Motivation is something I wish showed up every morning, like clockwork. But the truth is that it sometimes takes an extended holiday.
According to Forbes, wanting to perform well is linked with the desire for good times (and we all like those good times).
And a study by Queens University found those who had an ambition for “legacy”— the goal to make a mark, also had a significant drive for “leisure”—a desire to enjoy all life has to offer.
That sounds like wanting it all. And what’s not to love about that?
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Why it matters
Motivation and performance do matter. It’s the difference between something happening and nothing. Hiding under the doona is comfortable, but it’s for low achievers.
I’m also sorry to say that unending youthful, energetic enthusiasm will not happen every morning, and there will be famines of joyful passion that will plague your days. Let’s say that perfect motivation is a pipe dream.
But if you can’t find your mojo, you will sign up for someone else’s agenda. You will be industrial cannon fodder for the corporate captains who will chain you to the nine-to-five and the commuting corridor. Sending you forth to the front lines where they will watch your success or failure with detached bemusement.
They hope you will make them rich.
But if you stumble then you will be shown the door.
So how do you get motivated and escape the powerful earth gravity to find your own place in space?
How do you continue to tap into the deep vein of inspirational drive?
I wish I could tell you that you could take a pill every morning to fix that. But here are some solutions that others have outlined.
1. The 4 Hour Work Week – Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
I read this book by Tim Ferriss when the future promise of the web was starting to become very real as social media took hold. Twitter was starting and Facebook was gaining traction.
The book promises to take you from the drudgery of the day job to the dream of doing what you love doing and monetizing it on the web.
This book inspired me to start my side hustle and blog.
2. Flourish: A Visionary Understanding of Happiness and Well Being
This book by Martin Seligman outlines a model for wellbeing that he has distilled from his insights as a psychologist.
He poses the question “What is it that allows you to flourish?” He then proceeds to provide his answers.
The structure is built around the acronym “PERMA” that he sees as the 5 pillars for a life of profound fulfillment.
Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.
This was a book I didn’t want to put down and its pillars resonated with how I have experienced my life’s journey.
3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
I first read this book 25 years ago. It was recently updated so I decided to re-read it. It was a delight to revisit the insights and discover again what a remarkable book it is.
4. Now, Discover Your Strengths
The biggest challenge for all of us is discovering what our mission on this planet is. That is often the journey of a lifetime.
It also means working on your strengths but many of us don’t know what they are.
Or how to find them.
Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them.
Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected.
Marcus Buckingham, who was also coauthor of the national bestseller First, Break All the Rules, and Donald O. Clifton, have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance.
At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths.
This book comes with free access to the web based “Strength Finder Test” that you will find very revealing. I know I did.
5. Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day
Ken Mogi is a neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster based in Tokyo and in this book introduces the five pillars of ikigai. Ikigai is part of Japanese culture, and helps you make the most of each day to become your most authentic self.
The 5 pillars of Ikigai:
1. Start small and focus on the details.
2. Release yourself and accept who you are.
3. Harmony and sustainability – Learn to work with and rely on others.
4. Embrace the joy of little things and saviour the sensory pleasure of your everyday experiences.
5. Be in the here and now and find your flow.
Weaving together insights from Japanese history, philosophy, and modern culture he provides a book that will make you think and help you learn to embrace the simple and small things in life.
6. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
This book is by Ken Robinson and I have read it more than once. As I was a teacher in a previous life, it resonated with me. It provides an inspiring insight into how finding your passion and combining it with your innate abilities can take a life from drudgery to a masterpiece.
He calls this intersection “The Element”. Included are examples from famous people that have found the element such as Paul McCartney, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington.
Want to learn some of the secrets to take your life to another level? Then read it.
Wrapping it up
Discovering your purpose and why you are here on the planet is at the essence and heart of motivation.
Find that and the magic does happen.