motivational image of a calm beach

[Borrowed from]

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 we die.

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

Holstee's Manifesto of Motivation

[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!?

Because you didn’t do anything.

Without action, knowledge only leads to frustration.

Check out The Action Course – Learning the Art of Doing

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 killing your motivation. More importantly, you’ll 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. Enjoy and Godspeed!

Here’s What We’re Covering:


“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.

Emma Stone image

Some things EVERYONE is grateful fore

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!

Photo of a woman with a Thank You tattoo on her back

[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? If we stopped at the first part we would be, but the second part brings us back 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.”


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 becomes 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.


Image of a bodybuilder with Envy Me text

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


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 look 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 make 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.

Logo of Facebook with a sad face

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 you’re 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 .
Photo of a guy on Facebook sharing a status

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 one 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 semi-interesting 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 ( 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.

Image of a quote from movie Fight Club

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 right now 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, notice the envy and remember 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.


image of a guy watering a plant

“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.”

Oscar Wilde

Some people find impatience a virtue. But if you’re driven by impatience, 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 do 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.

map of the world tattooed on a woman's back

[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 you’re doing right now. 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.

Image of a man saying "why not take a break" beside a chair

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.


Man looking overwhelmed


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? [Check out the “Via Negativa” section of my antifragility essay for a ton of ways to win with subtraction.

You may also want to try Input Deprivation.]

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.

Comic saying "we decided to lower the bar a bit"

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 some 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. 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 Overwhelm, you have to externalize your life. Get all your activities somewhere you can see them. 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!


Check out The Action Course – Learning the Art of Doing

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. It’s not enough to ask yourself “Why am I being so lazy?!” 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 afterwards.

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.

Always take action by beginning something small

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 Action Course for a deep-dive on action.]

Loss of Meaning

Photo of a blacksmith crafting

[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 had lower expectations about what they should get out of work. 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.

A journey of Twelves stages

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 yourself in that mindset. Instead, a craftsman focuses on the work he’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.

Picture of a man holding a weapon

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 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.” [EDIT: I have actually used this post a bunch of times to get out of motivation slumps.]

StartupBros wouldn’t be exciting if we only wanted to make 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.

Image of the universe with a quote about Miracles

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

men running naked in the snow

Expose yourself!

Do you know why poker games without money in the pot suck? There are 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 that.

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.

Man with bloodied face

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 ( 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

kid eating at a fastfood

Cute…until his 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.

Picture of an indifferent man with a quote about Motivation

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.


Avatar for Kyle Eschenroeder
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

450 comments add your comment

  1. Kyle, I read this article myself several years ago and it has stuck with me. I use the concepts frequently to help clients with the issues of motivation in Substance use treatment. Great writing!

  2. A fantastic article, very well written and offering tons of value for the reader. You are improving lives. Thank you.

  3. Kyle, this is an awesome article. I just discovered it as I was procrastinating on a task and thinking about another whole weekend of getting nothing accomplished.

    I’ve been suffering lack of motivation for so long I can’t remember when I wasn’t. Lots to do with a very long marriage ending and losing much of my life with it. Recovering from that takes a long time. Deep depression involved.

    One of my MAIN motivation killers is PERFECTIONISM. It’s so hard to take action when you feel the project must be “perfect.”
    Also, indecisiveness kills my motivation. These two, separately or together, are murderers.

    Thanks for the great writing.

  4. I have a story. I was a poor student all my life. I have a type of add called PREDOMINANTLY INATTENTIVE with these symptoms: missing details and becoming distracted easily, trouble focusing on the task at hand, becoming bored quickly, difficulty learning or organizing new information, trouble completing homework or losing items needed to stay on task, becoming confused easily or daydreaming frequently, seeming not to listen when spoken to directly, difficulty following instructions, processing information more slowly and with more mistakes than peers. Flunked 7th grade, went to summer school managed to make it to eighth grade. I dreamed of college but never thought I could do it. I toiled long years at jobs you do not want to hear about and even served briefly in the military. Finally at age 43 I started college. I made the deans list every semester. I was Phi Theta Kappa. I had to work around my add.
    I accepted the way I was and just worked longer and differently than other people. Halfway through I became ill with lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. I was on antibiotics for two years. I was in so much pain at one point I used a walker. Instead of graduating in four years, it took five years but I did it at age 48. I graduated with a 3.78 gpa with a degree in fine art and illustration. My marriage failed and I divorced. Fortunately I got the house. Unfortunately it had termites. Fortunately I had two partime jobs. Unfortunately the stock market crashed and I lost most of my savings. I kept trying to work on my artwork, submitting stuff and getting rejected. Then I got a full time clerical job. Then I lost that job. My car was dying. My credit was shot because ex left me with a 50,000 credit card bill and the creditors put a lien on the house. My eyesight was failing. My car was dying and smoking. One day before Thanksgiving I drove it to the junkyard with my bicycle in the trunk. I sold it for $300 and rode my bicycle home. I collected unemployment for two years. I went blind, legally doctor-wrote-a-letter blind. I moved into the basement of my house and rented the upstairs to a person. I packed up all the art supplies, easels, paper and tried to survive. I used the last of my savings to have surgery on my eyes which by then had been diagnosed as cataracts. Eyesight mostly restored! I applied for over 140 jobs, some as far away as NYC. Nothing happened. I worked at fast food places and grocery stores and collected the rent. Most months I just paid the mortgage and electric. I bought a 20 year old volvo station wagon which could not pass emissions. At the grocery store a male customer kept talking to me, going through my cash checkout almost every evening. By now I had been out of college for seven years. I painted a little bit in my spare time but felt hopeless. The male customer kept talking to me. It turned out he was an attorney. He wanted to help me get the lien off my house and he wanted to date me. I was a 55 year old woman working as a cashier. with five cats, deeply in debt and a house being eaten by termites. Did not matter to him. He fell in love and married me. Lien gone, tenant gone, upstairs reclaimed, termites treated and today I am a wife who stays home, keeps house and works on her artwork. My livingroom is now my studio. I am not published yet, but I am not giving up ever. I am 61 years old.

  5. Kyle, a brilliant piece that gets quickly to the point on each section. The content and layout is excellent. You broke the mold of most articles of writing a 20 page essay describing and not getting to the point. I instantly exit reading massive garbage before getting to the meat. YouTube videos have the same problem. You look up how to repair something and the first 10 min is talking a bout the shipping box. Holly crap I’m out. You brought me in like a great writer should do. I needed some of this info at this time. Great work!

    Side note you picture reminded me of Chip Gains of Fixer Upper & that is a compliment.

  6. I know someone that is very unmotivated in life. I try to help them out but they think i am against them. That person told me that they need a house to start feeling motivated of waking up and going early to work , to feel that they are working for a reason “a house.” I told them that is wrong thinking because if you need a house to motivate then how will you get there? What advice can you give me on helping someone out?

  7. I love this article! Very insightful, helpful and informative to read. Thank you for sharing!

  8. This article was sent to me by someone who recognises my severe unhappiness and depression. They’re correct; however lack the understanding of the motions one goes through when leaving a very long miserable isolating marriage and all that follows.

    Having read your article I recognise I’m already implementing many of your strategies while undoubtedly enduring the most difficult time of my life. I live with the optimistic view that one day this will come to an end and I will again, be happy.

    It is a long hard road and way easier said than done.

    Nonetheless, a very good read!

    I’d appreciate some feedback/conversation if someone reads my comment, thanks.

  9. I have 0 motivation right now. Time is running out for me. I have had some very upsetting experiences lately and resorted to binge eating. I keep on stating to myself “I will get on track tomorrow.” I feel so sick. I know I need to get back on track soon. I know the things I need to do: eating properly, keeping hydrated, exercising, keeping care of my body…..and these four things I need to do all at once. I forgot a very important date; my daughter’s wedding anniversary. My terrible habits have turned my brain to mush. I am almost 65, but at times like this, I feel like a child.

    • Hey Ann, I’m sorry that you’re going through so much. I can’t imagine how tough these things are that you’re dealing with. You are not running out of time, you have the opportunity to change every single day. One step at a time. I hope you keep in touch and let us know more about your progress!

