A couple nights ago one of my best friends sent me a text suggesting/asking that I write something about how to feel motivated when you’re down and low energy – the title of this post. “My current life problem,” she added.
My response to her: “I’m definitely not an expert at that one.”
Yup, not an expert at all, so I can’t solve your problems. However, I do have some perspective and can share what I’ve learned through my own experience and what I’ve observed of others.
There are three parts to what I’ll be sharing, which are three different ways to look at this issue of motivation – two “extremes” and one “normal.” The three different ways of looking at it depend on the person and the situation.
Extreme #1 – Self Discipline
This may be self explanatory because we’ve been taught either in school or by our parents that we need to have self discipline in order to succeed in anything. Self discipline means you have self control. You’re strict with yourself.
This does not have anything to do with the feeling of motivation at all. Self discipline means you do whatever you need to do regardless of how you feel. I consider this an “extreme” approach/view of what to do when motivation is lacking.
You can easily say, “Well duh, just work hard and you’ll succeed.” Not feeling motivated? Well, then get your act together and work on your character and work habits. Stop being so lazy!
Blah blah blah. Yes, you can say all this to someone or someone can say the same to you, but my guess is that more likely than not, hearing this kind of talk will not solve anyone’s problem. It’d probably just make you feel condemned and angry. Then you may very well just give up on life all together.
Okay I’m being extreme here, but then again, I did label this section with the word “Extreme.”
HOWEVER, there is truth to the positive benefits of self discipline. If we lived by our feelings all the time, and only operated when we felt like it, I’m not sure if we would have been able to graduate from any kind of school. I mean, WHO wants to do homework and take standardized tests that measure the kind of intelligence that is favored by the long established academic system?
I also have never heard of a CEO or any other ridiculously successful person who only worked when the feeling of motivation was strong and present. The reality is, no one on earth was born with the gift of 24/7 motivation. That just doesn’t exist. And none of us would have gotten to where we are today without some self discipline.
Self discipline means being able to do things even when you don’t feel like doing them.
This has been one of the hardest but most helpful lessons I’ve learned in life thus far, being someone who was born with an emotional personality. It’s a lesson we ALL have to learn. Don’t feel like going to work today? Well then, be prepared to be fired if this behavior continues.
It’s harsh but it’s true. So yes, this is one extreme of the spectrum of how to view motivation, or lack thereof.
Stay tuned for the other two parts to this blog post, Extreme #2 and Normal…