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I Get Motivation From Things Like This

Posted by on Nov 9, 2010

Ten days ago I wrote a Sunday Question post asking people how they motivate themselves. Almost everyone stated that they motivate themselves in a way that doesn’t involve anything on the outside.

by multimedia student

You know, I have to say that, in general, I’m not believing most of that. Yes, I’m taking a controversial stance, but I’ll explain why.

I’m known as the observer of people. I like humanity, even though I don’t like everything people do. But I see a lot of people go through their day as if they’re just following a script. They get up, go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed. There might be some deviation, but in general that’s pretty much it. And they’re not often happy about it.

I’m an independent consultant. I do most of my work from home. When I’m on the road, I partially do what everyone else does, except I have to go out for my meals or have something delivered. The one thing I rarely do on the road, and don’t necessarily do all that often at home either, is watch TV. I find that I like deciding way in advance what I want to record for the week and then will watch when I’m ready.

So, I sit at my desk, at my computer, and I work a lot. Oh sure, I take breaks to do things like write my blogs and participate on Twitter and Facebook, but a lot of what I do is business oriented. This means that I don’t really take a lot of time to just relax and get things off my mind. I am at the computer until it’s time to go to bed, and it’s the first place I come after the bathroom when I awake. I’m always here.

But sometimes I just can’t get in the mood to do much of anything, even if I’m sitting here. I could easily say I’m driven to succeed, and that would be true to a degree. There are times when I just don’t want to do anything; who reading this can say that doesn’t happen to them every once in awhile? And when I don’t want to do anything, I don’t care about success, I don’t care about family, I don’t care about eating… I don’t care about anything!

Well, that seems kind of depressing, doesn’t it? But it’s not. The reason is that I only allow myself to be in that mode for short periods of time. Hey, if I don’t work, I don’t earn any money. I can’t fall back on vacation time because I don’t have it. I can’t just fall back on my reserves because that just takes money away from me and I then have to figure out how to replace it.

In those times, I look for motivation in other places. I’ve talked about motivational movies like The Secreticon. I’ve shared motivational videos on this blog, things that have made me feel better. I’ve mentioned the name Zig Ziglar here before, but haven’t talked about what he does as a motivational speaker all that often. He loves telling the tale about a guy who comes up to him and says “Motivational speaking must not work all that well because it seems people are always needing to be motivated.” Zig says “People also need to eat and bathe, but I don’t hear you saying people don’t need food or soap.”

His belief is that we all need to find ways to motivate ourselves at least a few times a day because no one is a machine. Thoughts of others won’t always get it done. Dreams of eventual success won’t always get it done. But finding other things that offer at least a moment of uplift… man, that’s priceless. So, I figure that if someone like me, who has stated many times on this blog that I want to be successful and a big deal, needs outside motivation from time to time, actually probably a little bit at some point every day, that everyone else almost has to as well. No one is happy or upbeat 24/7; not even Zig.

With that in mind, I want to share this video with you, although it’s not a great video. But it is a great song. Michael Jackson has done lots of motivational songs. This one is called Keep The Faith. He didn’t do a video of it, and it’s too bad. I thought about just posting the lyrics to this song, but I didn’t for two reasons. One, it’s super long; this is one of those songs where the chorus is repeated many times, but it’s a short chorus, so there’s a lot of new lyrics through to the end of the song. And two, I didn’t want to risk copyright by posting everything here, although truthfully that’s secondary to how long the post would end up being.

So, I post this video that has the music and the lyrics. I hope you listen if you don’t know the song, and I really hope you follow the lyrics. This is powerful stuff, and I doubt that anyone who listens to this entire song can’t say that the words aren’t motivating and uplifting. And if you really think that, don’t write it here. Enjoy:


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I think when people don’t admit to looking for outside motivation, many of them aren’t actively or even consciously seeking it. But it’s hard not to be at least passively influenced, especially with all of the messages that bombard us every day. We absorb both the positive and the negative, sometimes without realizing it, and we all have different ways of filtering and separating it out. When you make the conscious decision to pop in a Zig Ziglar CD or watch a Michael Jackson video, you’re actively deciding, “I need a little boost right now.” Self-help materials are in constant demand, so some fraction of the population is on your wavelength and doing what they need to do, too. But it’s probably true that most people get their motivation in some passive way — or by simply wanting to avoid negative results, such as criticism, pain, homelessness, or poverty.

