This morning (a Saturday), I woke up around 6am and hopped on my bike to take a lap around the Back Bay area, which is a beautiful lake-like bay that I just discovered a couple of weeks ago right by my house.
As per usual for my morning rides, I popped in my headphones and scrolled through my podcast list to choose a title that caught my eye. The past week, I’ve been listening to either The MFCEO Project by Andy Frisella and his cohosts Vaughn and Tyler or The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes. I absolutely love the former podcast because you can feel 100% that the information given is valuable, and that the people giving it are authentic. The latter is great as well because Lewis brings on pretty cool guests.
The point is, my four AM bike rides this week means that I have listened to four different podcasts, all with varying messages and main points. The one common factor, however, is that starting off the morning listening to people who want to make a difference in the world and who are very successful has motivated me each day to start getting my shit together again, and to focus on the different areas of my life that I want to improve.
During the past couple of months, I haven’t been as motivated as I have been in the past to get working on all of my side goals that I have for myself. My real estate books have fallen by the wayside, snacks have made their way into my tummy way more often than I’d like, and my book ideas have remained just that….ideas.
This is partly due to the fact that I am starting out a new school year with a heavier workload than I’ve ever had before, but it’s also because I have neglected to feed my mind with inspiration in order to keep my vision at the forefront of my mind.
Successful people always say that you will not be motivated 100% of the time, and you have to be able to simply put in the work anyway regardless of how fired up you feel in the given moment. I completely agree. However, I think that the hard work will eventually peter out without periodic bursts of oxygen to get the fire roaring again.
However, there sometimes is this idea that inspiration is something that must hit you like a strike of lightening, and it will come out of the middle of nowhere and BAM, you will be triggered to throw yourself wholeheartedly into your passions once again.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes inspiration DOES happen like that. However, most of the time those who get re-inspired get that way because they are constantly seeking out people, stories, and actions that motivate them. And it is only when they can’t find that outside galvanization that their work ethic kicks in, and they do what they need to do anyways.
So how do people find such motivation on a regular basis?
Follow people who have done the work. While social media sometimes gets a bad rap for being a time suck and perpetuating images that simply aren’t true, there are people who put out a lot of really valuable content and give inside looks into their day to day routines that lay out the blueprint for how to emulate their success.
If your feed is filled with people who are constantly hustling and improving themselves, you cannot help but feel obligated to catch up. If your feed is filled with memes glorifying laziness and constant partying, you will feel pretty great about where you’re sitting and feel completely unmotivated to change.
Expand your knowledge. There are so many smart, life-experienced people who have taken the time to write about what they know to be true. We can cut our learning curve by quite a bit if we take the time to take advantage of each perspective of life that has been offered to us. There is nothing more motivating that reading the life story of someone who has overcome obstacle after obstacle and finally came out on top (and stayed there).
Even if you read something that you don’t agree with or that don’t resonate with you, you can still use the pieces that do make sense to fuel your fire or to add more to the picture of your life and where you want to go. Gathering information that you end up discarding is not a waste of time if it solidifies the direction that you’re going.
Motivation doesn’t have to come in a glittery, splashy package; sometimes it simply is a phrase that you come across or a small conversation with a friend, or a quote that grabs your attention as you scroll through Instagram. But the thing about inspiration is that it is not a constant, and it is not the end game.
No one wants to tell stories about how they spent their life being motivated. You need to use that impetus that you find on a daily or weekly basis to actually work toward something tangible. A spark is necessary for the flame to start, but the labor of cutting down the trees, hauling them to the fire pit, and physically putting them in the ring is what creates the fire that is usable.
The bottom line is inspiration isn’t necessary to do hard work, but the hard work comes much more quickly and easily if you have the inspiration. Seek out ways to become motivated, but then don’t let that motivation go to waste. A horse that is spurred to run but is chained to a wheel will only be trotting in circles. Don’t place inspiration above putting in the work, but recognize the advantages of the extra fuel. What you focus on grows, so make sure that spotlight is shining on the right things.
In other words, set your intention, seek out those above you, and go get inspired to actually do the work!