    • You are not running out of time. You took time to write. You have some right now. Look at your hands. Do they move? You have time. Do not try and do four things at once. Drink a glass of water right now. Go for a huge long walk. I can relate. I am 61. We have to do things differently in order to keep our youth. Sound crazy? No its not. You still have youth, it just has to be prodded out. Youth is not the outside, the flesh part that looks so pretty when we are young. Feed your youth. Drink the water. Take the long huge walk. Send a card to your daughter, apologize and move on. After a solid week of those huge long walks which don’t seem to be doing a damn thing, you will feel a little bit perkier. I don’t care if you just walk around your livingroom for a solid hour, move. Get checked for thyroid, lyme, bartonella and any other disease under the sun. Scream, beg, yell, nag at your doctor and if they won’t listen get another. Be a pest. Women of our age, are not listened to very well unless we appear to have an accute disease. Start believing it is not normal to feel out of it and unwell. That is total bullshit. As far as food goes, everyone has at least two healthy foods they love. They would eat them even if they were not healthy. Start with them. You can have junk occasionally. Every ten days, eat some fun junk. You won’t get sick. Mark on the calendar. Make a holdiay of it. The rest of the time eat two good full meals a day and a snack. Not three meals. Don’t count calories. Just eat.

  10. Unbelievable!! I got so motivated I could hardly finish the article! Your article is the best I’ve ever read, and I have done some heavy duty reading. (To procrastinate taking action!) So glad I found your site. Also love the demotivational pics!

  11. Thank you for this great article. It was pretty helpful. For me one of the reasons I don’t feel motivated is because I don’t feel like interacting with others. Even close family and friends don’t seem to understand how I feel and it’s as if I am living in a different world compared to them. I am tired of explaining myself to people so I prefer to not do anything anymore. I just feel so done with people and even with this world. I know there are still good people out there and BLABLA but they seem to be hiding in their caves. The funny thing is nothing truly tragic happened to me to feel this way.

    Part of me feels like I deal with intellectual arrogance. Part of me thinks I am depressed.

    I do live a pretty unhealthy life ATM with zero exercise and a lot of junk food but it hasn’t caught up to me yet because I am still in my 20s. I really want to go to Machu Picchu mountain and scream my lungs out. TBH I am not sure where I am even going with this comment so I will stop now XD

  12. I loved reading your article!! Thank you so much for the advice. I really needed this, and it really helps me understand why I am not motivated and how to fight back to these murderers!!

  13. Thank you very much Kyle, this is such an excellent, helpful post, not only interesting and with great expertise, but also witty, which is rare.
    I gather you write for MYP (modern young persons), but I am 66, started creating cartoons after being pensioned, and have one (about two philosophers) published in an philosophical magazine where a friend of mine is the editor.

    Currently I am working on a new cartoon series, I already have a stock of 12. My biggest problem by far is: getting published in the ’real world’. I mean in a magazine where I don’t have any contacts. I don’t have a website, weblog, Instagram or Facebook account, because I cannot manage that and/or dislike it. How do you successfully pitch, and get happily published? Until now I have tried with a few special interest magazines, by sending a concise e-mail, with examples attached, and zero answers. Do they only ever react on established artists? I mean, I am well aware that they may not appreciate my ideas and cartoons at all. But what is the best way to attract any attention? I don’t want to create only to pin the results on my own storyboard. That’s my motivation killer.


  14. Thanks-a-ton man!…honestly…you’ve done such a fantastic job by summing up all the killers…i just noted down em’all and now i’m gonna pin-it-up to the board..just to be aware what not to do instead of searching what to do….commendable..keep working!

  15. I didn’t find these tips helpful (well the ones that apply to me, mainly “Loss of Interest” & “No skin in the game” ). It was particularly disappointing that you recommend making yourself responsible to someone to give more meaning…that just makes your motivation co-dependant on someone else. Also, you can’t fake skin in the game – things either matter or they don’t. You can lie to an online app/website in which case, its not going to matter. I’ve tried a few of these…just ended up a liar instead of more motivated.

  16. Thank you for your article. There is so much false information out there that is written with the intention of inspiring suicide. I like feeling encouraged to feel better. Maybe one day I will no longer become overwhelmed by emotion to the point it dictates my actions. I lose faith sometimes and its those times that bad influences have their best opportunities to do me serious harm. I NEED to be respected by society enough to have a car and the right to not go to jail for being a man in my own house. Your blog helped me to feel ok when normally I panic. Thank you

  17. Your just a Superman for this post and yes, id jump into the dark too. Whatever drove you into writing is respected, your amazing at sharing wisdom.

  18. Your article gave me the pickup that I needed to get motivated again. I really liked the part when you said “Quality and impatience can’t coexist.
    That’s been one of my problems. I am 70 and this is just what I needed at my age. Great article!

  19. Thank you so, so much for your enlightenment into why I may be feeling the way I am. To the outside world I have nothing to complain about but inside I have ground to a halt. I am going to use the methods you have suggested to pick my inner self back up off the ground where she has landed. Starting to make changes in bite size pieces. I was always the one rushing around, a day doing nothing was a day wasted etc, not anymore I will take time to focus on slowing down, to see what’s around me, being greatful of my life and what I do have, and definitely change my job. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience to help others. Millie.

  20. Thankyou for grounding me and offering practical no none sense tools to get back on track. Straight to the point and helpful!

  21. I don’t know how long since you have written this article, but I stumbled apon it on social media and clicked on it. Let me just say I love this article and it in its self is motivation. What I loved the most was there was no bull shit about it. You didn’t dance around the point. You just gave it like it was.
    After reading this, it was alomst like I could breath again after suffocating for so long. It helped me tremendously and I want to thank you.
    I’m so glad I stumbled apon it because in all honesty, I was not having a good day. I was just moping around about what little motivation I have. Then, I found this artical.

    You brought me a whole new meaning to motivation….. And I thank you.

  22. I just want to say THANK YOU for writing this. Like you mentioned above, we come across thousands of “motivational” quotes daily. However, 9 times out of 10 that feeling is gone as soon as we’re on to the next post. I am so enlightened by the way you broke this down. I honestly can’t put into words how grateful I am to have come across this read and how GREAT of a read it is. I will be sharing this with everyone and everywhere. Thank you for taking your time to write this Kyle!

  23. Awesome article, this has been inspiring. I also lived in St. Petersburg for some time and currently reside in Jacksonville. Very cool and well thought out article. I’m fighting depression and trying to find motivation post-divorce as a 33 year old single dad. I experienced a massive loss of wealth and family disappointment along with some bad choices I made trying to numb myself out of life and really needed to read this. Thank you.

    • I’ve only just read this article and now seen your comment.
      I’m currently going through the process of very difficult court proceedings and feel very much like I’m in limbo land. I look forward to the day when it’s over so I can move forward x

  24. Getting into the “flow” makes for the orderly completion of tasks, one at a time. Before long, that overwhelming obstacle has vanished.

  25. thank you!~ I think if anything, the exercise helps :), I do pullups and pressups because I like strength exercise 🙂

  26. This was a very well written article. Thank you for all the fantastic advice!

  27. Thank you for the well-written and easy to read/understand article. It helps knowing that you’re not the only one afflicted by lack of motivation. I’m not a huge subscriber to blogs and sites so sorry in advance if I unsubscribe in a few weeks, it’s nothing personal! Keep up the great work!!
    Juanita, Dubai, UAE

  28. My husband just got through telling me how angry I make him because I am so unmotivated to do anything. I decided to read about it and luckily for me, your article was the first ( and only) one I read. I didn’t have to do years of searching etc. as some other rea ders had to do.
    To be honest, and I know you’re not a marriage counselor, my husband is my motivation killer. I feel like I am constantly being backed into a corner and having to defend myself. I don’t want to cook for him or clean anymore, either. However, I am very motivated when it comes to my grandchildren and my church and working with children and youth at church in the arts. I am going to do my best to apply your principles to my life and hope I can do better. Thank you for your sharing your experience, insight and inspiration with us!
    P.S. I cannot handle a list. That is way too stressful for me. The rest of it, I feel, is doable for me.

    • Hi Patsy, I think the key to a successful relationship or marriage is communication. You mustn’t be afraid to relay your feelings or frustrations to your husband and neither should he. Being aware of each other’s thoughts and feelings will help give each of you an understanding of where you both are emotionally. This will also give a base to how you can help each other. Relationships should have equal responsibilities and expectations. If one has a higher degree of either that can become tiresome and promote frustration. I hope this helps!

  29. This was everything I needed to read. I have been feeling so unmotivated. I’m extremely grateful and appreciative of this article. You must have spent some time typing it up and I’m very grateful. It was the perfect push I needed. Thank you

  30. This article contains tips that I personally never would have thought of and it is fantastically written. I appreciate the time you spent into this article.

