Yes, that motivation stuff does work

If I’ve heard it once I have heard it a million times, “that motivation stuff is a waste of time — it doesn’t work”.

While I’ll state my case in depth below, why I disagree, in the event that you’re in a hurry, let me just say right here and now, for the record — in my opinion that’s absolutely not the case and totally untrue.

Here’s why…

Interestingly, the reasons people give as to why it doesn’t work is very much the same. It is usually based on the idea that because the person’s motivation dwindled, that somehow that is proof positive that it never worked in the first place.

There a couple of problems with this assumption. First, we can make the logical case that were this true, just about everything which requires some level of ongoing attention to doesn’t work either, or was simply a waste of time. And of course as I’ll outline in the examples that follow, that would be ridiculous.

Here are a few examples to illustrate what I’m suggesting.

1) Let’s look at relationships. Every single day countless relationships come to an end for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s our fault, sometimes it is the other person’s fault, and at other times the two people just grow apart for whatever reason. The interesting thing is, while the result may be heartbreak and a real sense of loss, the last thing most of us would do is to say to ourselves “this love thing doesn’t work.” True, in the moment we might feel that way. We may even catch ourselves saying, “what a waste of time that was.” However, it doesn’t make it right to simply make the assumption that relationships don’t work, or as perhaps some of the more jaded might say, “love is a myth.”

The reason we know this isn’t the case is simple, because whether things worked out for us personally or not, all around us there are numerous examples of people who are enjoying lasting, loving relationships. Please understand this example is not meant to make anyone who has had a relationship that didn’t work out feel bad (regardless of the reasons). Far from it in fact (and to further make my point, as I’m writing this I’m 39, currently single, and yet to be married, so believe me, it’s not meant to be personal. Since I’m putting this out there in such a public way I’ll add that I’m not above matchmaking though. Just kidding :-)). My Point is that while something may not work out for us personally, that does not mean that it doesn’t work at all. It just means we may need to adjust or do things differently if we hope to get a more desirable result.

2) As another example let’s look at the area of sales. By and large Most of us wouldn’t try and blame the entire company, or the products they offer, for our own inability to market and sell them effectively. Certainly some people try and take that approach, but it isn’t generally one that holds a lot of weight. After all, if you’re able to look around, and see that other salespeople in the organization are meeting with success then that is usually proof enough that whatever isn’t working is something on your end. An honest assessment would likely give you the answer to whatever might be stifling your efforts. Perhaps you need more product knowledge. You may need to develop more skills in presenting the product. It could be any number of things, but the point is once you improve in those areas you can expect to gain better results. The key point is as it relates to our overall example, most folks wouldn’t blame the company or its offerings as being the problem. Instead they would look for ways to do the things that would be necessary to get them the positive results they’re after.

While I have put forth two very different examples hopefully they illustrate the following point:

Just because motivational principles require your willingness to come back to them and re-apply what you learn in order to get the results — it doesn’t mean they don’t work or that they’re any less effective. What it does mean, is for whatever reason you didn’t continue to do what was in fact working at one point.

Here’s another example I always find interesting. Consider the person who at one time was physically fit. They were doing all the things necessary, exercising to get that benefit. Then for whatever reason they stop doing the exercise. Naturally the last thing they’re going to do is try and blame the exercise for having been a fraud or not working. Rather they’re going to take some responsibility for having stopped doing what was necessary to get them to their previously desired result.

Friend, that is exactly what happens when motivational principles don’t work for us, it’s not that they don’t work, often it is that we’re not working them. We’re not making them a regular part of our routine. Just as the benefits from exercise and doing healthy things will decline if we don’t do them on a regular basis, so too will the benefits of that motivational book or audio program that you listened to. Unless you make a point to revisit what you learned in it — and actually look for ways to apply what you learned into your routine.

In a nutshell you need to be willing to come back and further develop whatever skills you want to see show up in your life and strengthen. The fact that you don’t get to benefit ongoing from only one exposure to a motivational or personal development idea should not discourage you anymore than you’re not being able to go for a run one time and benefit from doing so for the rest of your life.

Consider the wise words of zig Ziglar who said, “they say motivation doesn’t last, well neither does the effects of bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Commit to ongoing personal development study. Don’t expect for magic overnight solutions to appear that will cure all your woes in life. Appreciate the fact that it’s a process, and with it everyday you have the opportunity to grow in countless ways.

Here are some very practical things that you can put into place:

* Understand that you have to come back and drink from the well if you want to quench your thirst. Just like with most anything worthwhile you can’t do it once and not expect for your proficiency in it to decrease to some degree if you don’t practice or use what you learn.

* If something was worthwhile once — go back and reread it, or re-listen to it. That great book, or audio program, will be just as worthwhile the second time around. This will help to reaffirm whatever skill you picked up. Plus it’s very likely that you’ll pick something else up that can benefit you in some way the second time around.

* Schedule your personal development study time. Don’t just expect to magically find the time. Our lives are far too busy for that. If you want to benefit — be intentional and make the time.

* Don’t just read or listen to the ideas. Go further and look for opportunities to internalize what you learn and apply it in different areas in your life. Friend, this is where the real power comes in. This is why it’s called personal development, because ultimately you have to be the biggest part in your own growth.

* Keeping with the idea above about making yourself a part of the process — keep a journal. I like to call mine my success journal. In it I write down the important things I’ve learned along my journey which is responsible for having gotten me to where I am. I record my goals and aspirations — the things I want to see show up in my life. And of course the wisdom that I pick up in the books and programs I read, and listen to. I take the time to think about and write down how the things I’m reading might apply to me and how I can use them in my life. If you’re not keeping a journal already I would encourage you to do so — it can really have a positive impact on you.

-If you have ideas you’d like to share, use the comments below.

It’s your life, LIVE BIG
Josh Hinds

PS. I’m the author of, It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG, Why Perfect Timing is a Myth, and Motivational Quotes for Living BIG, click here to learn more about them.