You’ve said on several occasions that you haven’t achieved the level of success you want. But you have your hands on the dials and are obviously doing much more than the average person does to reach your goals. The trick, I guess (I have to be constantly reminded) is to not just do the right things, but to keep doing them, even when the goals are still nowhere in sight. That’s the hardest part, and where most people bail out. I’ve bailed a thousand times, myself.

November 9th, 2010 | 10:58 AM

Great stuff Charles. I’ve rarely bailed out on things, but man, I’ve had those moments where I’ve wanted to. That’s why I look for those motivational things to help give me a boost. I have signs in my room that are motivational and of course the videos. I do what I can and need to do to keep myself moving forward.

November 9th, 2010 | 1:39 PM

Hey Mitch, I just saw you were from Liverpool. I went to SUNY Cortland, University at Buffalo, and now live in the Albany area. We are practically neighbors! I have heard that MJ song but I had forgotten about it. I was thinking you were going to reference Bon Jovi’s Keep the Faith! HA!

I have moments like that too where I just don’t feel like working. I’m not sure that’s a motivation thing always, I think it is human nature. I don’t worry about it unless I can’t get myself back into the mode. Then I just sort of force myself to do something small and the sense of accomplishment usually helps me get back into the swing of things.

November 9th, 2010 | 11:53 AM

Susan, you are close, and my wife was just in Schenectady this weekend.

I will sometimes follow my motto of “just do something” and that might help spark me as well. But you know that you have to either think about doing that or need a push to do that as well. At least I do. But this song… great one.

November 9th, 2010 | 1:40 PM

excellent excellent point. we all need inspiring. ongoing inspiration. i tell people that life is a series of moments, and if you haven’t liked what’s happened up to a moment, in the next moment you have the ability to make a change … for the better. that keeps me going. as long as i’m breathing i have a moment and the game isn’t lost.

November 9th, 2010 | 12:18 PM

Thanks for your comment. I feel the same way; always another chance to succeed.

November 9th, 2010 | 4:55 PM

The feeling that we can’t go on another minute is something that we go through at one time and another, Mitch, so I can commiserate with you on that. When something like this happen to me, I usually look to my kids for motivation. Being kids, they do the kind of funny, simple and yet profound things that pull me out of my funk.

I really appreciate this post, Mitch. Thanks.

– Wes –

November 9th, 2010 | 8:09 PM

Thanks for your comment, Wes. I never had kids, so I don’t have anything like that to fall back on. But those outside motivations are always good when you can get them.

November 9th, 2010 | 9:36 PM

Hi Mitch,

Can it be that you just need to give yourself a break to get away from the hurly burly of life? We need to take opportunities to zone out or even reflect for a few minutes. I always remind myself that my world will not collapse if I zone out a bit and, more importantly, my conscious mid will thank me for giving it some time off with improved performance and a reduction in stress levels.

Personally, my dominate motivation style is to move away from what I do not want. Just as there are different learning styles, there are different motivation styles. Some people are motivated towards what they want. Some are motiviated away from what they do not want. Others are motivated out of habit. Some are motivated from environmental stimuli. Of course, all styles are valid and useful. It often pays huge dividends for me to understand how my clients motivate themselves to take action.

November 9th, 2010 | 8:16 PM

Rachel, sometimes we do need to figure out when to get away. It’s a lot different when we work for ourselves than when we have a job. My breaks come in 30 minute increments here and there. Sometimes it’s not enough, though, so I’m happy to have other things to fall back on when I need a boost.

November 9th, 2010 | 9:38 PM

My motivation has always been to try to do what others think too hard, so I could work 20 hours a day if was able to (family prevent this).

We all need a break however and I really do like to switch off and get away for days at a time if I can

November 10th, 2010 | 4:16 AM

It’s a nice motivation, Peter, but sometimes it’s just not enough in trying to do it on your own without something from the outside to help stimulate you or help you recover enough to move forward again.

November 10th, 2010 | 7:27 AM

If you like what you do, then motivation comes easily. Of course that a break is needed from time to time, but if you find joy in what you then, you are a happy man 🙂

November 10th, 2010 | 4:33 AM

True Mia, but even doing something you enjoy can drive you nuts every once in awhile because nothing goes perfectly every step of the way.

November 10th, 2010 | 7:27 AM

Everybody need a bit motivation at workplace or at home. Most of the time it just happened spontaneously with me. Depending on different mood I know exactly what will make me feel better.

November 10th, 2010 | 6:30 AM

Then you’re the lucky one Carl; sometimes I need my boost.