  31. MAn I’m 27 and I just been feeling like my life have been going nowhere it’s 3:45 am and I just sat in my man cave and looked up why am I not motivated on good and I found this article and it just mad me want to be apart of something big do something bigger start somewhere anywhere this article mad me just breath fresh air man you don’t know how much I appreciated this it was like a one on one convo I need more people like you in my life I just honestly want to say thank you I’m going to use this content to the best of my abilities and I’m going to start now writing 50 grateful things I want to really keep in touch with your content I like this step by step it make me feel like there’s hope thank you

  32. These ideas are critical for helping students. The idea that you are a failure if you don’t do well on a test permeates society.

    The first time I took the G.R.E. I had pneumonia and coughed throughout the entire test.

    The room was all wood and echoed with each cough. I was so embarrassed. I don’t remember the results, I threw them away.

  33. Wow. Just wow. This is everything going in my head put into words. I think I fall into multiple categories of being unmotivated. This article is brilliantly written, very helpful, and probably the best I have ever read online. Thanks a lot.

    Now I am gonna get my ass back to work…. 🙂

  34. Hey there from Austria,
    I got hooked … I really like the way how you approach motivation. It made me laugh, thoughtful, triggered mental pressure points … and I like the way how you make fun of yourself.
    So my first comment on a website – you motivated me 🙂

  35. This is an amazing article. I think this might be the first time I have ever responded to an article online. It’s smart and grounded and super giving. I could literally feel your whole heart behind the words trying to support and help others. I’m super grateful for coming across this post. We need more content like this these days. Thank you for the love and good energy. Super good work!!!

  36. My life has been characterized by inactivity. And my bad eating habit, greasy food and sugary things have contributed to it. I have been merely exiting and not living. Thank you for helping me find me. And gratitude, it was difficult to admit but now I see I’m truly not grateful enough. In all I have been blessed by your writeup.

  37. This is the best thing I’ve read in so many years. No joke. I’ve been in a terrible funk lately, and when I say lately, I mean for a good 3+ years at least. Ive been so burned out and bummed out that I acted in ways that were not like my original self. But lately I think I’ve hit a breaking point and I can’t do it anymore. This has been so helpful. Thank you, so much. I will forever keep this article.

  38. This is the best information to enter my brain in a long time. Maybe ever. Although I think it was close to this at one time, but may have been neglected and is very messy right now. My brain that it. lol It’s as if you took my mind, organized it, confirmed thoughts that I thought only “I” was having, could read my mind as I would have internal responses, and then addressed them in your next statement and it just kept going. Just one MK would have been great.. but seven! I didn’t organize this comment but am freely expressing an overwhelming sense of being calm! Yes. That’s right. The first day I have felt “at ease” in a very long time… from READING YOUR BLOG. I’ve followed evangelists, motivational speakers, my favorite spiritual leaders, had therapy on-line and in person, prayed, meditated and more.. and THIS. Your (I can’t even call it merely a blog) writings, and how you describe them are substantial, filled with tangible to do items to actually do and really think about.. not fluff. It’s real. It’s accurate. It’s loaded with ways to “re-group, re-build”. I have read this three times in two days. I plan on carrying it with me at most times. I don’t mean to sound like a stalker of a “blog”, but it truly set off a light bulb as to the fact that I’ve been searching, researching and focusing on all the wrong areas. But lack of motivation and the REASONS for it, and the ways to BEAT them, can be a source of so many many other issues. I just turned 50. Educated, almost empty nester, caregiver to a parent, divorced after 20 yr., have had 5-6 major life events come my way in a small matter of time, and have the whole world facing me. I NEEDED THIS. I imagine many, many others do. It is an incredible tool.. or plethera of tools to manage each day. THANK YOU!!!!! I plan on following you (again, not stalking), and looking forward to your other works. I also plan to share this with dear friends who are all searching for WHY am I feeling this way.. or WHY am I not feeling this way.

  39. Thank You for the Info.
    I used to be a very enthusiastic, but one big hit to my motivation and I’ve been very dull and useless. I went reading for help,to stubble onto this website. GOSH, its opened my mind and eyes. I really looking forward to try the techniques and for the future. Loss of Meaning and Envy really opened my mind for ideas.

  40. Impatience is the one that gets me the most. My whole life I’ve been dubbed an “overachiever” and I can list pages of so called “achievements” yet I’m always so impatient to get to the next thing that Ive never felt like I’ve ever had time to stop and actually enjoy what I’ve worked so hard for.
    Thank you for describing this motivation killer so eloquently. I’ve read so many books and posts on motivation and this is by far the most useful 🙂

  41. Your descriptions of Envy and Inaction resonate with me. Envy, however, has been the concept that is most painful to accept as happening. I learned this about myself only about one year ago. I’m glad it’s not just me feeling this way because for a long time I didn’t recognize it. I kept wondering, “what is this odd sensation inside me that is like a cringe each time I see someone’s success, adventures, and joys?” Eventually, I asked myself, “Am I jealous? No, it can’t be.”. But I was jealous. When I finally gave this feeling the name of Envy, I felt wrong for feeling it. I thought I was a terrible person. Now that I read your article, I’m glad I’m not alone, and that you and many others feel it too. Funny that you mention Facebook. For a couple months now I’ve been purposely avoiding it for two reasons: 1) Most people post things that I don’t find interesting, and 2) Some people post things that I wish I could be doing but am not so I feel left out, and yes, envious. Indeed, their lives seemingly appear better than my own. I have to remember that I don’t know what truly goes on behind closed doors. Like you, I too post photos that make me look adventurous, but that’s not my real life all day everyday. On a daily basis my life consists of a job and then going home to be unproductive. The adventures take place occasionally. I mean, why would I post about the boring parts of my life, right? Thanks for this article. I will work on becoming motivated and staying that way!

  42. Okay I’m sharing this on Facebook because the irony makes me laugh. As well as defining my emotional killer (overwhelm and inactivity) you made me laugh so thank you. I would like to add another to the list: self pity which is a self defeating b******d and one I battle with in a glorious self suffocation. The cure is to look up and around and recognise how pitiful your own issues are in context with others, be a confidente- even to someone in tv who does not know you. Today my area was kicked when I heard news on the same day of two people in my life who have just learnt they have breast cancer. Self pity is an egotistical motivation killer and we are all guilty of wallowing sometimes. Thank you for helping me be a better and less significant person. Xx

  43. Thank you very much for this. So glad I came across it. Going through a rough time right now. Thank you again! 🙂

  44. This is really valuable information. I refer to this post pretty often. In fact, it inspired me to write my own about staying motivated through the ups-and-downs of a startup.
    I thought giving up my day job way the hard part. No, that was just the first step. Staying motivated when people keep tell you your baby is ugly is the hard part

  45. A really interesting perspective here, Kyle. Thanks for sharing.

    While I’ve been well aware of the power of gratitude to increase your overall health and happiness, I’ve never really thought of in the context of increasing your motivation.

    Similarly, I had never really given much thought to envy as a motivation killer. Intuitively, I would have probably said that it increases your motivation when you envy someone in order to have what they have, but you offer a compelling argument for why that isn’t so.

    I didn’t quite understand the placement of inaction on this list, though. To me, inaction is an outcome of low motivation, not a cause.
    Personally, I often struggle with overwhelm, especially when faced with large amounts of information to absorb and learn and/or ambiguous situations.

    One thing I didn’t see on this list that I would consider a common contributor to low motivation is fear. This can take many forms, whether fear of failure, fear of success, fear of meeting expectations (either your own or others), fear of what other people will think of you, etc.

  46. There is some great stuff in this article, well done.

    …but there is something that wasn’t covered and is not really considered much.


    What if 5/7 days in your week you are sick with one of many many horrible symptoms and nothing you do or try will help?

    When I get a day or a few hours when i feel mentally and physically OK, I feel like a different person. I charge ahead, I get out my google calendar, I make plans, I book appointments… I start to feel really good.

    …then I wake the next day and I feel so sick that I have no choice, but go back to bed – I am have chronic illness, and for me life is over.

    I gave up on motivation, now I can’t even get the inspiration to do simple things that I use to love… like watch a movie or play a video game… sometimes I even forget to eat.

    Game over.

  47. Honestly glad I stumbled upon this instead of some other article about motivation. It was a bright way/take on ways to fight and approach inaction and lack of motivation that I never thought of before. Awesome!!

  48. GREAT post! Loved loved loved it!

    Perfectly motivated now and totally geeked up!!! (sarcasm intentional, but message very sincere, absolutely loved this post! Just what I needed!)

