I have changed a lot in the last few months. I had a year vacation that I’ve only just returned from. A year of sex, drugs, and rock’n'roll- debauchery unending. The year was amazing, I had a total blast and learned a lot about myself as a person. But learning who you are is not quite the same as growing into someone new. Just knowing who you are isn’t enough to make you a better person- you have to DO something with that knowledge. After a year of introspection without action, I returned home and resumed my personal development. Within weeks I’d changed so much about myself I don’t even want to write it down because no one would believe me. I hope in this and future posts I can capture some of the metamorphosis I’ve undergone.
Let’s kick this off with my most evasive opponent, my oldest foe, the patriarch of all productivity- Motivation. For years I thought motivation was the thing I lacked and the reason I never accomplished anything. Instead of taking RESPONSIBILITY for my procrastination I took the VICTIM stance and blamed my ineffectiveness on my utter lack of motivation. “Well I’m not motivated, so I don’t do what I’m supposed to.” See that? That’s a victim statement, which I’ll talk about later. Just keep it in mind.
So by blaming motivation for many of my failures, both personal and professional, I attributed a cause that I thought I could ‘fix’. If I could just figure out what motivated me I could accomplish so much! If I could find that one thing to drive me throughout life I’d be unstoppable! I cannot tell you how many things I tried, how many books I read and how many excuses I made on my journey to become a motivated individual. I decided money didn’t motivate me, because offers of money didn’t make me work harder. I decided objects don’t motivate me, because I’m not really a materialistic person. (Which I am, but ‘stuff’ doesn’t sound like its worth working for.) My journey went on, I’ll spare you the details.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d discovered and perfected a new form of procrastination! I call it, “Discovering the Cure for Procrastination.” I now know that instead of working like I was supposed to I was looking for an external reason for my laziness. An unrealistic and imaginary ‘cure’ for an ‘affliction’ I had diagnosed myself with. Then, only just a few weeks ago I was reading a personal development book. It wasn’t geared towards motivation, it wasn’t supposed to help specifically with procrastination, it was just something on my Mom’s bookshelf called “Failing Forward” by Danielle Laporte. Within this book held the answer I’d searched for during the last five years. YEARS I have been blaming my lack of motivation for failures.
Within the pages of this unassuming book was the holy grail of advice: “Motivation comes AFTER you begin.”
Just that. Sounds simple. Danielle writes that motivation is a trap we set for ourselves- you spend all your time looking or waiting for motivation as an excuse to not have to do the things you don’t want to do. The way to become motivated.. is to start a task BEFORE you’re motivated. After you meet some success or realize it just isn’t as hard as you made it out to be in your head, the motivation to complete the project will set in. I don’t know if this hits home with anyone else or not but I felt like I was hit in the pit of my stomach with a hammer as I realized my procrastination is my fault. Of course I always told others that I only had myself to blame for procrastinating but deep, deep down I knew it was not my fault. It was ‘Motivation’s fault, I’m just the victim here.
If you struggle with procrastination or lack of motivation as I did, I encourage you to really take this post to heart. Don’t let yourself play victim to your struggles and remember in order to be motivated you only have to start! ‘Motivation comes AFTER you begin!’