The Biggest Problem With Self-Motivation

By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

Have you ever felt really motivated, driven, unstoppable...and then it all fizzles out a week later?

We admire legends like Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. but what drives the likes of Mr Gates and Mr Branson to come up with ideas in the middle of the night? To sit through day-long meetings? To wake up at the crack of dawn? Why is it that sometimes it can feel like our motivation splutters like a car that's on the verge of breaking down?? Why do we fizzle out and how can we learn from legends to build a sense of motivation that really lasts?

The Biggest Problem With Self-Motivation

The biggest problem with self-motivation, contrary to popular belief, is that being motivated purely and only for yourself is a dead-end path. It's hard to be motivated and disciplined purely for yourself. There's only so much drive that can come from wanting a better career, a great business or that dream house. Those things can be very important but true motivation comes from something deeper than that.

We are far more likely to do something for others than we are for ourselves. It’s very easy to be distracted. Even though it may be exciting in the beginning to have that ideal body or that new house, it doesn’t last.

So does that mean you need to become Mother Teresa and spend your life dedicated to others? No. It actually doesn't feel good to just help others if you end up losing out and not taking care of yourself! It's like constantly using a car to drive your friends around but never filling up the petrol.

If You Become a Millionaire You Are Better Placed to Help Others...

Elon Musk is a pioneering entrepreneur and has accrued a vast amount of wealth in his life, yet is not driven by making money for himself. The real path to lasting motivation is to see how your own success directly impacts others.

For example, how does the idea of earning £20,000 more this year sound? How about that week off to have some down time for yourself? Now imagine if, with that extra £20,000, you used just £1,000 to ensure 1,000 children were given safe, clean drinking water for a whole year? How would that make you feel? Or imagine if, with that week off, you volunteered for just 6 hours in your local community to mentor a young child whose life turned around because you stepped in at the right time?

The people and children who are suffering in this world need you to be successful. They need you to earn more money! They need you to have more free time! They need you to be very happy! They need you to have AMAZING people around you! If we don't have more millionaires and billionaires using their wealth for good, the poorest in the world will only continue to suffer and struggle - forever dependent on the generosity of a few.

As Victor Hugo once said, 'evil prevails while good people stand by and do nothing'. In this context, your success is really, really, important. The more successful you are, the better world you and our children will live in.

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