November 10th, 2010 | 7:30 AM

I think you’re half right. Some outside things are way motivate us subconsciously. On the internal side, we have pleasure and pain that motivate us, and that’s inherent because we’re human beings. On the outside, we have things like TV, media, friends, family, etc that influence us. For instance, the need or desire to get popular and famous is probably motivated from watching celebrities, whereas the motivation to have a family is probably motivated from inherent human desires.

November 10th, 2010 | 8:11 AM

That’s an interesting way of looking at things, Henway. I talked about positive motivation, but I hadn’t thought much about negative motivation, which can be as powerful as the other.

November 10th, 2010 | 5:04 PM
Dean Saliba:

Lack of motivation is the reason I am only making $100-$200 a month. I have the opportunity to make easily ten times more than that but I let other things distract me. :/

November 10th, 2010 | 11:59 AM

Dean, maybe things like the video here or other things could help motivate you more. Still, you’re making money online, and that’s pretty cool.

November 10th, 2010 | 5:19 PM

Who ever says they never use outside sources for motivation is a bit nuts. Music, songs, poems, photos, movies, books, and, yes, even a TV program can help to motivate a person. Micheal Jackson has a lot of songs with uplift and motivate me (Man in the Mirror is one of my favs) as well other others like John Denver.

It all goes towards changing one’s state of mind to move in a positive direction. That is always a good thing in my book.

November 10th, 2010 | 12:58 PM

Great stuff Scott, and you mentioned one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs and, of course, you and I saw John Denver in concert at least twice, and left both times feeling really good (though he did have that one concert where he left us depressed at intermission lol)

November 10th, 2010 | 5:21 PM

For me, motivation comes from different sources at different times, and depends on how ‘big’ a push I need to do something differently. For instance, several years ago my life was pretty horrible from the stresses of living in a city (despite having been born in an urban environment, in the last few years it became quite the wrong thing for me) and I – successfully – battled all sorts of personal limitations to sell our house and move to a less stressful place. In order to do it, I had to fix my mind on the goal and put everything else on hold. Actually I pretty much put my life on hold for years to achieve it and am only just beginning to come out of a state of stagnation. So my motivation for that was what seemed to me to be a dream (living in the country, living amongst beauty), and that certainly was internal, Mitch. But the environment that pushed me out was external and actually wasn’t immediately a ‘positive’ motivation. But motivate me it did!

Recently I’ve been motivated by something external – the notebook/diary that I wrote about in this post Somehow – and I still don’t know how – it has triggered all sorts of wonderful stuff in me, including the re-emergence of some memories that I thought were gone forever.

I have a question for you. Apart from making a comfortable living for yourself, why do you feel the need to be so successful and so ‘known’ as you do? Is it something in your past (you may have written about this before and I may have read it but if so, I’ve forgotten), or your family, or what? Not everyone wants this, and it does make me curious to know why!

November 11th, 2010 | 4:38 PM

Val, I have always wanted to be a star in some fashion. When I used to play sports, I played to win, and I won most of the time as an individual, even if my teams weren’t always great. So, I had a pattern of winning and being on top. Once you get used to that, you want more of it, and thus, anything short of striving for the best and the upper levels isn’t enough.

November 11th, 2010 | 11:01 PM

Mitch, you’re a weird guy! No TV!?!

AND the Esteem-O-meter just went up another 6 points on your rating, for I too am a “weird guy”. (but you knew that) When friends and acquaintances find out that I don’t watch television they look at me like I’ve got two heads. “You have No TV!?!

In point of fact I do have a television, it’s just not hooked up to a broadcast receiver; just a DVD/VCR deck.

I use the local cable company for broadband internet. They *paid* me to accept basic cable (via a discount). That enters our little compound at my office. A LAN carries the internet from there to the other buildings. But not TV. I have a DVR in my office, and like you, I record what little programming I choose to watch and watch it when I choose to watch it.

When I pruned the in-home cable from my life, it was like adding 4 hours to my day.

OK, that was a minor point in your message, but I liked it.

And you’re right, for me music is a great motivator. I don’t watch much television but I listen to CDs, the radio and Pandora almost all the time. And if I’m feeling a bit run down or blue, selecting the right music can energize me better than a half-dozen Red Bull drinks.

Ok, maybe not that much… but enough.

Great insights, Mitch. I’m glad you’re watching!

November 18th, 2010 | 3:23 PM

Allan, I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, but I do still watch, so breathe! lol As for motivation, it’s sometimes music, it’s sometimes movies, and it’s sometimes motivational tapes. Whatever it takes to pick me up when I need it, that’s what I shoot for. Glad you enjoyed the video and song; great stuff.

November 18th, 2010 | 5:14 PM