    Never realized just how much these were the 7 things draining all forms of “good vibes” out of my daily existence. I could soooooo identify with each one as I read. It was like dragging a vampire into the sunlight.

    For real. Thanks again for writing and posting this lifesaver!

  49. Very much to the point and accurate. Reinforced what I already knew. Action, action, action! Thanks for the kick in da bum.
    Boom…Loved it!

  50. We are so lost, that we needed to google and find this. Vague thinking is the root of half the unhappiness.

  51. That was a great article– very thought-provoking! I liked the part that said if you can’t get motivated then maybe it’s not a project you should be working on. My favorite line was, “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.”. So awesome…

  52. Everything you wrote makes perfect sense so thanks for that!
    I will be returning to this often for reinforcement.

  53. Hi Kyle,

    I always known the reasons for lack of motivation but couldn’t figure out what needed to be done to shun these in the long run. After reading this article, I have a better understanding of my situation and right directions to go in now.

    Many thanks for writing this. You are making people lives more worthwhile

  54. Kyle – I haven’t finished reading this yet, but before I take a break, I wanted to say thank you for this. It doesn’t matter that you are not Nassim Taleb. It’s not Taleb who helped me today – its what you have written. Thank you.

  55. I’ve been having a hard time with getting up to workout in the mornings. I needed this today. Awesome tips 😇

    • We’re so glad that you are taking action! Keep in touch!

    • We’re always here for you brother! Keep going 🙂

    • Walks are awesome to clear the head! Heading to the park on lunch breaks is also really peaceful 🙂

  56. Hey Kyle Eschenroeder. First off thank you and great job for this blog!!
    When I read Mastery by Robert Greene 2 years ago it instantly became my favorite book for awakening me to mental obstacles in life that i knew existed but was not concious about. However, when I read this blog, it reignited a sense of duty, and reopened my awareness to these motivational killers, as you wonderfully put it. It definitely adds another great vantage point to tackle our human defects. I know its not complete but keep going. Youre doing great. Thanks again.

  57. Kyle,
    I am 44 years old and have lost all motivation and purpose. I found it difficult to put what I was feeling in words. I really do have a great life but something is not right. You captured it. Tears came to my eye as I read your article as I thought, “YES! That’s IT!” These very simple principles are sometimes difficult to apply in today’s world, yet you give practical steps that ANYONE can use. Your article will be on my refrigerator at home and on my board at work. I actually feel a stir of excitement in my gut as I look forward to taking steps to get my life back.
    First on the list: Goodbye Facebook.
    Thank you.

  58. I took 3 days to read this giving myself time to absorb this valuable information and I must say this is a life changer for me. I can feel it. Thank you

  59. I just found this page saved on my old iPad, I’m going through a tough time at the moment and definitely needed to re-read this. I feel so much better already. Thank you

  60. Extremely good information, thank you for taking the time to write this!

  61. Thank you so much for this! I feel like I have been doing the work I need to do to get to where I want to be but then all of a sudden I start to feel like “Is this really want I want to do?” I overanalyze so when you said that the “meaning is in the work” it really hit home for me!

    This article is so valuable. What a fresh perspective!

  62. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m going to have to read this several times and take action every day.

  63. Wow!! I can’t even express how this writing REALLY hit home! I’ve saved it to my desktop .. so I can reference it again. I’ve also emailed it to my younger brother, hoping it will impact him too.

  64. This article is amazing… And exactly what I needed to light a fire under myself again. You articulated perfectly what kills my motivation every day. Knowing someone else suffers with the same ‘murderers’ is enough to make me want to do more of the things I love and silence the negative voice in the back of my head. I have a feeling I’ll read this many times over. Thank you!

  65. Sorry but the fact you think we should be grateful for a job, to pay for things that should be free. (As no one owns anything on this planet) Is proof enough for me that you are part of the problem.

  66. This blog changed my life in many ways. I have failed so many times and I decided to start over but my overthinking, inaction, and loss of meaning stopped me from continuing. I will apply all these key points to my daily life. Thank you for writing this, you have helped me to stay motivated and to keep my sight on the right path.
    Thank you so much,

  67. Exactly what I needed. Especially the part in inaction. Perfect, timely and am acting from right now. Thanks from Kenya.

  68. I have read many articles and stories to no end on many topics, especially about motivation. And for the first time, when I read and re-read this, every word and every step you addressed was exactly how I was feeling. Your words are so profound. I can’t thank you enough for writing this post. My heart feels at peace!

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. You have helped me tremendously!!!!

  69. When I read “you are procrastinating right now by reading this article” I knew this article was going to attempt an actual analysis of the problem.

  70. I needed to read this. I honestly cant thank you enough! Such a fantastic article!

  71. Hey Kyle,
    Thank you so much for this article. I can’t even explain how much you helped me. You didn’t just motivate me (from 0 to 100) , but especially you gave me so much positive energy and so many beautiful reasons to never stop doing What I love and what is the best for me. I just want to say big fat Thank you, because you helped me to get back. I was so angry at myself, but you brought a light to my life just by writing this beautiful thing. Thank you again so much.. (and man never quit wiritng you are GREAT!)

  72. This is indubitably most wonderful and truthful article i have ever encountered. Very thoughtfully and beautifully wrote about the inner truths of motivation killers.

  73. Hi I know that this post been up for a while and well, I recently hit rock bottom because I was drinking and driving and was in a car crash nothing major thank god. I have lost a lot of things like my car my job and I went into surgery for a fractured ankle. I been wondering why I hit rock bottom I used to be highly motivate this article made me realize a way to stay positive and why I lost my motivation. This article open my eyes and I want to say thank you.

  74. I am 5 months away from finishing my college degree. This journey has taken 5 years while I have worked full time and been active in many fund raising events as well. Thanks for letting me know its okay to be impatient and overwhelmed sometimes.

    Working on Chunking and taking steps to organize and do a little at a time will help me finish this journey!

    Thank you!

  75. Wow, I mean wow this some of the best literature I have read in a while. Do we know ach other, did we grow up together, have we had business ventures in the same circles. I asked myself all of the following questions while reading this article. I enjoyed it, to say the least. Some of the points made here rival entire schools of thought and rationales, however it is absolute truth to a fault. Kyle, Thanks for writing this man, it is a game changer and I will definitely be revisiting from time to time to remind myself. Did you already convert to a book, I need this in my library for sure.

  76. Hi, Kyle I dont ever comment on this things but It is an awesome post and maybe like you said maybe it will motivate me just for a few hours BUT for sure there is some good things that got stuck un my head, I can see this helping a lot of people so thank you for that, keep the awesome job!


  77. Wow! i can feel a burst of energy…. thanks for the write-up… i will need to read it again and again

  78. Kyle – Thank you for pouring yourself into it. Built so much for others, but lost my way. Thanks for giving me a deserved kick in the ass.

  79. I only live 1 hour south from you. Down here if Port Charlotte. This was one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. It speaks to me on so many levels. You and I are very similar. Hope to meet you at the top soon!

  80. Best motivation is proper music.
    Not talking about pinkcloud love bs on the radio or electronic, it’s not realistic and therefore it will drag you to a fantasy world you create in your mind serving to further alienate you from your fellow human beings.
    That shit is like a virus makeing people turn a blind eye to the horrible mess this world has become or worst case scenario will make you keep in your anger so it builds up untill you blow a bomb in a building with innocents or choose to go to war cause you lack excitement in your life.
    Pick your fights with care.

    Best wishes

  81. Great article. Humor, straight talk and naked arses. What more could you want? I especially liked the FB advice. I need to rest for 20 minutes now…

  82. Ten points for the different way you have approached deep rooted flaws in a persons make-up….envy. no point speaking bout the rest of it without beginning with taboo characteristics.
    Nice job! I related to the lot!

  83. Kyle this was one of the best articles I have read in a while and exactly how i feel about my life right now…no job, b/f left me and I have 0 motivation for anything. This is after i just spent 8 years in post secondary, got 2 degrees and thought my life was going places. Then the oil bust hit and I lost my job. Reading this really puts things in perspective. Most of it I already knew or figured out, but it’s great to see I am not alone.

  84. Common sense at every turn. As I read each section I felt free from several obstacles that I built between myself and success. Perfect timing!

  85. Honestly – It’s too masculine and probably more than 50% of people looking for self help are women. Balance it out. Gals aren’t by pictures cute chicks or guys with guns. Get a female influence here. Also – please don’t recommend caffeine!
    I have a TERRIBLE relationship with coffee – to the point that it was killing my kidneys and all I looked forward to in a day was the moment I could have a cup of coffee and feel energized and happy, except, it didn’t actually energize me or make me happy anymore, I just needed it not to feel like complete crap. I recently quit (again) cold turkey (I have quit so many times and so many different ways!) and I am looking for NON-caffeinated motivation, and that comment made me really struggle.

