My Personal Motivation Strategy

My Personal Motivation Strategy

September 23, 2011 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post
Motivation is a skill...

Motivation is a skill...

Being motivated is a skill. Did you know that? Please be honest… :-)

Most people I know are convinced that motivation is something like a lucky emotional state. Today I feel motivated to do something. Yesterday I didn’t. Tomorrow…? Maybe. I can’t say.

Motivation comes and goes like the daily sunrise. But unfortunately not so regularly… :-)

That’s the idea most people have about motivation.

And it’s absolutely contradictory to my personal experiences with motivation. By the way, it’s also not the opinion of modern science.

So please let me explain that.

Have you ever wondered why there are people who seem to be able to motivate themselves whenever they need to? People who just get up and do the things that need to be done without any hesitation?

I always wondered what diffentiates these people from those who find it hard to motivate themselves to do something. Don’t get me wrong here: we’re talking about the unpleasant things.

Not about all those activities you love to do. I don’t think your motivation concerning these things is a skill. Here it’s in fact more of a lucky emotional state because it’s no challenge to do something you really love to do.

No, I’m talking about those rather boring, exhausting and sometimes even disgusting things you would rather like to procrastinate until the end of time :-)

Everybody is faced from time to time with such tasks, activities or situations that are so hard to deal with because the necessary amount of motivation is just missing somehow.

In most cases it’s very useful and necessary to find a way how to motivate oneself during such a difficult phase.

This is one of the crucial abilites that characterizes the high performing and therefore successful performers: being persistent while things and circumstances seem to be boring or even frustrating.

This ability is based upon self-discipline and supports the persistence of a person tremendously.

Self-Discipline and persistence are one of the great characteristics of high performing leaders in organizations.

So today in this article I want to tell you how my personal motivation strategy works.

I think I’ve already found it at the beginning of my professional business life. But it took quite a long time until I’ve really understood it. Today I think I would not be as half as productive without this strategy. And I am convinced that people who read this article might save a little time by learning what I’ve learned and implementing those findings into their daily grind.

This would also be very useful to better understand what really motivates employees in organizations and therefore to find new ways of staff motivation.

So which insights lead to my motivation strategy?

The Three Forms Of Motivation

It was an absolutely enhancing moment for me when I found that there are finally just three main things that really motivate people:

1) Autonomy

Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political, and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it refers to the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision.

2) Mastery

A master is someone who strives to develop a skill to the highest potential.

3) Transcendent Purpose

People who are doing something for a transcendent purpose are doing it for something that is higher, wiser and greater as themselves.
Striving fo this excellent purpose gives them a deep feeling of sense and amazing satisfaction.

That’s it. All the other things that you probably thought would motivate people can be derived from these three ones.
When not, they don’t really motivate humans.

So money e.g. is not a real motivation factor. I know that money is commonly acknowledged as something that motivates people, but believe me … it doesn’t.

Have a look a this video and find out what modern science has found out about the roots of natural motivation… 


Reframing is a classical NLP technique. It’s the precious art of giving a new meaning to words, sentences or thoughts. The goal of creating this new meaning is to get good and pleasant feelings concerning your thoughts.

This technique is based upon the insight that we’re continously creating our own perfect personal realities within our brains.
We’re creating our thoughts and we interpret and associate them afterwards. The interpretation and association create our emotions. They determine what we perceive and what we feel as our reality

Action Leads To Motivation

What should be there at first … motivation or action? What do you think?

I guess most people would answer: motivation because motivation is the driver for all our actions. But that’s only true for all the things that we love to do anyway. This is the kind of lucky emotional state that I described at the beginning of this blog post.

That’s no skill. That’s just luck because in this case the actions that you’re going to take are completely in harmony with your personal values and belief systems.
That is to say they have a great value for you and therefore they are strongly energizing and motivating.

With all the other things it is just the opposite:

In my experience you have to do the first step in order to get the taste of the great feeling the accomplishment of this upcoming task brings to you. So there is a point of time when thinking alone doesn’t help you with your specific task. So just get up and do something. The fascinating thing is: motivation follows automatically….

I didn’t learn all these insights at one time. There were hundreds of situations in my life where one of them turned out as being very helpful to me. I don’t like to divide my experiences up into “true” or “false”. I think it’s much more effective and adequate to divide them up into “useful” and “not so useful”. So I never tried to find out whether these insights were true or false.

But all the insights mentioned above were very, very, very useful for me in the past :-) So there is no need for you to believe me that they’re true. But I guess the fact that you’re still reading this article means you’ve actually also the feeling that these insights may be a powerful tool to use.

My Motivation Strategy: Mastery, Reframing and Taking action

Now we’re getting to the crucial point. I guess you already know how my motivation strategy works, don’t you ?

Now it’s fairly easy. You just have to combine the main thoughts of this article.

Keep on reframing the interpretation of a specific situation until you feel strongly energized. Then take action. Don’t hesitate, don’t ask somebody, don’t discuss with yourself … just do it.

The energizing feeling will automatically come up as soon as you have found a reframing that reveals a transcendent purpose, a possibility to grow personally (mastery) or the perspective of becoming more autonomous to you.

So let’s do this with the help of a little example:

You know you have to wash the dishes but it’s hard for you to get up from the couch and stop reading your
favorite new book about leadership, management and personal development :-)

What could you do?

1) Reframe

Ask yourself what other meaning “cleaning the dishes” could also have to you.

Perhaps it helps you to satisfy your wish of having a clean and tidy home. Perhaps you make your wife happy because she doesn’t have to do it. Imagine what this would be or better: what this would feel like.

Perhaps it is a new challenge for you to train your self-discipline and motivation strategies.

Some people use the act of washing the dishes as meditation. The monotonous, repeating actions are really great for focussing and clearing your mind.

It doesn’t matter which meaning you find as long as this new meaning helps you to feel good and energized.

2) Take action

Then use this positive feeling and take action. It doesn’t matter whether you’re totally convinced or not. Your conscious mind may be full of doubts but your unconscious mind knows that pleasure and motivation will follow as soon as you start to wash the dishes.

Most of the time our thoughts are the reason that an event or situation bores, scares, frustrates or alienates us.

In most cases the event itself is completely harmless.

So feel free to use this knowledge and rapidly overcome the state of hesitation. When you really begin to train your motivation strategy then you will be thrilled about the results.


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