Updated: Nov 16
Be your own Fairy Godmother and feed your motivation.
Motivation is a fickle little creature. One day it is firing you up, holding you on its wings and not releasing until you’ve completed everything on your to-do list. On another day, it’s sitting there quietly reading a newspaper, ignoring your calls for immediate attention.
To trick my motivation and unlock my inner drive, I started collecting useful gems on how to regain focus and feed my creativity.
I look for things that excite, inspire, or infuriate me.
I take part in self-inflicted challenges.
I give myself promises, and I create pacts with myself.
And all in the name of unwavering motivation. Otherwise, goals would succumb to perfectionism and procrastination. Not on my watch!
1. Be positive to feed your inner drive
Those ‘feel-good’ chemicals are there for a reason. Not only do they make you happy, but they also make you more productive. Because a cheerful person is an active person, and vice versa. We lack motivation when we are sad or upset or overly anxious. To regain your motivation, watch a funny video, swipe through some lovely photos, play with your dog, hug someone (not a stranger, they might not like it) or have a glass of water. Once you feel more positive, the chances are you will feel more motivated to continue with your goals and to-do lists.
2. Ask questions to spark your imagination
Do you have a problem that needs solving but you procrastinate like a professional procrastinator? Why not use the Socratic method and start asking yourself questions about your topic/project/task?
Socrates has left this enormous legacy showing that not knowing the answer is not always a bad thing. Instead of enlightening his students by providing a direct answer to their questions, this strange man would pose a question instead. This ploy would deepen his students' thinking process and inevitably bring to a more insightful answer.
So next time you feel a lack of motivation looming over you, use the Socratic method and see if you could come up with something unusual.
I also wrote about asking questions to transform boring tasks into insightful ones in this article. As long as you allow for other options to be valuable and provide useful information, any question might do the trick of sparking your imagination.
3. Disagree with your own ideas and challenge your assumptions
Have a debate with yourself. See what arguments you could create against your own great ideas.
“Intellectual humility helps to evaluate a broad range of evidence and become less defensive.” - Julia Dhar
In debates, you are often expected to come up with arguments for and against your case. This helps to make your voice and point of view less subjective and more dispassionate. Learning to make a reasoned argument is a good professional skill. But it could also help you in your daily life by broadening your horizons and making you a quicker thinker.
Julia Dhar, in her TED video, recommends asking yourself this question: ‘What have you changed your mind about and why?’ This question will open up an internal debate and help you reconsider why you were so sure about your ideas.. in the first place.
4. Investigate and learn new tool/software/idea in the name of motivation
If nothing works, put all tasks and ideas aside and pick a new tool to test.
Are you into time management? What’s the latest ‘great’ tool on the market? Test it, try implementing it for your business or personal life. Get involved with it as if your life depended on it.
This simple trick would help you access a slightly different part of your brain and trigger motivation from an unexpected angle. It’s all about novelty feeding our curiosity. And what could better spark our motivation than a genuine interest?
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin
5. Define and strengthen your superpower
Do you know what your strengths are? You might know that you are good at math because you are an accountant. But what about those small skills that you take for granted?
List down all your talents that you can think of. What comes easily to you? What colleagues ask for your help or advice? This exercise should help your creative juices flow with an improved speed. As humans, we remember our big and important skills and achievements, neglecting all the small but equally significant ones.
If nothing comes to mind, as a family member, a friend or a colleague, what they value about you the most. Their answer might surprise you.
Once you have made friends with your superpowers, consider creating an action plan on how you are going to make use of all your amazing and unique qualities.
Inner drive is about an excitement you see all around you. Gather it from your surroundings. Feed on other people's positivity or whimsy. And as usual, remember to enjoy yourself. Because our life is all about overcoming obstacles, learning new skills and remembering to enjoy it, chaos and all. Be your own Fairy Godmother!
Challenge your assumptions
Learn something new
Use your hidden skills and talents