Lacking motivation? Brainwash yourself![lead]”It must be amazing not having to get up early in the mornings,” they say. “So basically you can do what you want all day?” they ask.[/lead]
Most of my friends are not entrepreneurs. Well, most people are not entrepreneurs. And while my lifestyle sounds appealing to many people I meet, I’d argue: most people wouldn’t enjoy being entrepreneurs.
But it’s not always a walk in the park. The thing I have to work a lot on is motivation. I’d like to tackle that topic in the following lines, looking at some different aspects of it, and trying to see what we can do about it.
Recipe for success
So you might have figured out what your recipe to success (whatever that means to you personally) is, kind of, about. Reading books, enhancing productivity, developing a clear state of mind, actively helping people, doing great work… are things from my list.
But here’s the catch: you have to apply this recipe. Every single day. This is, for me, less fun than coming up with it. Oh I do like coming up with new things, but applying this concept from a few months back… BORING!
So motivation is crucial for going through repetitive phases. It’s also crucial to getting you out of bed, because hey, you could sleep long!
When working on my “recipe for success” I added one important point: working on my motivation every day. First thing. For keeping a motivated mindset, which – ideally – makes everything easier and more joyful.
The internet is full of great resources for building motivation – just watch out not to get distracted by cat pictures. Here are some of them (and more):
The getmotivated subreddit is created exactly for that purpose! It doesn’t have an entrepreneurial focus per se, but you can modify most of the messages even if they don’t. Some posts are a bit fitness focused, but I don’t mind that because it’s also a good thing being motivated for.
Obvious! But also here’s it’s the fine art of not getting lost in kittens, and actively looking for the videos that help us reach our goals.
Hint #1: it might not be in your countries’ most watched videos.
Hint #2: good keywords are “motivational video” and “entrepreneur motivation”.
A word of warning before giving you concrete examples: Don’t approach those videos too intellectually. They are supposed to be a bit cheesy, because that’s how the subconscious mind works. Cheesy is that kind of information that can sink in really deep. (Re)Read Napolean Hill’s “Think and Become Rich” chapters 2 and 3 for more on that (or another one of the many authors who have come to the same conclusion). For now: don’t judge, just observe.
For getting you started, here are some channels:
My absolute favorite is this affirmation video from “The Secret”. It works incredibly well:
Fasten seatbelts – we’re gonna make the leap from YouTube to ancient knowledge within one paragraph here: Your body posture can be used for generating certain mindsets.
Yes, on the one hand it can be used to read ones’ current mindset and emotions, for example: an unhappy person won’t smile. But on the other hand it is proven that smiling, even if you’re unhappy, improves your mood. You can see it as a ‘fake it till you make it’ approach.
Amy Cuddy brought the topic back up at TED Global 2012 with her great talk “Your body language shapes who you are“:
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
She gives a good example of how to improve motivation via actively changing body language: make the winner pose. Yes, the one that a runner makes when he crosses the finish line. Raise your arms. Stay there. And especially: feel like a winner.
And guess what, humanity found out about this method before the word neuroscience was invented. Do you really think the Indian Yogis were primarily interested in stretching their hamstrings? While that’s a nice side effect, but traditional Yoga’s purpose is another one. It’s about changing one’s mind and experiencing all kinds of mindsets. Expressed in a very metaphorical language, every Asana (= body posture) has the goal of reaching one certain mindset. Take the warrior pose for example: you are supposed to feel like a warrior while being in there. Feeling like a warrior 3 minutes every day does add up!
Nutshellized: Body posture is not only a passive reflection of one’s mood. Take active responsibility over it and actively change your mindset when needed. Good for motivation: winner pose (raise arms), warrior poses from Yoga. Meditation postures for increasing focus.
All of those methods (if you can call surfing on reddit a method) have one thing in common: feeding positive and beneficial thoughts and emotions to your conscious and subconscious mind.
But wait: We are actively washing our brains 24/7, or at least during the waking hours. It’s a lot about removing the dirt from those hours and replacing it with things that align with our goals. This requires activeness. Passive consumption of media pollutes us with ads and kittens. Chose what you consume and do it according to your goals.
Increasing motivation is one of the easy ones.