How to Solve Your “Lack of Motivation” Problem
I know what it feels like to have no motivation. I’m talking zero motivation.
Here’s a list of some of the laziest things I’ve done:
- I used to watch Law and Order SVU marathons for 8 to 12 hours at a time, never leaving the house.
- I drank and/or smoked weed daily for at least a full year.
- I’ve had a major porn addiction.
- I got a 0.00 GPA one semester in college and wasn’t even smart enough to drop out. I paid for the classes and didn’t go.
I’ve been there.
You feel like you have all the talent in the world to be successful, and you do, but you continue to cling to this identity that you’re not a ‘motivated person’. And each time you do try to clean up your act and fail, it further solidifies that identity.
If you have no motivation and want to change that, you have to change your identity. To change your identity, you have to adopt actions that disconfirm your old identity and gradually help you to build a new one. To adopt the right actions, find something that excites you and compels you to work hard.
From someone who’s been on both sides, I’m confident in telling you that going from having no motivation to tons of motivation is more than possible. If you follow the path I’m going to describe, you won’t even feel like the old you existed. You couldn’t fathom that you were ever that lazy at a certain point in your life.
So…what do you do? How do you fix your seemingly perpetual laziness problem?
The Only Source of Motivation I’ve Found to Ever Work
If you find something that excites you, you have a chance to turn up that motivation dial. Finding these opportunities doesn’t guarantee you anything, but they’re your closest chance of a saving grace.
When such an opportunity arises, or you actively search and find one, jump on it and ride it as long as you can.
You might try and fail, but those moments will at least remind you of what you’re capable of if you stick with them for at least a little bit.
I had many motivational waves before I found my ultimate wave of writing.
I joined some MLM pyramid scheme companies. One positive takeaway from these companies? They teach you personal development. I started reading books, listening to audiotapes, and even though I never made any money with these companies, I kept my nose clean while I was in them because I was inspired to. Ultimately, I quit, but persisting at something for a couple of months put that subconscious signal in my brain that I was capable of more.
There were semesters in school where I did very well because I found activities that excited me and stimulated my natural talents, strengths, and curiosity. I joined the student council and had my highest GPA that semester. Then, after losing the election to become Treasurer the next year, I quit.
Writing was the motivational wave, the thing that was so exciting for me, that it stuck.
The lesson here?
Riding a bunch of motivational waves and falling short counts for something. Even if you end up quitting, sustaining any level of motivation for any moderate length of time reminds you that you are capable. Then, when you find something truly aligned to your talents and strengths, you can ride the wave for a long time — maybe even for the rest of your life.
Some practical recommendations for this include:
- Say yes to everything: Go to that local event you see on a flier at a coffee shop. Download the free PDF guide from your favourite internet marketer and do what it says for once. Buy that book or course. Take any remotely positive opportunity you can.
- Focus on your talents and strengths: Don’t be afraid to lean into exactly who you are. This isn’t to say you can’t do what you want, but your odds are higher if you do what you’re pre-disposed to doing. Don’t know your talents and strengths? There’s a guide at the end of this post to help you find them.
- Remember what you’ve been excited about: If you are legitimately clinically depressed and have never had moments of excitement or joy, then you need professional help. But for everyone else, odds are, you’ve been excited about something in life. Think about these things and understand you already have some level of motivation in you.
How to Go From No Motivation to An Abundance of Motivation
The self-help game is simple — find and ride waves of motivation. Sometimes you feel particularly inspired to do something. When you feel this way, seize the opportunity. Honestly, when you don’t feel this way, you won’t do anything about your situation. That’s where motivational content comes in. It’s simply there to provide the spark, but you have to do the thing.
And the good news? You always have hope. You really do.
I’m not saying that in a pandering way at all. Your current situation could change drastically until you reach a point where your old life seems like an illusion. I share my story so much because there’s no better way to illustrate the power of self-improvement than to tell you what it’s like moving from one side to the other.
It’s crazy. I’ve been extremely lazy. Maybe lazier than you. I had everything going for me, systematically ruined my own life one bad decision at a time, found myself in a truly bad spot, and dug myself out of it. I don’t know how deep your personal definition of having “no motivation” is, but mine was pretty damn low.
I’m picturing myself right now back at the electronics factory I worked at for 12 hours a day making $10/hr — sitting on one of the tables outside in the smoking area, puffing away at menthol, savouring every minute of my break because this was the most mind-numbingly boring job I’ve ever had.
In the back of my mind, I always felt things would pop eventually, but at that time my situation looked hopeless. I dropped out and didn’t have a degree. I was still on felony probation. Most all my friends had left the college town I was in. I lived in a dorm room because they allowed you to accrue credit instead of having to pay rent right away.
This was my life.
The person whom many people look up to now, who probably think I’m perfect, exceptional, or somehow more capable than them is the same person described in the paragraphs above.
I found my passion and found personal development. Both saved my life. And both can save yours. But you have to fully let them in.
Be Patient Until it Finally Sticks
Keep reading the self-help content to get you fired up until it sticks. Watch the cheesy YouTube videos with the rocky theme music. Read all the self-help classics. Keep yourself mentally above water so you can seize an opportunity when it strikes.
Here’s the thing. What choice do you really have? I understand that self-improvement is often ineffective and that most people never reach their dreams. Still, I don’t see a logically better route than continuing to make attempts at getting it all to work, no matter how many times you mess up.
And you only have to get a few things right a few times to shift the trajectory of your life.
The more you focus on personal development, the better able you are to see opportunities. Even if what you’re doing right now doesn’t seem very effective, understand that it’s the path to a better life. Also, understand one important truth about you.
You say you have no motivation, but you’re reading an article about how to get more motivated. Look at this definition of motivation from Merriam-Webster:
“The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”
Reading a blog post about how to find more motivation fits this definition. You at least have the desire or willingness to read this article. You are doing something.
If you truly had no motivation, your lack of motivation wouldn’t bother you because…you’d have no motivation to change.
Some people, many people, have given up. I met quite a few of those people at that electronics factory. You’re not one of those people. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re not one of those people. Remember that.
I know who you are. You’re a seeker.
Seekers always have the best chance to win in life. Even if you haven’t materialized your thoughts into outcomes, you still actively think about how to live a better life. Most people just daydream. You, at least, are active enough to look for an answer.
Trust me, it’s better than nothing. It’s a start.
I don’t have a magical guarantee for you. I never make promises that if you follow my secret success recipe everything will work out. I’m certain you have hope, though. I’m certain you have a chance and that you’re much more capable than you probably know.
And I’m certain that this message will get through to a handful of you. That’s why I write. Not for the masses. I can’t save everyone. But I can help a few people save themselves.
Are you one of these people? Only time will tell.
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