Hi Scott. I have been reading through all of your posts and your content is really excellent! I do have an issue though. You see, I have no real love or passion for anything. I want to do things in my life. I have always wanted to go and maybe even move to the U.S.A. even though I have never even been there. 🙂 I also want money and I know this is a big factor in many people’s motivation but I want to use the money to get to America and live “The Dream”. My problem is I just can’t keep motivation for anything, I think I NEED to do this because it will enable me to make my American dream possible but the idea of the dream just isn’t enough to keep me going.
I always have these ideas of ways to make money, sell on eBay, start an online business, affiliate marketing. You see, I have a cousin who started off like me, middle class and by no means “rich” but he is now making 10’s of thousands of dollars per week, this is after 4 years of hard work. I tried to follow his advice but he says I really need to want the money to make it like he did but nothing keeps me working and going.
John, 17, England
John, thank you for the complement and for your question. There are two kinds of motivation that people commonly try to find–motivation to do something you don’t want to do, and motivation do so something you want to do. In the first case, it’s understandable that you may need to use strategies, tricks, or leverage of some kind to really put the heat on and make you do it. Deadlines, penalties, embarrassment, demotions or getting fired from a job, social accountability…all of these do a nice job of compelling people to take action even when their goal is imposed upon them by a boss, parent, spouse, peers, etc.
I read and reread your email. It’s clear that you’re reaching for something, but I really don’t think you’re clear about what it is that you truly want. Everybody dreams of travel to far-away places. Also, everyone wants to live out their dream life where money is not a worry and every day is filled with fun, freedom and adventure…and you certainly can have these. But not yet.
You see, John, the truth is, when you’re pursuing a goal that is truly meaningful to you, I think you’ll find that you usually don’t need strategies or tricks to get you off your butt and start taking action so that you can actually reach your goal. If your goal is a lifelong dream such as moving to America and living “the dream”, that requires clarity. But more importantly, it requires consistent action over a period of time. Many pieces must be gathered and put into place. When you’ve hooked into something really worth pursuing, a silent fire will consume you. You’ll be so burning with passion for your goal that you’ll work tirelessly to have it and no obstacles will cause you to waver or to ever consider anything else.
Extraordinary goals require extraordinary commitment.
“My problem is I just can’t keep motivation for anything”
I can see why you think that your lack of motivation is an obstacle. But I just don’t think a lack of motivation is your issue. Some of the most motivated people in history had a natural motivation. That doesn’t mean they were born with some innate ability that compelled them to single-mindedly pursue their goal. You can think of it as a kind of organic motivation that is a by-product of the inspiration, enthusiasm, or passion they feel in response to their desire to right an injustice, solve a problem, create something meaningful, help people in some important way, reach a higher stature, improve an important skill, protect the vulnerable, make a very long journey, or otherwise, aspire to a higher sense of purpose in life.
Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, Helen Keller… each of these people contributed to the lives of many people and were driven to achieve great things, regardless of the obstacles in their paths. These people were motivated. Their motivation came from inspiration in one form or another. I don’t believe they were looking for motivation when they stumbled upon their life’s purpose. It was something intrinsic, like a seed planted inside them at just the right moment…many moments, even. They didn’t need to find the motivation to act, they didn’t need to employ tricks or strategies because taking meaningful action was a part of who they were. Their lives centered around their purpose or goal. Like the oxygen that fills our lungs, taking action and fulfilling their deep sense of purpose was the their breath of life.
Whether your goal is helping people overcome some difficulty, or simply living an upstanding life with plenty of good friends and a happy family, when you’re on track and your goal is aligned with who you are at the core, the motivation will be there, effortlessly.
John, if you feel like you can’t find motivation in your life, or that motivation is all too fleeting, I sincerely believe that it’s because you have no real sense for what you want your life story to be about. If you can begin to define this, you’ll begin to connect with organic motivation that’s driven by the life story you want to create for yourself; by the vision of your goal or purpose.
“I want to do things in my life.”
Define “things“. You probably did some things today. Have you fulfilled some of your life’s desires? Do you feel more whole today because of the “things” you did last week or last month? It’s hard to keep any level of motivation enough to tear yourself away from your computer or your TV to pursue a life of “things”.
“I always have these ideas of ways to make money, sell on eBay, start an online business, affiliate marketing.”
Unless you are passionate about doing any of these things, it’s likely a waste of your valuable time and energy. Better to spend your time doing something that energizes you, that makes you eager to wake up the next day and spring out of bed from excitement. Again, without an idea of what you want your life to be, this is hard to do.
I’m guessing by now, you’re wondering just how to find the “thing” that will create organic motivation, that magic spark that will be your breath of life for which you will be compelled to pursue. If I could tell people how to find their “thing”, I’d change the world. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to guide you. There are a million ways to find your passion, your life’s purpose, your “thing”. Most of them don’t work. But here’s a strategy that is pretty powerful.
Finding Your Passion (How To Figure Out What You Really Want To Do)
- Carry a notebook and pen with you wherever you go.
- Get curious about life and start paying close attention.
- Get involved in life, try new things, go places and do things; anything where you will encounter new experiences.
- Anytime something catches your attention, inspires you, makes you want to learn more, or try it out, write it down in your notebook.
- Anytime you see someone who really loves what they’re doing, ask them why…and write down the insights that stand out for you in your notebook.
- Periodically review your notes and see what stands out to you — these are clues that may unlock the answers.
- Do this until your “thing” begins to emerge.
Often people who find their passion or the “thing” that triggers their organic motivation discover it by accident. It’s revealed at a critical moment in their lives when they’re fully engaged in a life experience. Put yourself out there. Live your life and be fully present every step of the way.
John, try keeping a notebook for 30 days and see what comes from it. Although, it may take longer, I’m sure you’ll find the experience rewarding even in just 30 days. I’d love to hear back from you, to hear all about what you learned from keeping a notebook. If I can clarify anything here or if you have any more questions, I’ll be happy to explore this a little more.
Good luck on your exciting journey ahead!