Do These 2 Things and Never Lose Motivation Again
Inspired by Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Better Faster: The Secrets of being Productive in Life and Business
Marines face uncertainty and death with a sense of enthusiasm that bewilders others. There are elderly rebels who thrive in nursing homes where they have essentially been sent to die with supervision. What is it that they have in common? They both understand the mechanics of motivation and have developed habits to help them maintain it. Now so will you.
In Smarter Better Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg he identifies 2 key elements of motivation that explain how and why people stayed motivated while others become apathetic. Duhigg asserts motivation requires a person to feel in control of their decisions and an understanding of how their actions are part of a larger purpose or their “why”. When these two elements are present people are able to accomplish extraordinary feats.
Feeling in control is how the elderly extend their lives
Duhigg connects acts of rebellion by the elderly in nursing homes with a longer and more fulfilling life. In one example the patients went as far as using a crowbar to move furniture in their room that was attached to the wall. They did so to feel they had a choice about their accommodations. He also illustrates one man who trades his chocolate cake during meals for fruit because he enjoys feeling like he chooses what he eats. In these examples people are making choices that allow them to feel in control of their own lives. This feeling of control allows them to live longer according to Duhigg.
There are lessons to be learned here and the first one is that in order to stay motivated you must constantly recognize those things you choose to do. By doing this you will notice all of the places where you currently wield personal power and retain autonomy. Secondly you need to find opportunities to make choices more often. Choosing your fate more often reassures that you are in control of your life.
Being purpose driven is how Marines stay motivated
Duhigg recalls the story of a Marine platoon working through the most difficult part of their training called The Crucible(link). This 3 day challenge is the culmination of their basic training at boot camp and by far their most difficult task. As they began to wear down on their final climb they began to ask each other why they were there. One Marine recalls the newborn child he has waiting at home, which serves as the fuel to get him to the summit. Each member of his platoon was required to answer the question in that moment. “Why are you here?” This group of Marines reached the top of the summit and completed their mission. That extra push came from understanding the purpose behind their actions.
From this experience you can understand how important it is to know why you are doing something. Make sure to spend some time defining what motivates you and why. Then once you’ve done that create daily reminders for yourself so that you can connect your actions with your expected outcome. You should also write it on paper or your phone so you can read it when you feel your motivation dwindling. In order to keep your motivation high, just remember your why.
“Make a chore into a meaningful decision and self-motivation will emerge”
Staying motivated is simply about doing two things: making a choice and ensuring that choice supports your why. Now go out and do them!
Pickup a copy of the book and read some of the insights for yourself.
Here’s to living the smarter way!
Thomas Wilkins, MBA
The Smarter Way Enterprises, LLC