One of the biggest themes of this generation, not just in writing, but in working in general, is not being able to stay committed enough to finish what we start. People seem to lack the dedication these days, the sheer devotion that it takes to set out to complete a task that may be hard and may take a while, and actually complete it. This is very much the same in the writing world too.
I get asked a lot about motivation and my willingness to write and put in the work. People get confused at my response. They ask me how I stay so motivated and inspired all the time, and ask me how I put in the hours even when I don’t feel like it. My answer is simple, yet probably not something you’ll not want to hear.
I don’t stay motivated and feel as though I want to work all the time. Sometimes I feel as though all I want to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix all day. But there’s a difference between me and the next guy who encounters that feeling. And that difference is, even when I don’t feel like knuckling down and putting in the work, I dig deep and work anyway.
That’s the thing. It’s not so much a case of constant motivation. It’s more a case of self-taught discipline. I understand what it takes to be successful and I’m willing to execute based on that. It’s just that simple.
So, if you’re someone who can relate to this, and you often find yourself jumping from project to project without ever really getting anywhere, then do continue reading, I think I can help.
Teach Yourself Discipline
Having already touched on motivation vs discipline, I think this would be a great place to start. The difference is simple to grasp, but difficult to learn. Does that make sense? No? I thought not.
Here’s the difference.
Motivation is that feeling you get in your stomach, in your head, in your heart, heck, it runs through your entire body. It makes you feel as though you can just do things and do them well. It makes you feel as though you could run a marathon, write a book, swim an ocean – achieve all of your wildest dreams. It makes you feel damn near invincible. But, there’s a downside to it. It usually doesn’t last long. That’s where discipline comes in.
Discipline is the trait that keeps you on track once motivation leaves. Say you get motivated as hell at the start of your day, but start to fall off in the mid afternoon – discipline is the thing that stops you from caving in and quitting early. When motivation vanishes, discipline keeps you working. And if you lack discipline, this is where you will come up with some lame-ass excuse and call it a day.
So, the bottom line is, learn some discipline.
A great place to start is by planning out your day. Create a list of everything you have to get done, and make a rule that prevents you from stopping until that list is complete. Of course, breaks are allowed, but there’s no giving in until that list is all ticked off. This way, you know you’re being productive and putting in the work. Since it’s written down, you feel obliged to continue even when you don’t want to.
“But what if my friend calls and asks if I want to go for some drinks and I still have things on my list?”
Well in that case, I’ll cut you some slack.
I’m just kidding, of course I won’t.
If your friend calls you and asks you to come out, you tell them you have shit to do and you hang up the phone. Discipline, remember? Start small with it and teach yourself to be disciplined.
Once you master discipline, you’ll really learn the true art of staying committed to one project and actually getting things done.
Do Things You Love to Do
This may be the most obvious piece of advice you’ve ever received in your life, but make the projects you work on and the things you do productively in your spare time, things that you love to do. Choose things that you’re passionate about, things that you could do for hours and hours and hours on end without getting tired of.
It’s about trying things and seeing what you enjoy. Try everything, try it all. See what you enjoy and see what really sets your heart on fire. Then make sure you’re halfway good at it. From there it’s a case of building on that talent and turning it into something that is profitable.
Let’s be real here, the most appealing thing in life is making money doing something we love to do. Well, that may be the second most appealing. The most appealing is getting filthy rich doing something we love to do. Imagine that. Imagine getting rich doing the things you love. That, my friends, is called happiness. Not necessarily the rich part. Just making a living doing something you’re truly passionate about. I feel that should be everyone’s main goal in life, and it’s sad to think that a lot of us just don’t care.
I’m willing to bet that the main reason you never finish a project is because you aren’t truly in love with the project you’re working on. Say it’s a book or poetry collection (for all my writers out there,) if you fail to complete it, you obviously chose a topic you aren’t all that crazy about. Think about the message you’re looking to portray, and think about how you can really communicate that with your reader. Write about your passions, write about the things that bring light to your soul.
Say it’s not related to writing. Say you struggle to keep up your vlogging or creating your music or advertising for your plumbing business – if you struggle with anything you’re trying to do, then I’m willing to bet you aren’t actually in love with it. Or at least not in the format you’re choosing.
That’s the big secret here folks, that’s the true meaning of life. Find something you love so much it makes you want to scream it out loud, and do that for the rest of your goddamn life.
Now I’m really fired up. I love writing posts like this one because they inspire me to take my own advice and make me feel good that I’m helping (or at least trying to help) others.
This did end up being a little longer than I expected, so if you’re still here reading this, please take a second to leave a quick comment down below. Yes, I’m talking to you. And quit yawning!
Seriously though, any comment, even just a quick, ‘I’m still here.’ will be super helpful – just so I can judge my post engagement based on the word count of the post. It’s been awesome to write this for you, and thanks so much for reading.
Now remember: discipline and do things you love. Those two combined are the recipe for all of life’s successes.
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