  86. One of the best articles i’ve read in a while. Detailed and to the point. Awesome 😀

  87. There’s no answers in this article! Only the call to take action! Taking action is not an answer! It’s the solution! There’s a difference in an answer and a solution. This article proves it! (:

  88. It makes sense to me right now, there are lots going on in my life, and with other family members, relationship breakdown, low income due to a job switch. Health matters, care responsibility to parents…agh list could go on and on like most peoples. Ironically I coach other people however have taken a step back as I know I am not in the right place to Coach!. I’;m the one needing a coach right now, Someone to answer too! yep I get it.
    Thank you…
    Can you come visit Glasgow Scotland!!! 🙂

  89. This article is freaking awesome. The tools are so basic but awesome. Right on target with so with the murderers and chasing the notion of what is my purpose. I sent this to my teenage kids to show them life, not all the make believe that they hear everyday. Thanks!

  90. Honestly. I have been looking for answers and i’m going to try these. I never keep with anything long term. Its a product of my ADHD but I want to get better and I feel these strategies may just help me overcome this phase i’m dealing with. Thank you very much

  91. This was beyond awesome! I’m sharing this with everyone I’m attached to because, by and large, it uncovered answers to the numerous conversations we have everyday! Literally!

  92. Thanks for this. I stumbled across it today, feeling somewhat listless and unmotivated. Really helpful and made me think.

  93. Just what I needed to get me thinking about what needs to change in my “life”! Awesome, thanks!!!

  94. I like to drive, kinda like to think outside of the box, get away from the situation, get around the river where people are positive, riding bikes and walking dogs ,just being around it helps me think there is hope for me yet.

  95. Good work guys. I’m hoping the “stop looking for meaning and start doing the things that will create meaning.”

    I’ve found in the last 24 months that the passion that I had for a particular creative discipline seems to have evaporated day by day. I have a feeling that it might be because I was using it as therapy or catharsis (to be specific, songwriting). Emotionally, I was quite er…. intense, I think is the best way to describe it. I was either everything or nothing, there was no middle ground. After a couple of experiences where people who I felt a lot for found this somewhat intimidating, I took the decision to not do that (after all, no one wants to be served with restraining orders!), but the only way I’d learned to deal with stress at a professional level was not to care, to switch off my passion for my profession, for the day job. I think I made the big mistake of doing that with my personal life and with my past times and creative outlets as well (more by accident than design, I think). Now I find myself caught in the cleft stick of something that gave me so much pleasure and passion for years now doesnt fire me up at all, which is profoundly disappointing as it seems to deprive life outside of work of meaning, purpose and direction.

    Now, it could be that now I have no personal or professional demons left to slay, no need of catharsis any more (because if you dont feel anything, what is there to get irked/wound up/motivated about enough to write songs/poems about, huh?) maybe this is the point that I no longer need to write about it for personal therapy, let alone as a potential career?

    All I know is that I think I preferred when I felt both that intense pleasure and pain than at the moment where I dont feel anything about almost anything – although I’m not socially isolated, my friends and family are very dear to me and I treasure them and stick by them like they stick by me – as opposed to this at the moment where I dont feel anything or have any kind of passion for anything.

    I’m hoping that the diagram you’ve got in this article might help me map my way back to that point, with all the good and bad, all the ups and downs of having a passion for life entails.

    Thanks guys. Keep up the great work, theres a lot of us out there of all ages who need your guidance. 🙂

  96. What if a person is ambitious, loves his profession ad has the talent and ability to achieve but the stress of certain traumatic events in his relationship like being cheated by his GF is playing on his mind and drains him and he just sits in a mini trauma and is not able to work

    • I am no authority, but I’d say give yourself time to heal. Take a mini vacation (or a big one) and get away from everything for awhile. Re-gather and get back at it! 🙂 Good luck!

  97. Awesome post, really helpful and inspiring. Thanks! My motivation seems to have completely run out today, and this was just perfect 🙂

  98. Sob story though personally I don’t feel it much anymore (the parent dying part) but it provides clarity.

    My mom passed away about 4 years ago now. That in itself is a crappy turn of events but the whole world seemed to crash around that. A month before she passed I was forced to go to her country and abandon all my friends and everything I knew to go live in this place that I was and still am not a fan of. Technology is very behind and the weather is humid 90% of the time. 6 months after her death I turned 18 and made my way back to New York (it’s cliched and probably egotistical but you can see how desperate I was to be somebody important being raised in NYC and being in Colombia would never provide that sense of purpose). I finished high school which I had to repeat a year because I left the country midway through my senior year. By then I got reconnected with all my friends who were all now working and in college pursuing their dreams and making good money. I was left behind and it wasn’t their fault but it’s something I saw every day I hung out with them. I started working and also started my first semester of college but living alone and at my age it was impossible to have enough money to pay for school and live on my own. Eventually I went broke and couldn’t make it past the semester and keep a roof over my head. I started looking for more work but after a year and a half of being there I just felt like I was going nowhere. My father helped me pay for a ticket back to Colombia and 2 years later here I am.. 21 years old with a failed semester at a community college, unemployed, gaining weight, and stuck in my room for over a year doing nothing but watching Youtube videos and playing video games.

    I wanted to compose music for video games. Even if I ended somewhere else in the music industry I’d still be doing something I really loved doing but all these setbacks have made me feel like I cant escape this rut. The longer I stay indoors the harder it is to even step outside. The last time I’ve been out of my house was 4 months ago now. I’ve lost all my friends whom I’ve known for almost a decade, I lost the city I love and all it’s delicious food, and it all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to prepare for it. Reading this is making me want to try again. I’m going to do 10 push ups today and maybe 11 tomorrow. Maybe run in place for 5 minutes or do a couple of jumping jacks. I’m going to read this every day. Odds are it wont work but It’s definitely making me want to give it an honest shot. I really do want to work in the music industry. I know I’m talented and It’s the only thing that really makes me feel confident. I want to go find work and I want to go back to school. I’m only 21 I still have at least 30 years left if I’m really unlucky I cant imagine being in this slump the rest of my life.

    Thank you and I hope I can push through this.. I don’t have any social media or any friends at this point so I really just needed to vent somewhere and feel somewhat important I guess. Thank you

  99. Hi!
    I am 60 year old widow, with severe motivation issues since my husband past away.
    I found your post, which I think is amazing! (thank you!), and a question aroused: are “doubt” and “fear of making the wrong decision” motivation killers? Because that is what keeps me paralyzed. I want to move out of Mexico City, buy a house with the money I have left, but I’m afraid of taking the decision for the 2 reasons a.m. I heard once the phrase: “if you feel doubt, better do nothing”.
    I apologize for my English and hope for a reply… Thanks!

  100. Im like a one woman motivation mafia. I murder motivation exceedingly well. I put concrete blocks on my motivation so it swims with the fishes. I suck. I’m stuck. This great work of yours illustrates how far I’ve risen in the methodic killing of my motivation.
    I’m going to read it again. Thanks.

  101. Thank you for the post on Envy!!! I’ve been searching everywhere (save the bible) for a post on Envy! A lot is written about jealousy, but that’s a completely different thing than wanting what someone who appears to be more successful than you has.
    I suffer from Envy, perhaps because I come from a family with 3 other siblings, one of which is a twin whom I was compared to constantly. However, I’ve learned not to bury Envy but realise that it’s a signpost to what I want. I remember when I was married, I was paying for my husband’s acting classes (of which I found out he wasn’t attending) and all along I was envious of him, but not only because I was stuck at home with the baby, but because I wanted to do what he was doing! So, after I divorced his azz, I started taking a few film course during university, then wrote some screenplays, learned about film production, and am now producing two films. One of which my daughter, who’s now an actress, is in!
    This doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer from envy (especially in my industry) but using envy as a guide has brought me (and my daughter) to places I’ve never though imaginable.

  102. Thanks for the time you put into this, it was an eye opening article. I normally hate these kind of blogs and I never comment but you did a really good job attacking your points and explaining it from multiple viewpoints. I am chronically unmotivated and this made me think about some triggers I wouldn’t have made myself think about otherwise. Most people think it’s common sense to just start doing but I think that you see there are mental walls associated with those “killers”. It’s definitely given me some food for thought and for that, I thank you.

