You Don’t Need Infinite Motivation
If you had infinite motivation, what would you do?
Imagine the desire to procrastinate was expunged from your existence. You don’t dawdle — ever. There is zero friction between you and your next task. Every morning, you wake up, and, like a perfectly functioning robot, you do and do and do.
How would you use this superpower? From your current, a little less motivated perspective, you might think:
“Well first, I’d do the obvious: Get everything in order. Take out the trash, clean the apartment, and so on.”
Okay. Good start!
“Then, I’ll have a nice shower, dress impeccably, and make myself feel like a star.”
Nice! Go for it!
“Next, I’ll do my taxes, pay my bills, and obliterate that annoying adulting checklist I used to procrastinate on for months.”
“With my home life finally in order, I’ll get to work. I’ll finish Billy’s report, get my inbox to zero, and complete every single one of my targets for the year.”
Alright, now we’re talking!
“Since I did it all much faster than they expected, I’ll ask my bosses for a raise, and if they don’t give me one, I’ll quit and find a better, higher-paying job.”
Spot on. You deserve it.
“Heck, maybe I’ll just go straight into sales. I’ll sell and sell and sell — and rake in those sweet commissions by the truckload. In a few months, I’ll be rich!”
Oh, so now we’re hacking the system? Genius!
“With my initial pile of cash, I’ll teach myself how to day-trade. I’ll get even richer. I can probably retire in a year!”
Amazing, tiger! Sounds like a plan. And then?
“And then, I’ll write my novel!”
“Yeah, my novel! You know, the one with the science and the fiction. The rockets, and the gremlins. The thing I’ve been wanting to do all these years!”
I had no idea you like rockets.
“What?! Who doesn’t like rockets? Anyway, no time. I finally have a plan to do this thing. Let’s start with the trash…”
Your problem is not motivation. Your problem is you’re delaying your dreams.
If you had infinite motivation, all you’d do is speed up the bullshit train plowing through a sea of irrelevant distractions.
You’d have more energy, but you’d still waste the majority of it on unimportant goals. You’d take great care to do everything “in the right order.” You wouldn’t feel time’s relentless pressure as much, but its tradeoffs would still be there — and you’d still prioritize the wrong ends.
No matter how much we achieve on any given day, tomorrow, yesterday’s clean slate will be dirty once more. Your armpits will smell again. Your condo will need Marie again. Your bills will pile up again. This is a cycle that never ends, not because it’s vicious, but because incompleteness is part of life.
The answer is not to waste another eight hours trying to get your ducks in a row; it is to realize that unless you get out of it, the hamster wheel won’t stop spinning. The good news is you can step off the treadmill any time — and the best time is right now.
You don’t need infinite motivation. You need to write the first page of your novel — today. Not tomorrow. Not after you’ve neatly calculated your finances. Not after you’ve retired. Today. Amidst all the chaos and imperfection. In spite of it. Against it. As a powerful act of defiance.
You can do that, you know? Sit in the eye of the storm. Be stubborn about your dream. In fact, upholding it against the world’s torrent of distractions is the only way. Cast a bubble spell around yourself, hold on tight, and then wait for the tsunami to hit.
Don’t just accept the chaos. Welcome it. Relish it. See it for the donor of opportunity it really is. Take back an hour. Carve it out of the insanity. Schedule your dream. Protect it. And tomorrow, you’ll do it all again.
There is no secret elixir that provides infinite motivation, and if there was, it wouldn’t change a thing: Whatever inspiration we have, we mustn’t waste a pinch of it. Pour it all into your life’s purpose. Every last drop.
Don’t delay it. Don’t delay your dreams. Start small, but start today. After all, it takes a whole lot of fuel to get gremlins into space.