Over 50% of the people who subscribe to my emails told me that they are looking for a new job so that they can earn more money, they can have more balance in their careers, and they can keep learning and challenging themselves. And 46% of them actually wanted to act right away.
However, when asked, over 50% of them told me that time and their motivation was a big struggle when they wanted to act.
I get it. I was this person at one time. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I had been wanting to start a business for over a course of five to seven years without really starting one. I used to beat myself up every single day as to I'm not motivated enough.
Motivation is this really interesting thing that people talk about, which is really the tip of the iceberg. What I have personally found is that motivation doesn't work, and motivation is almost the code word for a lot of things that are happening under the surface, under that tip of the iceberg.
Coming back to motivation, like I said, for the longest time I wanted to start a side hustle, but motivation was simply not enough, and here's why:
1. The first reason is that motivation is really fleeting.
How many of us have felt that sudden hit of motivation where we wanted to get healthy, get a new job, start a business. But ultimately, when life got in the way, our motivation tanked and we never really took action. And we still remain stuck at that job or with fitness or not really starting a business.
So, motivation is really fleeting and it's fleeting for you, it's fleeting for me. So motivation is definitely, in my personal opinion, not the answer to how you get things moving in your life.
2. Motivation is not really specific.
This means that yes, you could be motivated in the moment to say, I want a new job, or I want to become fit, or I want to start a business. However, motivation doesn't tell you what job, what sort of fitness level or what business you want to start. And action really is dependent on specificity.
Unless you know what job you want, how do you even go about applying for that job?
Unless you know what sort of body type you want, how do you even know what workouts to do?
If you don't know what business you want to start, what business do you start?
Motivation doesn't give you any of that and motivation doesn't give you a plan from getting from A to B, especially because you don't even know what B is, what that final destination looks like.
3. Motivation is not enough to overcome obstacles.
For example, say you identified that actually you want a data science job, or you want a job in finance, or you want to be a product manager, but you realize that you don't have the skills to make you a data scientist. You don't have the skills to get you into finance. You don't have the skills to get you a product management job. Then how do you go about applying to these jobs?
Motivation is simply not enough. You need to have the skills based on which you'll get that job. You'll get to that fitness level, or you'll start that business.
4. Motivation is not a substitute for hard work.
I think this is what gets in the way for people most of the times because we can only envision this big goal of, I want to start a business, or I want a new job in a different industry, or I want to be fit, and that is all that they can think about. But that requires a tremendous amount of hard work and when you put hard work into context, you realize that there's so much that I need to do to ultimately get to that end goal, which will give me some amount of dopamine rush and then it'll all fall flat. Which is, in my personal opinion, why we don't get started.
Like the author Teresa Amabile says, "The more we break down our ultimate goal into small, tangible goals, the better of we are in actually staying motivated through the journey."
5. Motivation doesn't cure fear.
A lot of us are actually afraid to fail and afraid to succeed. I was talking to one of my teammates the other day and she said that, if she gets a 9.5 instead of a 9.8, she will consider that a failure and that will be an embarrassment.
I found that really interesting because that is a very common fear that all of us encounter in terms of fear of failure. What will they think? What will he say? What will she say? What will society say? And we get the voices of society so loud in our head that we start really getting afraid of taking action because even if we took action and failed, What will people say? What will they think?
Then there's another sort of fear, which is the fear of success. This is what stopped me for the longest time, to put myself on YouTube, on the internet as a whole. I thought, well, there will be, people that I don't know who will be watching my videos, who will be passing judgments on me and whose lives I might not be able to change, and I will lose my personal freedom. If I walk out on the street, maybe someone will notice me.
In reality, though, this has been completely the opposite. Obviously, I have gotten some success on the internet, but it's nowhere close to say someone like Mr. Beast or Ali Abdal or one of my personal favorite YouTubers, Patrick Boyle.
And here's the truth, I never really wanted to be famous. I never really wanted to show my face. For an introvert like me to show my face on camera, to put it out on YouTube, to put it out on the internet, it's been really difficult. I am doing this because I really want to help people. Actually, this community has been really kind, really generous with all your feedback.
I have never been really spotted on the street. So, I don't know why I was so afraid. But what I do know is that, this community is really amazing.
6. The next reason I believe that motivation is not enough is because motivation has nothing to do with opportunity.
Being in the right place at the right time - motivation cannot help you with that. There's a tremendously huge amount of luck involved in all of our successes and it would be silly for me to discount the part that luck plays in our success.
I personally am a lot more privileged than so many people because I was simply born to the right set of parents who really valued education, who really invested in my growth, who presented the right opportunities to me that I could really select and choose from.
A lot of people across the world don't have the opportunities that I have had through my life. If I just say that all of my success is because of hard work, that would just be wrong. However, I have also done a lot of hard work to find those right opportunities myself. I have also done a lot of hard work to be present in the right rooms, be present when the right opportunities came along.
One of my mentors once told me that "luck is when preparation meets opportunity."
So, how do you prepare yourself for the opportunities that will present themselves along the way?
For example, if you want a data science job, how do you make sure that when that dream data science job comes along,
you have the right skills and the right narrative to apply for that job?
So that you become that compelling candidate that the hiring manager really wants to hire?
So, if motivation is not enough, what is? How do you go about circumventing motivation? Here's what I have found useful in my life.
1. The first one is like Teresa Ambile says, focus on the small tangible goals along the path and set clear goals that you can then act upon.
Even if your fitness journey means that you get out of the house for 10 minutes on the first day, consider it a win. Give yourself a pat on the back, and celebrate that success.
2. Which brings me to the second one, which is really celebrating your success.
As you might be aware, I'm big on rewards. I never used to be this kind of person. Only after I started realizing how rewards work, I started really tuning into rewards because that is how you build habits, and habits are the one way to actually circumvent motivation.
3. You work on that fleeting moment of motivation to build a habit, to build a system.
Let us say, I want to find a job, I need a CV. Once I have my CV, I will take myself out for a nice dinner, or I'll go climbing with friends, or I'll go for a swim, or whatever it is that makes your life happier and more joyful. Keep celebrating those accomplishments along the way because the more we look back on how far we have come, the more motivated we get to go forward
4. the next one is to focus on your mindset.
We do have to, however, understand that mindset is not a substitute for skills. If you want that new job, you have to have the skills for that new job. However, once you are at the top, your mindset is what will differentiate you. This is why the top 1% of athletes all have performance coaches. This is why the top executives across the corporate world have executive coaches.
Focusing on mindset without the skills and the hard work is definitely not what will take you from zero to one. However, your mindset is what will ultimately determine how successful you'll be when you are in that group of elite professionals or elite executives or elite business people.