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11 top performer secrets to get motivated

Procrastination is a big enemy of accomplishing your big goals. Learn how to become motivated enough to defeat it.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

When it comes to how people set goals, form new habits, change their life, it breaks down like this:

  • 100% of people want a better life.
  • 10% of people try to be better
  • 1% get what they want

This means that out of 100 people, only 1 will be motivated enough to do the hard work to get what they want out of life. This may seem exaggerated, but research shows this is not too far from the truth.

At some point along the way, people become unmotivated. Not only do they lose their motivation, but they also have no idea how to get it back. It’s because they settled into the comforting routine of life, with no clear goals, incentives, or internal motivation.

Procrastination has lead them to a life of mediocrity disguised as conformity. They live by a routine so predictable that they fear anything new or challenging.

What does someone need to be motivated?

Lack of motivation is a big problem today. The world is so easy that people don’t have any impetus to do anything more than consume. The challenge many people face is finding a compelling reason to act. Finding motivation is hard, but it’s necessary. I know the feeling very well.

I was exhausted during my boxing training and physics studies, but I found a way to motivate myself. Sometimes I lose motivation when writing or following my diet, but I know how to motivate myself and keep going.

If you want to get more out of life, it will not be easy, and you will want to quit, but you need to motivate yourself.

Why is it a challenge to get motivated?

If your basic needs are taken care of and nothing in your life pushing you to do better, you learn to accept “subpar” as “normal.” You don’t even consider it subpar. It is just life.

It’s never been easier to get stuck in a routine of endless despair. It’s easy to lose motivation and stop personal development when you have unlimited entertainment, high-speed porn, and you’re not around any motivating people.

If you want a better life than the average person, you’ve come to the right place.

Instead of watching the life of your idols, you want to have that life. And to make that happen, you need to replace your procrastination and daydreaming with motivation and action.

If you can do this, nothing will stop you.

Whenever I’ve felt like calling it quits, these are some motivational strategies that I’ve used to get my fire going and go back after what I want out of life.

Short-term survival

This is the lowest level of motivation.

This is where most people exist. It’s a purely reactionary level.

At this level, a person does only what is needed to keep a roof over their head and food in their belly.

They lack self-control, self-awareness, and ambition for something greater. It’s only survival, instant gratification, and living in the moment.

I hesitated even to list this as a type of motivation.

Then I remembered that many of us have improved our lives out of sheer necessity. An essential part of any goal-setting strategy is not just running towards something but also having something to run away from. Wanting to be a great leader is awesome, but avoiding becoming a mindless follower is just as effective.

However, some people only work to survive. They are one emergency away from financial ruin.

The only thing that motivates them is fulfilling the necessities of life. They only work when they need to.

While this is better than doing nothing, this is not enough to push you through difficulties and challenges. I

It doesn’t give you any extra energy to make yourself better.

Fear of being a failure

Fear is a double-edged sword that can paralyze or propel.

A great source of motivation is the fear you’ll be in the same place one year from now that you are today.

The average person lives for about 80 years. Each moment spent in mediocrity is a moment you can never be great. Every second spent in a situation you don’t like is a second lost enjoying one that you do.

Imagine talking to yourself 10 years ago and explaining your current situation. Will you be excited about the conversation or will you dread it? Will you have an inspiring story or a worthless excuse?

If you know that you ain’t shit now, start working to be *the* shit in the future; let that fear drive you.

Begin living in a way that will make you excited to hear from your future self.

Proving people wrong

revenge is negative but it gets you motivated
Success is the best revenge and getting that revenge is the best way to get motivated.

Success is the best revenge.

There are people who don’t think you can do anything and that you will amount to nothing. These are the people who think that you AND your dreams are stupid, unrealistic, and likely to fail.

They think you’re a joke and your plans are a game.

Proving these people wrong is powerful and liberating. When people pass on you, reject you, or view you as less than capable, your success reminds them of the mistake they made.

Tom Brady has haters because he plays the game well
Tom Brady has a lot of haters. He also has a lot of Super Bowl Rings

Tom Brady, the most accomplished quarterback of all time, never forgets about all of the NFL teams who passed on him. He may receive a lot of hate from fans around the league, but he doesn’t let it stop him from winning Super Bowls and MVP awards. He’s even gone as far as naming his production company “No. 199 Studios” to remind everyone that 198 players and 6 quarterbacks were picked before him in the 2000 NFL Draft, none of which have had even half the career he’s had.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but it’s also a hot fuel that can drive to success. All successful people know the motivating power of proving people wrong.