  103. I would just like to say thank you for this. I am a 14 year old kid and I’m finding school is really starting to take a toll on me. I guess my problem has a lot to do with overwhelm. I fell like I will try to take a break, then the next thing you know I’ve spent my while weekend just laying in bed wasting time I could have been doing work in. The next thing I know people are upset with me for being lazy and not caring about my work. I first skimmed through you’re article then read it through and find that it was a big help. You seemed to know had to cope with every issue I had. I wold just like to say thanks one more time for being there when I needed something.

  104. Not going to lie, I felt foolish writing “How to get out of bed when you feel unmotivated” but grateful to have found your post. It was bang on! There’s a feeling of overwhelm, envy and lack of meaning. You raise so many great points such as focus on the task at hand and find ways to be better rather than “is this my passion?” Or limit your Facebook time – guilty!

    There are so many quotes and articles that keep saying “do what you love, stay forever motivated by doing what you love, etc.” To be completely honest, it makes me wonder if everyone who says that truly loves what they do and if so, am I the only one who’s suffering and who doesn’t know what they are passionate about or jumping on the band wagon and living a lie. There’s so much overwhelm that it’s starting to blur my vision and stay focused.

    Thank you again for sharing your tips! I’m going to bookmark this and read it over and over again. I honestly don’t need to look elsewhere for motivation. Like you said it’s within us, we just need a few tools to reignite it.

    Keep thriving and inspiring!

  105. Um… Just searching for something and found this. THANK YOU for not being the stereotypical site about getting motivated. It’s such a drag out there! I’d follow you on Facebook but I’m taking your advice and shutting that shit off. You do have a fan in me now. Thank you.

  106. Oh wow. I really needed this right now. You put into words exactly what I already knew in my heart and with such humor! That’s what really broke the dark cloud; being able to laugh at myself. Thank you thank you. The gratitude list was an instant boost and the comment on taking action, no matter how small, was reassuring. One small action at a time.

  107. Great article. Can’t agree more but a little bit amused that you wrote ‘someone’ wrote The Magic of Thinking Big. I said amused because I grew up in Indonesia and I read David Schwartz’s book (TMoTB) countless times in Bahasa Indonesia, so did my friends at college. I bought the original (English) version when I moved to Texas. All said, motivation is a universal issue and your geographic location and mother tongue do not matter.

  108. Hi Kyle,

    What an epic post. Thank you for writing it.
    I particularly liked what you wrote about the lack of gratefulness.

    Our self talk can be motivation killers too. First I was missing it from this post and then I saw that you cover it very well in another post

    I think unsupportive partners can be motivation killers too. Most of the time they want you to be successful but have their own subconscious conflicting intentions and feel threatened by any change.

  109. Hi
    Im a 48 yr old mum of 2 teens living in Berlin, probably not your usual audience, and i came across your blog as i was scanning the web for help on
    Motivation. Your blog is brilliant : funny, accurate, and so wise, forgive me, for your age! Thanks for changing the course of this day for me. All the best!

  110. This is one of the best things I’ve read on the internet.
    Great writing.

  111. I just read your post (Just a few points, I was impatient) and I found that I should make a map, after I lie down for a while. :/

  112. Great resource for the readers. Very precise and written out of the league.
    Thanks for sharing

  113. This was excellently written and thankfully goes way beyond the surface level problems and their solutions suggested by most literature of this kind. I’m coming out of (hopefully!) an identity crisis – the inception of which was an adult diagnosis of ADHD which caused me to acknowledge that I had been lying to everyone, including myself about my successes in life (all those fantastic things I had thought of but never actually done) and most probably fueled the subsequent 14 month’s of inertia which have seen me doing nothing for literally 95% of my time – because for want of a better word, I now have an excuse. I like how you’ve mentioned the existential questions; those fuckers are the most pernicious to me – ‘What’s the point in anything, I’m just a mass of bone and sinew’ is my current favourite! However, after reading, I immediately implemented the gratitude element, I went for a walk in my favourite district in my favourite city in the world (London), bought an iced almond latte and some seaweed umami fried chicken with pickled watermelon and went to an art gallery – amazing! I will revisit this post every day because that, in itself will bring order to my life – add to that the fact that it is unquestionably edifying and clearly was written from experience. It’s fantastic that you took the time and effort to share this – thanks for that man!

  114. Thank you! I already feel btr about myself.sometimes i get unmotivated because of the industry im in(fitness), this def. Made me look at things differently

  115. I’m grateful to have come across your article. Best I’ve read on this subject. Definitely worth revisiting. I’m thinking I may choose one of these and get up from my chair.
    Since my husband died, it has been challenging to be motivated. It helped me to read about gratitude. I started to think about how grateful I am that we shared a mutually loving, healthy relationship. It wasn’t long (2 years), but we lived every day fully. We had a plaque in our bedroom that said Love Like There’s No Tomorrow and we did just that. He died suddenly. But oh how we lived and loved!
    Thank you for writing this! Deborah

  116. Thank you for sharing the wonderful post. It was so uninhibited, spontaneous, and easy to relate to, that I’m actually feeling a bit more motivated…reading your post was like undergoing a mind therapy of a sort (no exaggeration!). Please keep posting!

  117. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m just a 14 year old Indian girl ( and i was spoilt – but that was before reading abt ingratitude). Thank you sooo much. You made my day and life better. ☺

  118. Hi Matt, great post I must say, I am currently a permanent employee working a steady 9 to 5 job, I have my own condo in a big city , my car, enough money to travel etc, I am still single at 36 cause I keep having this feeling that I am at the wrong place, and that there is something else I should be doing and jumping into a relationship would be like skipping a step. I am still searching for myself but I am scared sh**less about leaving my job cause I worked 8 years to get who I am… every morning requires a gargantuesque amount of effort to get up and find motivation to go through the day.. I am in a very uncomfortable place but I hate myself for being so ungrateful of everything I am, I feel like I could, and should be happy with everything I have. What should a guy do in this position? saying “quit your job” is easy if you work at Wal Mart, but when you have a job that you had to work hard to get to, and that is pretty rare…. argh..

  119. I came across your site and found it inspiring and comments that are so true in my life envious and inaction mainly it’s a killer for sure, it’s hard to get up and moving most of the time. husband just calls it lazy but I know better its deeper then that, soul sucking one might say. Your post made me feel motivated just dont want to lose the feeling. trying to eat better to feel better is the aim, i will not be envious of others ill make it happen for myself bit by bit

  120. Hi Kyle, there are all sorts of mix bag of tricks I have under my arsenal to motivate myself. But the strange thing is, somewhere along the line, I lose the motivation to utilize the vary tricks that can motivate me o.O. I don’t yet know, whether your blog post will make a practical difference to how I do things or whether it was all just a mental masturbation, but the fact that a restless guy like me read your 7000+ words long blog post in one sitting was very surprising to me. The tools you have given are very different or presented in a way that really hit the home run for me. I feel they can bring long term change. I will let you know how it goes in few weeks :).

  121. Great blog post, it certainly raised a few points I haven’t read before. Thank you!

  122. Great article, these tools are awesome and I will be using them to get better. Thanks startupbros!!

  123. Hi Kyle

    Thanks for this article, it really helped me out today.

    Have a nice day,


  124. I just want to say thank you for writing this article. It has opened my eyes to my problems, and some simple solutions that I can use to change my motivation around and get on with my life, and better myself.

  125. Thank you for this article! I read a good 50% of it! (It was a long one lol) and I really love your writing style, you sound like someone I would love to be friends with! I hope everything goes well with you and I wish you lots of joy and happiness!! Thanks for this special gift that I needed right now! 🙂

  126. Damn man…. I really like your blog or this article… i’m gonna start changing my life

    i just wish that my brain could absorb all this information…. but its tooo long
    I’ll be working on this

    Thanks a bunch man !!!

  127. Brilliantly insightful!! Just what I needed! Will be bookmarking to use as a reference. I will need to reread, I’m sure I will get something more from it each time! When do you expect your book “SelfMadeU” will be available? Thanks so much!

  128. This was really awesome! I loved that you approached it as “killing the murderers” rather than “how to get motivated” it puts to perspective how to handle it “the day after” you read a motivatuonal blog or book or quote. Everything you mentioned here is pulling me down, and looking forward to using the tools. Thank you for the post

  129. Did I run out of characters? (Above) or did I just get cut off? Either way, I don’t remember how I concluded other than apologizing for using the comments section of blog as my own personal diary! And maybe something about incorporating my new dreams (family, kids, etc) to my old dreams…

    Thanks for listening Kyle!


