How to get motivated — a top performer’s secrets

Everyone has a good idea. Less than 10% will attempt to make it a reality. Of those, only 10% will see a project through to the point where it brings a return on the investment of time/money. The solution is to get motivated.

By Ed Latimore Last modified

Everyone has a good idea. Less than 10% will attempt to make it a reality. Of those, only 10% will see a project through to the point where it brings a return on the investment of time/money. The solution is to get motivated.

This means only 1% of people will ever finish what they started. I don’t have hard data to back these numbers up. I chose them because they feel intuitively correct.

The challenge many people face is discovering a compelling reason to act. They don’t have the motivation to do the work instead of daydreaming about the reward.

If you have the motivation, nothing can stop you. This list is not exhaustive but it is thorough. Maybe you have a method to add to my list.

11 Powerful Sources Of Motivation To Get Your Ass Moving When You Feel Like Shit

1. Necessity

Past due notices work on some people to get motivated

This is the lowest level of motivation. Almost every adult exists at this stage. It is 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.

There is no ambition for something greater. There is no dream for more. It’s only survival, instant gratification, and reactionary living.

I hesitated to list this as a type of motivation. Then I remembered that many of us have improved our lives out of sheer necessity. On the other hand, there are people who work just to exist and are one tragedy away from being ruined.

Their driving forces are the basic necessities of life. They only work when their source of income is threatened. While this level is above zero motivation, we all aim to be above this point.

2. Fear to Get Motivated

This double-edged sword can paralyze or propel. A great source of motivation is the fear that you’ll be in the exact same place one year from now that you are today.

The average person lives about 80 years. Each moment spent in mediocrity is a moment lost in greatness. 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 to him his 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 it’s the latter, let that fear drive you. Begin living in a way that will make you excited to hear from your future self as he tells you about all the things he accomplished.

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3. Revenge

Revenge on a backstabber works to get motivated

The best revenge is success. 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.

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.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but it’s also a hot fuel that can drive to success.

4. Unrequited Love

What drove Gatsby to accumulate great wealth? It was a girl that he wanted to make fall in love with him.

What drove Paris of Troy to kidnap Helen and Menalaus to start a Ten Year War to get her back? A girl they wanted so badly that thousands of men died.

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 healthy, but none can argue that trying to make a certain 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 leads to attraction to people with common values or shared goals. Your original person may or may not match your improved idea of the perfect partner

5. Vanity

Wanting to look better than everyone works to get motivated

Some people are so worried about how others perceive them that they’ll 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, then 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, a fly set of shoes.

Vanity isn’t cheap and it can be destructive, but to upgrade your lifestyle you have to upgrade your work ethic.

6. Travel to Get Motivated

Most people see vacation as a once or twice a year activity, but travel, itself,  can motivate you to make it a regular part of your life. The trip doesn’t need to be expensive or 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. Force yourself to try a different kind of restaurant or experience a local tradition.

7. Altruism

If you want to donate resources, you’ll need to accumulate them first. Most people are content to make a few $20 donations to their favorite cause. You can harness this drive to accomplish great things.

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.

8. Confidence to Get Motivated

Confidence comes with the ability to do certain things. It also comes with the ability to take care of one’s self. The desire to be competent at something is great for getting motivated.

The drive has nothing to do with how the world perceives the individual. It’s all about how the individual perceives himself.

Everyone wants to feel capable at something. For some it’s a unique skill that few possess. For others, it’s simply the ability to pay bills on time and cook a meal.

The drive to feel competent at something has the potential to make us superstars. At the very least, it gives us control over our lives.

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9. Competitive Exceptionalism

Wanting to be the best works to get motivated

There are people who seek more than competence. Vanity is concerned with the superficial. Confidence is belief in one’s ability to make it through life unassisted.

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

Most people 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 out-working those around you.

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

10. 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 can range from  a basic workout to get the endorphins flowing to high stakes competition. Some people don’t know how to slow down because to them, there are only two modes: Death and all out.

11. Mastery

This is the purest motivation. This is the place of obsession and perfectionism. You 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 are on a never-ending journey. The 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”.

Mastery is never the beginning goal. It is only when one motive has taken you as far as it can that mastery moves in to carry you to the finish line.

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.

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