The 8 Motivation Myths Destroying Your Productivity

E.B. Johnson

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by: E.B. Johnson (Image by @itsjuliwilliams via Twenty20)

Our motivation is a powerful thing, and it can encourage us to move mountains even when we still feel small and invisible in the world. It drives us and inspires us, but it’s also incredibly hard to capture. Finding your motivation or staying motivated in a world that’s so chaotic isn’t easy. It’s an art form — and one we have to master if we want to build lives that are solidly within our control. That starts with letting go of the motivation myths that hold us down and keep us back.

Like it or not, motivation matters.

We don’t like to admit it, but motivation is half of the equation that gets us where we want to be in life. That is to say that our internal drive is a huge factor in whether we build a future that is fulfilling and rewarding in all the ways that matter to us. Motivation will get you everywhere, but tapping into it can feel like catching lightening in a bottle.

To master our motivation, we have to understand it inside and out. We can’t lean into the myths passed down to us by family, friends and society. We have to dig deep, face our inner reality, and be honest about what it takes to get where we want to be in life.

If you’ve spent the greater part of your life chasing fear and money, then you’ll find yourself worn out, empty, and lacking in the drive it takes to make it past that ultimate finish line on your path to success. Staying on track and creating something worthwhile takes pacing ourselves, and it takes being kind to both our minds and our bodies. Motivate yourself the right way by focusing on what you want and taking, calculated and mindful action.

The 8 motivation myths destroying your productivity.

Are you ready to find your motivation again and get yourself back on the path to success and fulfillment? You can silence the world around you and find the strength within, but you first need to let go of these common motivation myths. They’ll only diminish your sense of inspiration and the value you find along the way.

Putting fear in the driver's seat

Some people only take action in their life when fear comes to loom over them. That is to say that they allow the threat of punishment or fear of retribution to be the motivation that moves them in their lives. More often than not, this toxic form of motivation comes from a toxic or dysfunctional home life in childhood. You get comfortable with fear, so you welcome it into your adult life (much to your eventual suffering).

Waiting until the moment's right

Many of us believe in the myth of the “perfect moment” but it’s one of the myths that holds us back the most. There is no such thing as “perfection” in this world. There are things that are ideal, but that’s as close as it gets. If we wait for the right moment, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. The moment to thrive is now, and to get motivated we have to be willing to act just as quickly.

Any effort is the right effort

It’s not trust that “just doing your best” is enough. As a matter of fact, holding on to the mythic idea that any small effort (at any stage in your journey) is enough just encourages you to settle and perform mediocrely.You have to seek always to take the action with the greatest payoff. Sometimes, this is getting enough sleep to tackle a meeting the next day. At other points, it requires getting off the couch, getting in front of the computer, and making a specific action happen.

Relying on visualization

It doesn’t matter how many times you read The Secret, simply visualizing a better life is not enough to make it happen. Motivation is a double-lined street. We can’t get ourselves up and make ourselves successful by simply dreaming things up. We also have to take action and bring our dreams into reality by committing to intentional and well thought-out action.

Make money the focus

Much like waiting for the perfect moment, many hold the idea that the perfect amount of money will be the motivation they need to make things happen. While money may motivate us for a short time, it’s not enough to take us where we ultimately want (and need) to go. We need more than cash flow to keep us inspired when things get really challenging. Superficial, or external, our motivation can only take us so far.

Intelligence trumps smart work

There are rarely bigger fools than truly intelligent people. Those with smarts have benefitted from a great gift in their life, but it can make them lazy and it can zap their motivation. Have you fed into the myth that smarts are all the motivation you need to succeed? Mental intelligence will only get you so far when you don’t back it up with concentrated and mindful action.

Waiting on bigger rewards

Are you someone who believes the right reward will get you inspired to take action in your life? For example, have you ever told yourself that you’ll get around to changing things once you get offered that promotion, or that engagement ring? Requiring bigger rewards is yet another way we procrastinate and get in our own way. The superficialities of the outer world aren’t enough to drive us beyond the limits of our fear.

All you need is willpower

Perhaps one of the most misleading motivation myths out there is that willpower alone is enough to create the life you want. While this is certainly a part of the equation, willpower on its own isn’t enough motivation to get things done. You have to take physical and mental action in order to get where you want to be in this life. You also have to stay committed and focused on solutions despite the adversity that occurs.

The best ways to get motivated and stay motivated.

So how can we get motivated if visualization and willpower aren’t enough? The best motivation is intrinsic motivation, which means motivation that comes from within. We can generate this by focusing on what we really want, taking mindful action, and creating environments for ourselves that inspire us to reach for the stars in whatever way fits us best.

1. Figure out what you actually want

When you picture the ideal future, what do you see? What career do you see yourself in (if any at all)? What relationships are around you? What does your family look like? Your home? All of these things are little pieces of who you really are. The more specific we get about imagining these things, the more we come to realize what we really need from our futures in order to be happy.