    • Hi Kat,

      I don’t think you should have run out of characters, I’ve (surprisingly :P) seen even longer comments!

      It sounds to me you need to be content to start smaller. Pick ONE book and force yourself to write 500 words every single day until it’s finished. Then give yourself six weeks to edit and self-publish it.

      You’re not going to stop sex trafficking by yourself and you sure as hell aren’t going to stop world hunger. That’s fine, you can HELP. You can stop sex trafficking for one girl/boy at a time. You can stop hunger for one hungry person at a time. You can get involved with organizations that are already working to it.

      If the world’s on your shoulders it’s hard to move. All you need is 500 words. Or one hour of volunteering.

      No pressure, no big mission.

      But then these little acts compound. 500 words a day is a few books a year. In a decade you may actually have written 30 books. But only with the little step every day.

      That’s what helps me when I want everything done right now and I forget that thing take time to happen. Break it down. I take a step back and stop pretending that I’m the first human that can eradicate everything bad.

      I hope you commit to something small. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it compounds.

      • Thanks guys… great pic.

        We should run a competition for your readers.

        Happy to put up a poster and some stickers


  130. I am grateful I read this till the end! I’ve been talking shit to myself for a number of things about not being motivated. At the moment I read this article I wanted to work out but didn’t want to work out. By the time I got to the impatience part, I was being impatient about reading this blog when I could be working out. Ive been on my stationery bike now for 30min and was able to finish reading your blog without being impatient. I am grateful! Thank you

  131. Congrats! If there is a ‘non-truth’ in this article, I’ll mow your lawn forever. Or, until you realize I don’t know how or you don’t have a lawn!! You described my life (not only at this moment), but the ‘entirety’ of it in general. The Facebook stuff is all too REAL! We do groom our FB pages to make us more interesting, if nothing else. Then, no one knows our failures, our fears, or our futures – IF they go by what we have careful compiled as our image – seen on Facebook by our 5000 ‘friends’. Truth is, I can count my true friends on one hand! I’ve been a practicing writer, musician, and inventor (my Patent was shot down – for now) and the murder of my idea has made me susceptible to all the other motivation killers. Thanks for a home-run that, IMHO, is funny (and painful) = in life, the funniest things are TRUE and, as we all know, the truth can hurt. I’m going to post your article to my Facebook page as the last post before I close my account. Then, perhaps, the book I’ve started will become a real one. Steve C.

  132. Kyle- thank you for this article. I used to be obsessed with “finding” motivation, listening to Tony Robbins CDs, going to big “get pumped for life” conferences, reading & posting motivational quotes…even texting them to friends every morning. I look back and think “who was that person that was so easily motivated and energized?!” I learned A LOT about the idea of motivation and how it wasn’t about the quotes and articles and fluffy “you can do it” speeches but I don’t remember what I learned it WAS about. (Or maybe I’m afraid to remember) It takes so much for me now to get excited about things – and even more for me to not talk myself out of being too excited about things. I like to tell myself that I am not depressed because I don’t necessarily feel the sadness that comes along with depression. On point with your article, I do know that I am in an “I don’t care” state of mind most of the time and I can’t figure out if it is because I do care and am secretly (but not so secretly) feeling like a failure in every area of my life or if I truly just do not care. I also spend almost every minute of every day rationalizing every thought/feeling I have and intellectualize mg anything that may seem a bit too emotional. I’m sure you know what it is like to be in constant battle with yourself. “This is enough- this isn’t enough, I am enough, I am never going to be enough, I am happy, I am not happy, happiness is relative, happiness is irrelevant, etc” (did I mention my obsession with “happiness” (or the idea of happiness) and parenthesis).

    It’s a little off your realm of knowledge im sure, but I just turned 30, have 3 kids, a husband, a house- more things on a personal level than I could have ever dreamed of? Hoped for? You know what Im saying. But I gave up a lot of my own work to stay home with them and am having a hard time finding the significance in what I do- not because it isn’t important for them and for my family, but because it’s hard to see the bigger picture and my everyday existence revolves around diapers and laundry. At any rate, I was ½ hoping you were going to have an article somewhere on here about the slumps of parenting or losing yourself to your children. Or not caring about anything because it’s too scary to care about anything (or did you mention that?) I find your writing very relatable and enjoyed your perspective. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Hi Kat,

      I’m not a dad (I want to be Dad one day though, bad)

      (I also overuse parentheses)

      so I could not possibly know what it’s like to have a kid.

      But I have to imagine, from what you said, that your problem is on thinking of the things you’ve sacrificed for these things.

      Maybe integrate them. I don’t know what you gave up, if it was some kind of art, make art about your kids. If it was business, maybe start some business in honor of your kids.

      Maybe make your life even a little harder so that you can’t care about whether happiness is the right goal or not. Maybe there is too much room for you to rationalize and drive yourself crazy. (Maybe I’m projecting.)

      Maybe pour so much caring into your 3 kids that there’s nothing else to do.

      I wish I knew what was the right thing.

      I know that parenting is impossible to do 100% right. I also know it’s really hard to do a great job at.

      I know that you’re going to do a great job, too. Because you care enough. Just being frustrated enough at not caring enough to post here proves that. You do care–and your kids are going to thank you for it until the day you die.

      • Thank you. I needed that. I think you will make a great parent one day because I don’t think you would let allow yourself NOT to be great at it (based off of what I can gather about you). It’s funny you said to make my life harder. Tonight I told my husband that sometimes I think it would be easier to be a single mother with 3 kids all under the age of 5 because it would force me to do it all. I suppose I tend to do things well when I know it has to get done, and even better when I know someone else is depending on me to get something done. He’s home during the winters so my life gets wayyyy too easy. I’m not sure what that says about my character, but it’s something to work on…and for that reason alone, I will feel like I accompished something worthwhile today

          • Came back for some inspiration. It’s been less than a week, I know. I have been slowly adding “tasks” to my routine everyday that seem so rediculously simple but help me to feel like I am accomplishing SOMETHING (take a shower, go outside, drive somewhere, make dinner). My husband starts work tomorrow (he’s a golf professional) so I have high hopes that I’ll be able to come back to life and become more task-oriented. I used to love to-do lists until they started making me feel trapped. At one point (before my now 9 month old was born) I had 4 pieces of paper taped to the fridge with a minute to minute schedule for each member of my family, and then another 4 pages with what person has what chore on what day of the week. OCD much? I took them down to avoid the constant guilt that came along with not meeting my own expectations. But I’m starting to miss them. I realized that I am the type of person that needs things written down. I need a reference point. And structure. I just need to make my goals more realistic.

            I have been trying to figure out something to do for myself. Go back to school and finish my degree, maybe? I spent 6 years of college attending every other semester and the thought of having nothing to show for it is beyond overwhelming. (I don’t regret exploring all my options, I am just not that risky anymore). Perhaps now is the time that I devote some energy into building one of my businesses. I mentioned previously that I had given up my own work, but the truth is, I am a license collector. I got my coaching license so I could coach cheerleading – and then I realized that actually just loved BEING a cheerleader, not coaching. I got my life insurance license when I wanted to build my Primerica business, and then I realized that I hated financial sales…and talking to people about their money. I got my real estate license because I had a great opportunity to be a part of an amazing team in CT, but that ship has sailed. I suppose I could get a new license of some sort.

            I keep considering what I would do if there was nothing holding me back. You know, follow my dreams, take control of my life blah blah blah. I feel like if I could identify what it is that I aspire to be or to do, then my ambition and desire to get there will show me the solutions to the obstacles preventing me from taking action (did that make any sense?) Unfortunately, the magical answers aren’t just fabricating in my mind. How would I, say, take a hiatus and go live in a cabin in the woods and finish writing 1 of the 30 books I’ve started? How can I travel the world as a missionary and open an orphanage in Nepal and stop world hunger and sex trafficking? In a lot of cases the passions one has before they get married and have children and build a home can be incorporated into thier lives. I was in Mexico building houses in 2006 and remember thinking that I was going to be one of those “missionary families”. I was going to devote my life to it even if it meant that my children had to be homeschooled and we would all have live in a tent on some compound that didn’t have running water (whats that brain function that doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25? Oh yes, reasoning…) I would never subject my children to sleeping on the dirt with scorpions running around or having to bathe in lakes and rivers filled with parasites and bacteria (at least not this young

  133. Wow, this was a real thought provoking tonic of a read on a day I really needed it Friday the 13th! thanks Kyle

  134. I just wanted to say that for someone who has been in a pretty messed up place for a while, this post helped me a lot. so thank you.

