I’ve had whole years when everything has gone great. My motivation levels have been phenomenal.
Other times, I feel flat.
This flatness can last for days, weeks, months, even years. I have waded through demotivated fugs where I considered my life as being one big groundhog day. In February 2015, I was going through one of these times.
I used to walk through the city and smell opportunity. Now all I can smell is stale coffee and broken dreams.
But what about the times when I’m on an up. What characterises these times?
And why am I writing about motivation?
Do I plan to write an e-book ‘The Dad’s Guide to Motivation’? No though I might wait and see how popular this post is…
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a form of catharsis for me. But if I can help someone bust through an unmotivated spell, then even better.
I’ve written out three factors that boost my motivation without fail. Maybe it’s possible to create an environment where these following three factors can be perpetuated?
The Desire for Success
The desire for success sounds pretty obvious doesn’t it? Of course we all want success. But what does desire for success look like.
I can think back to times in my life when I desired success. At one point in my mid twenties, I was seriously looking at having some professional Muay Thai fights.
As I built up through the levels my coaches had put in place for me to get there, I became more and more focused. Everything was about that goal. My eating, sleeping training all pointed towards what I wanted to achieve.
I would train for up to five hours per day, often to the point of exhaustion.
I would become so battered and bruised from sparring I would pop prescription strength pain killers just so I could train the following day.
I walked carefully around the house, worried about bumping into furniture and injuring myself in a freak accident.
When a snowstorm shut public transport links, I walked for miles so I could get to the gym to train.
I imagined every aspect of my upcoming fights: how it would feel when I walked in, how it would feel to win, how it would feel to be bruised, bloodied but victorious.
I’ve felt that desire to succeed before and since. I feel it right now in fact. And I want it to last forever.
That desire is so powerful that it can make my hair stand on end in anticipation.
I never made it to the pro ring. Maybe I’ll tell that story one time. This isn’t the right post or the right time.
The Fear or Failure
Fear of failure is not something that comes to mind when you talk about motivation.
You won’t find many a motivational speaker who gets his audience to imagine themselves failing to use that as a motivator.
But that’s exactly what I’ve done in the past. I’ve used the fear of failure to force me to succeed.
As with desiring success, I’ve imagined what failure would feel like. What would it feel like to let myself down? To let my family down and be a laughing stock as people laugh behind their sleeves at me.
I’ve purposely gone to these darkest fears to draw strength from them. I tell myself that death is preferable to failure. I don’t mean it but if I can convince myself that’s truth, I’m more likely to succeed.
The pain of failing, of knowing you could have tried harder and succeeded is unimaginable. I pity you a little if you’ve never felt this. It’s a huge life lesson.
I’ve used the recollection of that feeling to succeed and overcome. It’s a hard route and controversial.
But it works for me. Maybe it can work for you.
Try this: Think about a time when you failed and were disappointed. How did you feel. Horrible? Good. Now think about something you want to achieve. Imagine failing and feeling those feelings again.
It hurts doesn’t it? You don’t want to fail so use that feeling to motivate you do succeed. To do more and be more towards your goals.
So go out there, feel the fear of failure and use it as a weapon.
A Faith in Something Bigger
My faith is a big motivator for me. I’m a Christian and have a desire to do more and be more that comes from my faith.
I find it hard to consider how someone of no faith can be motivated if they don’t believe in a higher purpose and a bigger spiritual picture.
I’m not here to preach. There are plenty of blogs and websites that do that. But I hope that if you do believe in something and have a faith that what we do on this earth matters, you can use that to motivate you to do more and to be more than you are today.
Clearly I don’t have all the answers. I’ve only got a few. But I’ve come a long way since that tweet in February 2015. I’m different now. I’m more motivated and I know that even set backs and failures can be harnessed for future success.
P.S. I could have called this post ‘What Motivates me to be a Better Dad’. It would probably get more hits on Google. But My identity is not limited to parenthood. Being a Dad is important but I want to succeed for me too and in things other than just parenting.
P.P.S This post is a bit different to what I’ve written so far. If you like it and want more, let me know.