The Counterintuitive Cure when You Lack Motivation
We all lack motivation sometimes. We all have days, or even weeks, when we don’t feel like doing anything.
But the problem is that things still need to be done.
So, most of us do the obvious: We try and muster up motivation by giving ourselves a pep-talk or white-knuckling our way through the day.
But it turns out, when you lack motivation there’s a much more effective cure—and it’s a cure you might not expect.
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A Client Who Lacked Motivation
Here is part of an actual conversation I had with a client named Greg:
Me: “Okay, so let’s begin. Tell me about the progress you made this week.”
Greg: “Ah, it wasn’t a good week for me.”
Me: “Why? What happened?”
Greg: “I just didn’t get much done. I mean, I look at the plan I set up and it looks great. But, when it comes down to actually doing what I’ve planned, it seems like I’m just … I don’t know … not motivated?”
Me: “Okay. You’ve been feeling like you don’t want to do the things you know you need to do, if you want to hit your goals this quarter. Is that right?”
Greg: “Yes, that’s exactly it.”
Me: “Okay, so you lack motivation. That’s a problem.”
Greg “I know.”
Me: “What do you think is going on?”
Greg: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Okay. If your motivation is waning, how’s your Frame doing?” (“Frame” here refers to a technique I teach that is designed to help you win the motivation battle.)
Greg: “Actually, now that you mention it, I can see that my Frame has been getting weaker over the past week or so. That’s it, isn’t it!”
Me: “Most likely. Let’s work on strengthening that Frame of yours and see what happens…”
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Lack of Motivation is a Universal Threat to Productivity
I wanted to share this part of the conversation with you because I know it can be tough to keep up the motivation.
And, if you’re struggling with motivation, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Greg is a very successful professional, with a multi-six-figure salary.
And even he is struggling with motivation.
Thankfully, I’m happy to say that together we worked out a few kinks and were able to get his game back on track, at least for now.
But the lack of motivation is a universal threat to productivity.
And that means it never goes away entirely.
If you don’t have a reliable strategy to fight against it, it will completely destroy your productivity.
If you haven’t felt it creeping up behind you lately, you will soon.
And the question is, when you do feel it, what will you do?
Will you give up?
Will you try and bribe yourself to keep going with cookies or bubble baths?
Will you give yourself a pep-talk?
Chances are, at some point in the coming weeks or months, you’ll use each of these tactics.
But, in the end, they won’t work.
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The Power of Framing when You Lack Motivation
The people who are able to continue making progress even on days when they lack motivation are the ones who become ridiculously productive.
They don’t rely on pep-talks, cookies, or bubble baths.
Instead, they establish a Strong Psychological Frame that can withstand the ebbs and flows of willpower.
Greg turned to me, and together we were able to identify a couple weak points in his Frame and get them repaired.
He’s back in the race, heading full speed.
While all the other people still trying to muster up enough willpower to get through the day are going to be left behind.
Framing is really a simple concept: It has to do with how you are presenting the tasks on your schedule to yourself.
If you lack motivation, you are almost certainly framing the tasks for your day negatively—as if it’s full of things you have to do.
But, if you take a few moments to reframe the tasks that lie before you as positive, you might just be surprised by the surge of motivation you feel.
So, for example, instead of thinking about the report you have to finish, reframe it to think about the report as an opportunity to make next week easier on your whole team.
Every situation will be different.
But the principle will still work.
When you lack motivation, change your frame and things will change.