  135. Wow what an excellent post. I am so impressed and grateful that you have the skill and the dedication to condense all of these universally experienced “motivation killers” down into this one article. It would have taken me *years* to sit down, categorize, and identify these feelings I encounter (which inevitably means I would have never done it). But you’ve laid it all out here, along with great advice, that in my personal experience I’ve found to be spot on. You’ve reiterated what Ive learned through experience (but often forget in the low moments) and made an excellent “toolkit” for when that pesky lack of motivation hits. So grateful for the insight and hard work you put into this. I spend an inordinate amount of time reading blogs like this (procrastination anyone?) and I have never commented before… and just wow, I hope that lends some gravity to how much I value this article and your commitment to this blog! Will definitely be back! Keep rocking!

  136. Thank you. I been going through a rough time and it’s really nice to read such a straightforward and honest article; especially from someone who knows how it feels.

  137. Hi Kyle,
    Wonderful post man, this stuff is golden! This is the kind of thing I needed in my life right now.
    I’m 17 living in the UK, and am repeating my penultimate year in school because of lack of motivation. Last academic year I took subjects that I found easy, and cruised through without working at anything. Then when results came round and I saw I’d failed the first half of my A-levels and couldnt continue I had no idea what to do (hope this makes some sense, UK schooling is quite different from US I think). So this year I am restarting A-levels with all new subjects that purely interest me, but now that I am finding them difficult, I’m not used to finding things hard or having to work at things, so I am giving up. I feel myself slipping into the same hole that I found myself in last year.
    My main issue however is that I never worry. I don’t fear what will happen if I don’t finish homework on time, or if I don’t do my coursework, or if I don’t study for my exams.
    There are brief moments, once in a blue moon, where I have a sudden wave of panic, where I break down and just stress about how I am not motivated, then in the morning its gone. This is actually how I found your post.
    I was having one of these moments, and was so terrified to go to sleep that I would lose that feeling of worry, so I went looking on the internet and found your post. Its 5am here and I haven’t been to sleep yet, because I know that when I do it will kill my worry about my motivation.
    I know that when I wake up I will have most likely lost this sense of proactiveness that I currently have, and will return to the cycle of putting off homework, saying I’ve got plenty of time or how little can I get away with.
    If you have any ideas about how I can help this, perhaps highlight parts of your post best suited to me or recommend other posts that would be great! I’ve seen you help so many others in these comments, but I feel that because I’m so much younger and stuck in compulsory education that its hard for me to relate to them.
    Any help would be great, but even just to know that I’m not the only one going through these feelings is so uplifting 🙂

    Thanks again, and keep up the great work,

  138. Hi.

    I just wanted to thank you for this.
    I’ve been suffering from immotivation (is that a word?) for far too long.. I would find a passion, but then I’d lose the ‘meaning’.. Then inaction.. Follwed by overwhelm.. In the last year, I’ve experienced all of these!
    The part about having an idea and being excited long enough to tell people about it really hit home. My newest passion (actually an older hobby, but I’m more serious about it than ever) is writing fiction. I powered through about 1800 words of a short story, and hit writers block. For nearly a MONTH.
    I tried everything. I read the line “If all else fails, mix things up.” I threw the outline out the window, deleted the last 300 words, and reread it. Then I came back to comment here. After I hit send, I’m going to finish it, and I expect to be done with it in under an hour.
    I bookmarked this page, and will make a habit of rereading it during my morning coffee until its techniques are habit. Thanks again!

  139. Great post Kyle

    I just wanted to thank you for all the time you put into this post. Your site is becoming a great asset to me and my goals. You not only addressed my greatest challenges but provided solid solutions to build on.

    I think I’ll take your 7 murderers and execute them in my own 7000 words just to flesh it out and have a deeper understanding of what keeps killing my drive. I’ll start with ingratitude tonight and write the rest throughout the week. it’s time I gave these killers the chair

  140. Wonderful blog post! So interesting and contains all the motivational comments I need to get me going! Thank you for spending so long doing this for us all. I doubt there’s one person who didn’t find this useful in some way

  141. Kill Facebook

    “entire world has you convinced ‘your’ a loser for not being in ”

    It’s ‘you are’.

    You have written fabulously, but grammatical errors lower the credibility.

    Sorry, if you find me annoying.

  142. (Blatant piece of promotion coming up here…..)

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

    Happy Halloween everyone

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. 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

    • 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!!

  146. 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.

    • 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? 😀

  147. 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

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

    • 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”.

  151. Hi, I wanted to say that as a working mom and wife, this article has inspired me to get out of my “overwhelmed” trenches and get my life back in line. You didn’t offer up any silly solution or trendy “life hacks” and I appreciate that. This article was well thought-out and written, and it made me think; which I can honestly say has not happened in quite a while. Thank you!

  152. 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.

    • 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?

      • 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:

        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.

        • 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?

  153. 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.

  154. 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.

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

  156. 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

  157. 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!

    • 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 😀

  158. 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)?

    • 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!

  159. 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.

  160. 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! 😉

    • 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

      • 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:

        Again, thanks A LOT for the brain shake 😛

  161. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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 🙂

  162. 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. 🙂

  163. 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!

    • 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.


  164. 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!

  165. 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.

    • 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! 😛

      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.

  166. 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 🙂

  167. 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.

    • 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:

      Let me know if this helps!

  168. 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.

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

  170. 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 😛

    • 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!

  171. 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.

  172. 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!

    • 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.

  173. 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

    • 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!

  174. 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.

    • 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!

  175. 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!

  176. 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.

  177. 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..

    • 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.

  178. 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! 🙂

    • 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 😛

      Welcome to the family!

      (Love your 1984 poster btw!)

  179. 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!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 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

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

        • 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!

  180. 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 .

    • 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

  181. 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!

  182. I really love this article, especially the “kill facebook” and about “envy” section.
    Thanks for sharing bros.. 🙂

  183. 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 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

      • 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

          • I googled for help.. and amidst all the nonsense that came up..i found this little treasure which put into words what i’ve been feeling for over a year now. And it was so comforting to see words.. that made sense. That i could finally relate to. I still dont know why or how i reached this state. Of zero motivation. I am THE most blessed person i know, the most loving supportive family, married the man i love and we’re so happy. Its sharing my life with him that gets me through the day. An amazing work environment that’s gratifying as well. I’ve been running a successful small business for the last 5 years and its doing better than ever. Then why? you have no idea how frustrating it is to feel this way when u have no reason to. Am i seeking attention? What do i want? (other than have a child..but there’s still time for that) what is it that’s making me this loser that i hate every waking minute of my life.
            I still dont know why… but at least your blog helped me clear out the frustration and the anguish by showing me some clear simple doable tricks to try on myself. I still dont know how i’ll ever make that map. But i’ll try.
            Am so scared i’ll be stuck like this forever. I cant “SEE” myself being a productive person again. I cant see myself waking up and wanting to get out of bed. And thats scary. 🙁 But thats where i kill inaction with action instantly. Its powerful.. and motivating.. hehe.. that sentence. I’ll try it. lower the bar, and take one tiny action. lol.
            Anyway.. sheesh sorry for taking up all this comment space. But THANK YOU Kyle..
            🙂 thank you very much. It’s time to get out and make the bed.
            *fingers crossed*

  184. 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. 🙂



    • 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!

  185. 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!


    • 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.”

      • 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.


        • 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!!

          • 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.

          • Well… I hope you share it when it’s shareable anyway 🙂

            Have the changes lasted?

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

  187. 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.

  188. 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 🙂

  189. 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.

  190. 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!!!!

    • 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

  191. 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.

    • 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: https://www.startupbroscom-main-site.local/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): https://www.startupbroscom-main-site.local/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.


    • 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.


  192. 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.

    • 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!

  193. 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.

  194. 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.

  195. 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…

    • 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!!

  196. 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!

    • 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!

  197. 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.

    • 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.

  198. 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.

    • 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 🙂

  199. 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!

  200. 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!

  201. 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!

  202. 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.

  203. 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!

  204. 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 )

    • 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!

      • 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 )

  205. 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!

    • 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

  206. 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!

    • 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 🙂

    • 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!

      • Your welcome bunches 😀 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!

  207. 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..

    • 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

  208. 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.

    • 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.

  209. 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!!!

  210. 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.

  211. 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?

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

  213. 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?

    • 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

      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!

  214. 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.

    • 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!

        • “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.

  215. 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: )

    • 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!

    • Really liked the points you made here. It all starts with taking action. somedays I need to remind myself of this!

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