Until you have self-motivation, you’re never going to reach your full potential.
You’re in the right place and you’re making the right steps, but understand that your personal transformation isn’t going to happen because of my writing or any of the other self-improvement content you find online.
You use content like this to ultimately help you make that switch in your mind that inspires action. Self-motivation, driven from within, eventually becomes permanent motivation.
I know you’re frustrated.
The motivation that comes from self-help is so ephemeral. You feel pumped up and inspired for a little while, but then each little step required to make your stream come true quickly slices away each little piece of inspiration until you’re left with the same old you, at square one, with no results to show for it.
Sadly, that’s most of what the self-improvement industry amounts to — jack shit. A bunch of people buying books and courses they barely finish and even if they do, they rarely turn the insights into results.
So why write about it? Because I got it to work for me. I found self-motivation coming from a completely uninspired beginning, so I know I can get through to some of the people who read this, too.
You can be one of the few people who achieve the self-motivation needed to build a dream, even if right now you don’t feel like you’re capable of it.
I didn’t see myself achieving the writing career I always wanted when I was sitting in a jail cell, or doing cocaine five times a week, or working a dead-end job with 12-hour shifts for $10 an hour six days a week. If I’m ever in your city and you want to get a coffee, I tell you the uncensored stories.
Coming from those moments in my life, I reached a point where I got inspired and fed up at the same time. After years of laziness, I became self-motivated and then permanently motivated.
You can, too.
You’re searching for answers and trying to figure out how to navigate life, which is great, but understand that no amount of guidance is going to fix your life for you.
The core piece to your personal development always involves filling that gap between thought and action. No one can fill that gap for you.
Self-help content creators are like your teammates in a relay race. We will run up to you, get as close as possible to you, and hand you the baton, but you still have to run.
The best answer I can give? If you want to be self-motivated and create your own drive from within, you have to put your life into the right perspective.
I don’t have an objective answer, but here’s how I found motivation for myself. My self-motivation had many parts to it, some petty, some deeply spiritual, some positive, some negative.
I always say first and foremost that my deep level of dissatisfaction fueled me to start with. I was sick of being a loser. And I was arrogant, still am. I believe I was way too smart to be such a failure and that mismatch drove me. Like you, I got into self-improvement and it inspired me. Jim Rohn was my drug of choice to start and the words he said just hit me a certain way, specifically this idea that you could change your life in five years. Add your ethical context to this how you please, but I had a desire to be rich from a young age and self-improvement re-lit that fire in me.
Then, by a stroke of luck and having the self-awareness to seize an opportunity, I got an opportunity to write and took it.
This is the true secret sauce — closely aligning your goals with your talents and strengths and finding that thing you’re a natural at even if you’re not good. My old writing sucks, but I intuitively knew how to structure an article from day one.
You have an intuitive sense of a skill, too, and you probably have a good idea of what it is. If not, try these resources for direction, but I’m pretty sure you know.
So why not just do it?
You’re wired to fail. Your ego wants you to fail. Your caveman brain wants you to fail. The environment around you sets you up for failure.
And the most beguiling enemy of all is the culture that convinces you of the virtue in mediocrity. You’re brought up in this culture where you’re supposed to feel good by default. Your feelings are supposed to be validated by default.
Is this a good way to build self-esteem? Giving yourself praise with no merit? I’d be for it if it worked, but does it, really?
Look at the word itself — self-improvement — you have something to improve about yourself. You’re not good enough yet. You’re not living up to your potential. You could be doing more.
We can debate the source all we want. Maybe it’s the media’s fault. Or maybe you have an innate drive to be better. On the one hand, we have that lizard brain that wants to keep us ‘safe’ but we also carry the DNA of a species that has evolved at a pace more dramatic than any other animal.
Humans create. Ultimately, humans succeed.
We love to live in this cute little fantasy world where we don’t care about success, but deep down we all have desires that drive us. You can ignore them or try to meditate them away all you want, but I doubt it will work.
Why not try to objectively improve your life?
Where in the rules of life does it say that feeling insufficient is a bad thing?
Dissatisfaction creates self-motivation. Until you’re truly fed up with your situation, nothing will change. The Eastern philosophy camp will say that the never-ending chase of desire causes suffering, and maybe it does, but being a loser causes suffering too you know.
I may be a slave to my ambition, but I don’t have to stress about living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I may have an unhealthy obsession with personal growth, but I’m not sitting on the couch smoking weed and watching T.V. for 12 hours a day like I used to.
Many talk about the idea of success being a prison of its own. And maybe it is. But it’s more like Club Fed while being a loser is like sitting in a rat-infested Guatemalan jail.
I suppose we’ll all find out in the long run, won’t we?
The process of becoming self-motivated starts with trying to close that gap between who you are and who you want to be. You fuel yourself for this journey with dissatisfaction. And you do come to a point where you realize you were good enough in the first place, but it’s hard to get there without going through that journey first.
Again, it comes down to the question I get all the time.
How do I start?
I remember when I first got into self-improvement. I watched the videos, read the books, listened to the podcasts. And, for me, I developed this burning intensity for wanting to be better.
You have these waves of intense feelings, too. You read that post or you watch that video and you’re just fired up. The process of becoming self-motivated involves catching that lightning in a bottle enough times to spur action enough times to make those actions become habitual. And the good news?
The process gets dramatically easier as you move forward.
I wish I could give you a window into your future and show you much easier it would be in the future.
You won’t have to rely on willpower. You’ll be permanently motivated and you’ll know most of the pieces to the chessboard and you’ll just play that long-term game for fun.
You’ll have your major issues are taken care of so that you can focus on true self-actualization. And you’ll no longer have to have that anxiety about having potential but not doing anything about it.
I don’t have this super motivational rallying cry for you. Just know that I believe in you — not in any sort of cheesy happy go lucky way whatsoever.
It’s just that human beings, in general, are incredibly talented and resourceful. All of us, myself included, never get close to pushing ourselves to the extent we’re truly capable of.
Self-improvement is the journey of trying to close that gap you can never close.
You should try anyway. And you’ll see that even getting five to 10 percent better over a lifetime will make you feel like an extraordinary person.
If you start to do the work, one day you’ll look up and see that you’ve done a level of work you couldn’t even imagine. I look back at the hundreds of posts I’ve created, three books, thousands of hours of work. Hell, eight months ago I started a YouTube channel and shot 110 videos — doesn’t even feel like I did that at all, but I did.
Day one always sucks and you feel like success will take forever but it won’t.
A week or so in you’re still susceptible to quitting, but hang on.
90 days in, you’re most of the way there. A year? You’re golden. Multiple years in? You’re invested enough to not quit. 5 years in? You’ve totally reinvented yourself. After that? You focus on the never-ending process of mastery.
You can go from being extremely lazy to massively self-motivated. I know because I’ve done it myself. The key for me wasn’t just the dissatisfaction of not doing the things I wanted to do in life, but the certainty that I knew I could do them.
Let that drive you. The fact that you know, deep down, you can pull all of this off.