Motivation can be a tricky concept. What motivates one might not always be what motivates the other, even though they are on the same project and level in life. And while it is possible for people to motivate other people, they have their limitations.
After all, is said and done, getting yourself moving still remains your responsibility. But when it looks all dark and all doors seem to have closed on you, how do you get the motivation to pick yourself up and move on? Where do you find that push that shares your enthusiasm to pursue that goal, that ambition, that passion?
Many motivational books and speakers would recommend a couple things to help you keep that motivation, but every so often, we wind up back to where we started from. We try as much as we can to ‘get back in the zone’, only to fall flat back, this time, even worse. What do you do?
1. Start by Acknowledging Where You Are
The first step to fighting any battle is to acknowledge that the battle actually exists. This is the same thing with fighting the battle in your head. Acknowledge the battle is real. What this does is that it brings to your awareness the extent of the damage not fighting the battle would cause you and your dreams. It makes you feel a sense of urgency and motivation in winning this battle so you can be free to operate at your best, making the right choices and advancing swiftly in life.
No one makes progress with a clogged mind. While you try to make progress, those horrible voices won’t let you. You will feel grounded, frustrated and trapped. We all have been there. But the moment we accept that this is a battle we must fight, our mind opens up to new possibilities of how to actually win the battle. I like how Mokokoma Mokhoana puts it, “A slave that acknowledges its enslavement is halfway to its liberation.”
2. Begin to Feed Your Mind Right
Your mind is like a computer. It is WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get. You cannot be feeding your mind with the right things and not be able to make the right decisions, with time. The mind (your head) takes the shape and form of what it’s being fed.
If you consume junks, you will always be thinking of junks. Your motivation will always be at the lowest level, but if you consume real substance like motivational/inspirational books, you will always be energized and pumped up for any task that comes your way.
The advice to feed your mind right, cannot be overemphasized. Read books that motivate you. Listen to tapes or messages that inspire you. Watch TV programs and movies that push you to go beyond your limit. Attend motivational seminars and mastermind classes. These things will position you to operate at an optimal level in life, with all enthusiasm for whatever your pursuit is.
3. Guard Your Mind
The Bible talks about guarding your mind with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life. That is one of my best bible passages. Like I mentioned in the previous point, when you feed your mind with junks, you will always get unhealthy results back; unhealthy decisions, unhealthy ideas, and you will take unhealthy actions that’d sabotage your efforts towards progressive results.
If you must maintain an optimal motivation level, you have to guard your mind against everything negative. Yes, it might be quite difficult to effectively do so; seeing the news itself is filled with negativity, but you know what to do. Frank McCourt said it better, “You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” How do you treat a palace? You know better!
4. Define What it is You Want Most in Life
Just like the age old saying, “in the multitude of words, there lack no sin”, I paraphrase to say, in the multitude of ideas, there lack no confusion. When your path is not defined, every way is a way. You get easily swayed by every latest scheme and principles that keep flying around.
You do not have a firm, solid foundation by which your decisions are made. This makes you vulnerable to a lot of things, including bad choices. Your motivation is at the mercy of the negative thoughts that keep flying in your head, as such, you take the easy way out, and eventually losing sight of the bigger picture.
On the other hand, when your path is defined, you know what it is you want and are determined to follow through; you will become more focused and motivated. You will see that your enthusiasm takes a quantum leap. You begin to feel fulfillment at every little success along your path. Those little successes then become the motivating factor for onward accomplishments.
5. Learn to Own Your Thoughts
Isn’t it ironical to ask you to own your thoughts when it seems you already own it? Actually, it is your thoughts, right? Wrong! You see, most times, we allow other people easily sway us off our course just because ‘they are elderly’ or ‘they are more knowledgeable’. The fact that you see others as ‘elderly’ or ‘knowledgeable’ doesn’t mean they know the right thing all the time, especially for you. In fact, more than half the advice you receive for your own journey would reduce your motivation and eventually lead you to failure.
Think about it for a second. It is your path, right? Are they on it with you? Do they know where you are going? If you answered NO, then why allow them to prescribe what you know won’t work? I’m not saying it’s not okay to take advice from others; I’m saying while receiving that advice, be picky about how you apply them to your life.
People only prescribe what has worked for them, and what has worked for them might not always work for you. When you own your thoughts, you know better and know exactly the kind of advice that would help you move forward and keep your motivation level as high as possible.
