By popular demand in the comment section below our Study Tips Video, we created these 14 tips of how to find motivation in order to get going. This video is not so much a selection of scientific findings, but a combination of common sense, quotes of big thinkers, and some studies that show how priming or reminding ourself of our values can impact our motivation and performance.
“There is no elevator to success, you gotta take the stairs - Zig Ziglar”. If you find meaning in quotes like this, put them right up where you will see them every day. Here are another 13 tips to get started.
Ask Why! If we don't know why we are doing it, then we don't see a point. Whether we want to make a career, change the world, or prove some idiots wrong, these are all great reasons to get going. Simon Sinek, spoke of the Golden Circle. First ask why, then how and what. If you don't have a purpose right now, pick up a skill that helps you once you do. Like reading fast, learning how to learn or public speaking.
Know about the The Dunning Kruger Effect. The theory describes that many of us are too confident when we learn something new. Once we actually start learning, we realize how difficult it is and how incompetent we are. As a result, our motivation drops and many of us quit. The trick to success is to keep going anyways. Once we master an area, our confidence returns.
Look For Feedback! Marathon runners know that encouraging spectators can make a massive difference on the last meters. Feedback is a strong force so deliberately seek it. One way, just ask for advice. Most people love giving it, it makes them feel smart. Entrepreneurs who look for investors say “Ask for money, you'll get advice. Ask for advice, you'll get money.” Whatever they get, it's valuable feedback.
Articulate Your Values! In one experiment, at the beginning of the new school year, 7th graders had to pick a personal value, such as being good at school, making friends or music. Then they spent 15 minutes writing down why this mattered to them. To remind them, the process was repeated every 2-4 month. Within two years, most weak students saw a 10% increase in all grades. A year later, the experiment was repeated. This time, the value “being good at school” was not even available. The surprising truth. Again, all grades got better. Remind yourself what you really care about.
Get A Mentor! Look for charismatic people you can look up to. By following a mentor, we can find inspiration, get new ideas, maybe even find purpose. You might be able to find them around the block. For a list of our favorite mentors, check our website, playlists or the descriptions below.
Don’t make excuses! To see if you do, Bernard Roth from the Stanford's d-school teaches to reframe problems by asking yourself this particular question: “What would it do for me if I had already solved the problem?" For example, if you think you're fat, then ask yourself “What would it do for me if I would lose weight?” If the answer is that you would ask that cute girl out on a date, then forget about losing weight and ask her out on a date! Your belly has nothing to do with it. Don’t make excuses.
Prime Yourself! Canadian researchers observed that salesmen in call centers can be 50% more successful when they see pictures that represent success while making their calls. The effect is called priming. Most of us become smarter in a library, because we tend to be more thoughtful. And many feel more successful when we dress well, stand up straight with our arms out and our heads held high.
Make Bets. Make your life a game and take bets. Groups of pretty people do that all over the world to lose weight. The one who can’t lose 2 kilos in 6 weeks has to buy cupcakes for everyone. But it also works for reading books or challenging yourself to asking a girl out for dinner.
Track Your Record! Records show us where we were coming from. They indicate progress. Good music teachers record the student's first lesson. One year later they show their students what they recorded. Most are amazed how much they progressed. As Nelson Mandela said “it always seems impossible until it’s done”.
Start Small! When we put effort into something and we succeed, we are motivated to continue. It's a self-reinforcing circle. If we aim too high right at the beginning, it’s likely that we will fail. This can lead to frustration and we might stop before we even get started. Want to learn how to sing? Start with 5 minutes every morning.
Surround Yourself with Positive People! Author Jim Rohn wrote that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. To get motivated spend time with positive people that have a growth mindset. Negative people often have a problem for every solution.
Establish Discipline. As motivation can come and go, discipline will stay and watch you like a hawk. One way to get disciplined is to set a fixed time to do something and then make sure you always do it no matter what. For example: Work out every morning for 20 minutes right before breakfast. Over time it will become a habit and you don't even need motivation.
Get Context! Put what you do in a meaningful context. If you need to study math, but your passion is sports and cooking, analyze your favorite football player. Find out how many kilometer he runs and how many goals he scores on average. Then calculate calories and make a healthy meal that would give him enough energy to score 2 goals in one game.
Help Others! If they succeed, you get positive energy back. One trick to motivate others is to use purpose. Explain why things matter. Paint a picture of their possible future. Then engage them to take responsibility. Last, give them the right tools and feedback, to help them succeed. Leadership coach Steve Radcliffe calls it “future, engage, deliver”.
If you have to do something important or make a big decision, switch off YouTube right now and do it. As internet activist Aaron Swartz asked: "What is the most important thing you could be working on right now? And if you aren’t working on that, why aren’t you?"
Our Favorite Mentors: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTp9Bu0cTGUyYwGd78WiTLBg3o9Nq1wDj
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