Chasing the love of your life

What drove Gatsby to accumulate great wealth, Troy to kidnap Helen, and Menelaus to start a Ten Year War to get her back? A girl.

Unrequited love can be a powerful motivating force.

People have gained a skill or changed dramatically in an attempt to impress someone special. Some may argue that it’s not good for their well-being, but none can argue that trying to make a person fall in love with you can inspire a superhuman level of drive and resolve.

Become the best version of yourself to attract the people you want. The magic is that self-improvement leads to confidence, which attracts people with common values or shared goals.


Some people will do anything to look good.

Don’t feel bad if you’re motivated by attention and flashy objects. Use it as motivation to work your ass off so that you can live a life of extravagance.

If you have opulent taste you need to get off your ass and get creative to earn a commensurate income. You need to be able to afford good food to be in shape.

Once you’re in shape, you need the best fitting clothes and a fly set of shoes.

Vanity isn’t cheap and can be destructive, but you have to upgrade your work ethic to upgrade your lifestyle. This is never a bad thing


Most people see a vacation as a once or twice a year activity.

Even if you don’t currently want to travel anywhere, it can motivate you to acquire more resources so that you can make it a regular part of your life.

The type of trip you take doesn’t need to be expensive and you don’t need to go far. You just need to experience a different location.

It’s one thing to see a picture of the beach or visit the train station. It’s another experience entirely to feel the sand beneath your feet or take a train across the country.

If you can’t justify the time or expense of a longer adventure, commit to a short trip to an unfamiliar location at least 50 miles from home.

Anyone can make this work.

Even something as small as going to a new restaurant can make you curious and motivated to see more of the world. It can also make you better at solving problems, which contributes to your confidence and motivation.

Research shows that travel is also excellent for your mental health, making you more creative, open-minded, and resilient. This leads to mental strength.

It’s easier to feel motivated when you feel capable of taking on the world

Giving back

If you want to be generous, you have to accumulate the means to be generous first.

Most people are content to make a few $20 donations to their favorite cause. However, you can do more. If you want to do more, you need to have more, and knowing this can make you more motivated.

You will work harder to earn more money. More money allows you to make bigger donations. Or it will push you to build a bigger network so that you can have more effective fundraisers.

You will produce work to get your time back to do what’s important to you without relying on the charity of others. The positive emotions you get from giving back will trump any exhaustion felt while working to accumulate resources.

If you want to be generous, you have to first be motivated.


Confidence makes you more motivated.

Because when you’re confident, you can do more.

Think of a runner. As he goes from running 10 miles per week to 30 miles per week, he becomes more confident in his ability. This confidence makes him more motivated to run.

We all want to be good at something.

This drive can make you a superstar but at the very least, it can be harnessed to give you control over your life.


There are people who want to be more than competent.

Exceptionalism focuses on being better than those around you. It is motivation via the fear of being average.

Most people just go through the motions in life. Few strive to be the best at whatever they do. If you can harness this need to stand out, then you’ll have no problem outworking those around you.

In your quest to demonstrate your superiority, you’ll inevitably do great things that will improve your life.

Adrenaline rush

This is my least favorite way to get motivated. However, I must admit that some people do great things because they’re chasing a rush.

The problem is that if you aren’t disciplined, you will chase the rush anywhere you can. This results in drugs, thrill-seeking, and questionable choices.

Chasing an adrenaline rush can range from a basic workout to high-stakes gambling.

Some people don’t know how to slow down because to them, there are only two modes: sprinting and standing still.


This is the purest motivation.

This is the place of obsession and perfectionism. You probably won’t start here but all paths converge at this point. You will move past vanity, revenge, or exceptionalism. You will simply be driven to master your craft.

Once you commit to mastery, you’re on a never-ending journey.

This journey may not consume your every waking moment, but it’s what you build your life around. Very often, we refer to what we seek to master as our “life’s purpose”.

Kobe Bryant–the 18 NBA All-Star, 5 time NBA champion, and 2x Olympic Gold Medalist–once said:

“If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice… there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that.”

Anyone is capable of mastering their craft, but it takes sacrifice. This quest for mastery will drive you to overcome the challenges you face en route to this mastery.

Recap of what will get you motivated

  1. Necessity
  2. Fear
  3. Revenge
  4. Unrequited Love
  5. Vanity
  6. Travel
  7. Altruism
  8. Confidence
  9. Exceptionalism
  10. Adrenaline Rush
  11. Mastery

One or a combination of a few of these motives can get you the life you want. If not, then stop complaining and get comfortable living a life of mediocrity. It’s not so bad. Life is easy.

That’s why you aren’t motivated in the first place.

Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.