The first step in getting motivated from the inside out is to focus on what you really want in every aspect of your life. You’re probably not feeling motivated because a part of you has detached from the possibility of a future that’s aligned to your goals and your sense of purpose.

Visualize and record all these things which are special or important to you. Give them name by saying them out loud and committing to the idea that you deserve to have the happiness that these people and experiences will provide you. Shed those expectations that everyone else has out on you and break down what’s fundamental to your life in order to feel joy and completion.

2. Create a mindful action plan

Knowing what you really want is meaningless unless you take mindful and intentional action to achieve those things. Although we live in a society that praises the power of The Secret, visualization is nothing without the follow-through of committed action. We have to make moves if we want to get where we want to get in life. After all, this experience is not a passive one.

Prioritize the things you want in your life and start breaking down the steps you need to get there. For example, if you’ve decided to build a business so you can then establish a comfortable life for a family — start by focusing solely on your business first. What is the first step you need to take to get your idea off the ground? What are your ultimate financial goals?

Once you’ve identified one major goal or project to move toward, break that goal down into smaller, more actionable steps. What’s the easiest part of the action, and what’s the hardest? If you’re breaking new ground, start with the smallest and simplest tasks first. Build up your confidence by doing the easy stuff that’s relatively low risk. As your courage increases, move closer and closer to your visualization through action.

3. Get a taste of your desired outcomes

All the visualizing the world cannot compare the inspiration getting close to the things you dream about. This act of putting yourself in the future can give you a much more tangible tie to the future that you’re building, and thus greater motivation to get where you want to be. Getting a taste of the life we want is a powerful thing, and it can keep us going when nothing else makes us want to get out of bed.

Get your hands right into the middle of the life you want to manifest and get to know what it feels like to be in that place. If you’re striving for a life of comfort and abundance, go tour a luxury car dealership or talk your way into a luxury open house showing. Act like you belong there and feel what it feels like to be in the middle of the life you’re making.

Taking a peek behind the curtain is one of the greatest motivational gifts we could give ourselves. This connection to the future is incredibly exciting and provides us with an early sense of belonging. If building a family is your goal, get involved with the little ones in your family, or volunteer in one of the many children or family charities that exist. The life you want to lead is already out there being lived by someone. Get a taste of it.

4. Build up better support systems

Like it or not, the people we surround ourselves with play a big role in our motivational patterns and whether or not we continue to thrive or not. You can’t spend all your time and energy with people who tear you down, then think you’ll have the self-belief it takes to keep going and working through the chaos. It’s not going to happen. Want to raise yourself up? Surround yourself with people who want the best for you.

Stop allowing the people you socialize with to drag you down. Hurt people struggle to see their worth, so it’s hard for them to see the worth of others. They will keep your dreams (and your motivation) small and keep you in fear when their own words are possessed by failure and missed opportunity.

Find people who encourage you to keep going. Select partners who support you and lift you back up when you get down on yourself and what you’re doing. Upgrade your social circles and you’ll upgrade the quality of your life and the qualities of the opportunities in that life too. We are only as good as the friends and loved ones we allow ourselves to be surrounded with.

5. Get rid of the old baggage

Is your mental or emotional baggage making it hard for you to stay focused on the future? Or impossible for you to get excited about taking action in your life? The sooner we let go of this — and any and all other outdated beliefs and ideas — the sooner we can get inspired and happy about our lives and the futures we’re building for ourselves. We’ve got to lighten to load if we want to feel lighter and brighter moving forward.

It’s time for you to accept your right to thrive and stop settling. Let go of the pain of your past and the erroneous lessons you took on as a child or adolescent. You deserve happiness and you deserve to build a life that is authentically aligned to your core truths.

Release your need for perfection. There’s never going to be a right time, and you’re never going to be the “perfect” person for the success you want. You’re good enough as you are right now. You don’t need the weight of the past holding you back. Allow your motivation to shine through. Reach out to friends, loved ones, or mental health professionals and allow them to bring you up and back into yourself.

Putting it all together…

Motivation can be a tricky thing to hold on to, especially when we’re living in such a distracting and chaotic world. That becomes even more true when you consider the motivation myths you’re holding on to. These outdated beliefs make it impossible to stay motivated or focused on the things we really want. In order for us to thrive, we have to shed these myths and find better ways to motivate ourselves from the inside out.

First, focus on what you really want. Get specific about your future and what you want from your life, career, and relationships. Be brutally honest with yourself and zoom in on the things which really excite and energize you from the inside. Once you know what you want, take mindful and intentional action to achieve your goals. Set yourself close to your desired outcomes, so that your collisions with that soon-to-be future can inspire you to keep striving. Upgrade your social circles and stop wasting your time on people who are trying to keep you down or tell you that you can’t do it. You have a right to lead the life you want to live. Let go of outdated baggage or beliefs and get inspired by your right to thrive.

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Writer. Host. Certified coach. Host of the Practical Growth Pod. Master Practitioner NLP. Get all my books and resources at the link below.

Pelham, AL
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