6. Learn to Embrace Change
One of the things that keep you grounded in the battle in your head is that fact that we instinctively run away from change. Decisions must be taken in life. Most of these decisions require that something changes; it could be the environment, your way of life, your modus operandi, etc. these changes scares a lot of us, making us take the most convenient route and losing big in life. The motivation to change comes from allowing yourself accept change as a normal way of life.
Yes, a lot of us say very often that ‘change is the only constant thing in life’, but the truth is, we fear it like it’s a dragon yet, it follows us like our own shadow. You must change to make progress. You must change your mind, your thoughts, your style, etc. – just accept this change, and your mind will be open to new creative ideas. Have an adventurous spirit. I see life as an adventure – a way of expression. This expression requires that I change a lot of things every so often, which actually makes it very interesting.
7. Resist Your Fears
One of the things that kill our motivation is the fear of the unknown. You want to take a decision, but suddenly you fear it will lead you to the wrong end. Yes, not all the time we will be sure about a certain decision, but the greatest exploits and accomplishments in life have been out of fear. Fear, as defined by a wise man is False Evidence Appearing Real. This means it’s actually not real.
My whole life changed when I came across that definition of fear. I had an entirely new orientation life. I began to take precise decisions and actions that have earned my quite some success over the years. If you must win the battle in your head, you must be rebellious to fear. Your motivation will gain more momentum with a fearless mind. Try it!
8. Befriend Great Minds
Birds of the same feather flock together, yea? Yes! It is the same thing with motivation. Your motivation level is largely dependent on the people around you on a daily basis. If these people are pessimists, all they’d do is to keep pulling you down to their level of thinking over and over again. But when you are in the company of optimists, great minds, they spark the fire in you and support you to do the seemingly impossible.
One is great, but two, three, or four great minds reasoning together? They are unstoppable! Get yourself some great minds; develop a mastermind to share creative ideas. Challenge yourself to better each other. Most of the A-List speakers and successful people today owe their successes to a lot of things, including a great mastermind group.
One great thing about a mastermind group is that you give each other
a task and a deadline, pushing yourselves to do what you have to do to achieve the end goal. How better can it be? It’s totally up to you.
9. Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes all you can do to get your motivation back is to take a break. Unclog your mind. Go somewhere private, alone. If possible, do not go with your phone, better still, turn off your cellular and data services and just take some time out yourself. This works wonders, trust me. I’ve had the best ideas and motivation come to me naturally by doing just that.
It suddenly feels like a huge burden is lifted off you when you’re ‘cut off from the rest of the world’. You feel free to soar. You feel very light, mind-filtered, and your mind can perform at an optimal level. It doesn’t matter how long; even if it’s for few hours, savor that moment and use it properly.
It is, however, much better to take enough time, say three days, at least for this purpose. This will give you enough time to make positive decisions, take necessary actions and you’d see the difference.
10. Involve a Third Party
It’s not all the time you go solo in fighting the battle in your head. Sometimes, you need just a single word to get your motivation back and start moving forward. Some other times, you need therapy. You see, we fight a lot of internal battles, and sometimes these battles can be stubborn. We can try all we can and it just won’t go. A therapist can help you unclog your mind and let you see where you lost your motivation; that point where it just developed wings and flew away.
This will give you pointers to how to lose your mojo so you can be more careful when such scenarios would want to repeat itself in the future. When you are armed with these pointers, you can almost always stay motivated and overcome the battle in your head. Sometimes, it takes quite some time to get to that point, but when you do, it can give the best feelings you can ever get.
Prayer is the key, yeah? Absolutely! When all is said and done, when all strategies and principles have been followed to the T and you’ve exhausted your options, pray! When you pray, you are agreeing to hand over everything to the creator who knows the situation more than you do. You communicate with Him about your fears and struggles. What happens after this is that, you will feel that inner peace and serenity. There will be an unspeakable joy, filling up the holes that failure and fears have created in your head.
You will gain back your freedom; to live again, to be happy again, to be fearless again, and to let your motivation soar again. This is what prayer can do for you. However, do not pray and start feeding your mind all over with the junks and negativities around you. Do your path and never take the grace of God for granted.
By all means, try to stay motivated, with a positive momentum every time, instead of yielding to a demoralizing attitude. It may not always be easy due to environmental and professional stress, but you owe it to yourself to always stay motivated in order to achieve your goals in life.