrix to understand message it tries to convey. To many people with suppressed awareness, this movie is just fascinating action movie with eastern martial arts scenes catered to teenagers and young adults. They don’t see the message this movie tries to bring, that hidden meaning of life concealed within – all to help us awake. Yes, a movie with a plot where Neo tries to awake sleeping people not realizing their imprisonment. If to think about it, this movie actually tries to convey that we are these people in our current life imprisoned by global elite (not machines though/yet) who we gave control to by trading liberty for security and let them dictate our reality.

        Reply
        1. Hey Boris,

          You’ve got some really fascinating ideas in your comment and your fitness piece. (I like how you used coffee, exercise, and distractions as ways to forget about snacking.)

          It’s certainly much more difficult for someone in a standard 9-5 situation to be creative and healthy… and even motivated. The tragedy is a company doesn’t need a Googleplex to provide an awesome environment for people to be productive in.

          The Matrix is certainly awesome… do you feel that you have “awaken”? Why?

          Reply
  75. Hi Kyle,
    Wow, 180+ comments – well done on a very popular and interesting blog post. Becoming an entrepreneur has been a crazy, idealistic, amazing, sometimes lonely, but very empowering journey I’ve started this year. Like you I feel that I’ve hit every one of these seven energy-suckers. I’ve trained as a personal coach this year and we learned about how objections can stem from different levels – values (what’s the point?), actions (what should I do?) and it’s a good idea to get a handle on your vision and keep this posted where you can see it every day. I like the extra insights you bring – such as to avoid overwhelm put everything down on one page and chunk it into tasks.

    Reply
    1. Hi Danielle,

      I love your idea to keep your primary vision in front of you so it stays top-of-mind… it’s so easy to get distracted by everything else.

      I hope to see you around. Hope things are going well with your coaching business! I love the name “Active Ingredient”.

      Reply
  76. Shared on my personal Facebook, saved, and I’ll bring people back to it.

    I hope to see a lot more growth and insight from you in the future! Thank you for taking the time to spell this all out in a way more detailed and simple way than I would or probably could have.

    Reply
  77. Great article! I will share it with my friends. However, I need to say that the claim that coffee “is not healthy at all” doesn’t make sense. I think I’ve actually read some article claiming the opposite, but still I’m not sure. Anyway, I think such a claim could be supported with a source. Please take my critique as a constructive and positive one.

    Reply
    1. Science goes back and forth on the coffee thing, most recently it’s showing to mess us up: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140908162020-50578967-caffeine-the-silent-killer-of-success

      Reply
  78. Wow.. if l say l didn’t get motivated by this post then l don’t know really what will motivate me. I was so impressed by your first point ‘GRATITUDE’. Sometimes people, myself included, take life for granted and fail to appreciate what we have. But if we take a look around ourselves we will see how blessed we are to have those things in our lives no matter how little or few, we are probably better than other people who are in a worse position. So we should be grateful and try not to despair or lose focus. l really feel motivated and hopefully l will dig on till l get there. l understand there are so many obstacles along the way but where in life can you make it without encountering these obstacles. Thanks Matt

    Reply
    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Gerald! And the insights :D

      Reply
  79. Loved this article… very interesting.
    A few words can often mean the difference between success/failure, good mood/bad mood, laugh/cry… if its on a poster or sticker, cool, but always better from a colleague, coach or teacher.
    If you are going to do or make exceptional things you struggle with an average attitude or outlook.
    Cheers

    Reply
    1. Hey Mark, thanks for the kind words.

      The power of language is hard to measure… it changes us in ways we mostly aren’t aware of. I totally agree with you on the power of the person standing in front of you. There’s nothing more impactful than having someone you respect demonstrating an attitude you didn’t think was possible to have.

      I love your posters! My favorite poster that hangs over my desk is “Get Shit Done” (unfortunately Startup Vitamin, not Zap!).

      How about a StartupBros poster? :D

      Reply
      1. Sure Kyle

        Now thats an idea, we’ll work on that.

        Say the word (email me some ideas.. ) and we’ll ship one of our posters out too.
        Cheers
        Mark

        Reply
        1. Awesome :D I’ll be emailing you shortly

          Reply
          1. Hi Kyle, did we miss your email .. ping us at hello @ startupzap.com

            Cheers :)

            Reply
  80. WHOA!!!!!! This was the most gratifying, moving, exciting, MOTIVATING post I have ever read!!!
    It inspired me right away and nothing else has!! I thank you do very much and want to stay in touch and keep reading your delightful and meaningful straight forward truthful hitting home words and thoughts!! Thank you….will finish reading all later as I had to move and get started….. Hats off yo you KUDDOS
    ……..Diane

    Reply
    1. Hey Diane! The fact that you had to stop reading to get up and do something is the highest compliment possible. Thanks so much for your comment! Godspeed!!

      Reply
  81. oh my Gosh! you are just BRILLIANT! YOU SO FANTASTIC! IM A FAN!

    Reply
    1. Thanks Banzi! Welcome!

      Reply
  82. As soon as I read “loss of meaning” I thought whatever book these boys are selling I am buyinnnnng! This was truly a great post.

    Reply
    1. Well Chanile, here it is :D
      http://www.startupbros.com/smu

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  83. Kyle,
    Wow, what a post! This should be a book or something. I would like to thank you for your bright mind to create such reading. I appreciate for all the things that you reminded me of doing or not.
    Thank you so much. Bookmarked this and come back again and again to read it.
    All my best.

    Reply
  84. (Blatant piece of promotion coming up here…..)

    But if anyone here wants one of our stickers, just ping us at hello @ startupzap.com

    Happy Halloween everyone

    Reply

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