A lot of people ask me this: How do you get motivated to do everything you do?
Motivation, as stated in The Super Student Roadmap is, in fact, an important tool in the Super Student’s tool belt. However, a lot of people get it wrong.
They expect a magic personality trait that solves all their problems. They think some people are motivated and others aren’t, so they need to get that magic pill that will force them to do what needs to be done.
Relying on that sort of motivation is a sure path to failure. Sometimes we feel like going out there and conquering the world. But from time to time, we might get lazy, discouraged and defeated. The real motivation, however, can surpass these negative feelings, so that you can keep pushing.
This equation tells you the two components of true motivation:
Habit forming has become a popular subject among the productivity crowd these days. And that’s because it’s so powerful.
By setting and sticking to daily goals or, as I like to call them, daily quotas, you can guarantee success. As Super Students, we’re often trying to:
- Take care of enormous amounts of work (in the hundreds or even thousands of hours range)
- Learn skills that require constant practice, such as language learning, programming or maths
- Memorize vast bodies of information for tests or exams
Regular students often think I need to complete that novel I’m working on, I need to practice Mandarin or I need to study for Macroeconomics. They’ve just become easy prey for procrastination. Our brains get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work each of these major goals represent.
Change your mental framework. Instead, think I’ll write 500 words a day, I’ll learn 20 Mandarin words a day, I’ll read 1 Macroeconomics textbook chapter a day.
Preferably, meet these quotas before doing anything distracting. Say you end school at 3 pm. You can go to the library, work on your daily work quotas for 2 hours and be home by 5.30 pm. Then, you can do whatever you want for the rest of the day: exercising, hanging out with friends, play videogames and so on.
If you keep these meeting these quotas, the results are almost hard to believe:
- After writing 500 words a day for 2 months, you’ll end up with a small (unedited) novel
- By learning 20 Mandarin words a day for 2 months, you’ll recognize 50% of the words in any text
- If you keep reading 1 Macroeconomics textbook chapter a day for 2 months, you’ll cover it back to back 3 times!
You might bet thinking: this is all fine and dandy, but what if I don’t feel like meeting the quota that day? That brings us to…
This is truly the trait of Super Students. Brain Tracy, a well-known salesman and sales teacher, once said Successful people do what they have to do whether they feel like it or not.
Willpower comes from within. It’s your internal flame, fueled by your deepest dreams and ambitions. All in all, there’s only one thing that can make you get off your ass, turn off facebook and really focus on the task at hand. And that’s the magic of thinking big, of wanting to go further, the compelling desires of winning and conquering.
Ask yourself why you’re doing this. What’s the deepest motivation (oh boy, here we go) behind it?
If you’re feeling like missing your daily quota, think twice:
- I can’t miss it, because my dream is to become a published author. I’m only 7500 words away from my goal.
- When I move to China in 6 months, it will be awesome to chat with the locals in their own language. Let’s do this, it’s only 20 words.
- I will study anyway, since that Macroeconomics grade will allow me to get into the graduate school I want.
My favorite trick (more of a hack, it prevents me from using my willpower) is to take care of as much daily quotas as possible in the morning. It’s when I’m at my freshest, which makes it a lot easier.
I hope you realize the title of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek. What I really mean is this: complete a certain amount of work daily and let it pile up. The results will surprise you.