“How do people stay motivated?”
It’s a question I frequently ask myself or, more accurately, a question I frequently ask Google. Every now and then, I find myself falling down a rabbit hole of articles about motivation from which I cannot escape. I read stories about successful entrepreneurs who manage to accomplish so many things on a daily basis that it leaves me flabbergasted. How are they able to seemingly do it all without feeling burnt out all the time?
If you type the words “motivational tips” into your search engine, lot of results will appear. You’ll get dozens of articles telling you to keep track of your progress, make goals, and find someone to hold you accountable. While they may be advertised as universal, we all know this probably isn’t the case.
Motivation is not a one-size-fits-all feeling. Not every motivational technique works for every individual person. Some people perform better to the beat of their favorite music while others (me) need absolute silence in order to string two sentences together. (Seriously, I am constantly amazed by those of you who manage to accomplish work in a busy Starbucks. If there’s more than a handful of people in mine, I’ve got to take my coffee to-go.)
Anyway, we all use different methods to get things done–that isn’t new or, frankly, compelling information. However, what I find fascinating is the thing that unifies us in our quest for motivation. It isn’t a tactic or strategy, but instead the reason we adopt them in the first place.
What we’re in search for when we look up motivational techniques is a rush of inspiration. It’s that feeling you get when you feel so passionate about what you’re doing that you can’t seem to type fast enough. Your pulse races, and your eyes widen with excitement. In that moment, nothing seems more incredible or worthwhile than what you’re working on.
It’s a feeling that has its ups and downs and gradually becomes more difficult to achieve. When you first start out on a project, the feeling seems to be in endless supply. Creativity feels boundless, and you can’t imagine slowing down for anything. But as time goes on, the feeling slowly begins to fade. The honeymoon period ends, forcing you to figure out ways to work around boredom and sluggishness, which I can tell you firsthand is not an easy feat. There are many moments when you’re struggling to regain inspiration that you find yourself wondering if it would be less of a hassle to simply give up. If creativity won’t come to you, why bother working for it?
But what keeps us going, what makes these moments conquerable is the end goal. It’s the knowledge that when we do reclaim our motivation, that exciting feeling will be waiting for us, and, once again, things will feel inspirational. And it’s cool to me that despite how different our motivational strategies may be, we still have the same feelings about our creative pursuits.
I don’t think there’s a hack for avoiding burnout. I don’t think there’s a magical, all-encompassing way to feel inspired all the time. It’s natural for things to have high points and low points. (It probably makes it easier for us to appreciate the highs, too.)
People often say that creativity comes in waves, and that’s something I wholeheartedly agree with. The important thing to remember is that even when things push you to your limits, eventually they will simmer down again.
We chase that rush of inspiration because it’s what keeps us going. It’s what fuels creativity and energizes us in the wake of stress. Setting goals and holding yourself accountable can be key influencers in a person’s ability to stay motivated, but it’s equally as important that they remember why they started. Feelings of motivation might randomly come and go, but their absence can serve as a reminder of what will happen if you push past your doubts and uncertainties.
Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear about your experiences dealing with motivation!
How do you stay motivated when you’re feeling inspired?