I often get asked how I have the drive or the motivation to create things in my free time. Usually, folks will say, “By the time the day is done I just want to eat dinner, watch some Netflix, and go to bed.” I’ll be honest and tell you that this happens to me quite often too. There are plenty of days where I feel the same way. We all experience this. It’s a dirty habit you and I can easily fall into. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Where does motivation come from?
The next question that stirs in my mind then becomes, “Why are you asking me about motivation? Why not ask me about how I’ve been successful in making things?”
So can you find the motivation to work on things you are passionate about?
You don’t find it. Motivation is something that is outside of our control.The interesting thing about motivation is that is something that gives you great energy, but it’s not always around. So if you can discover it or it finds it’s way to you, embrace the hell out of it. Just like any other emotion, you aren’t a singular emotion all the time. You aren’t happy when you want to be. You’re sad when you least expect it. Much like how you can’t control other people, you cannot control motivation. It is not something you always have access to. Especially when you want it most.
Motivation can be cultivated, but it’s not why you become great.
Wait. How is this possible? When it comes time to sit down and do the work you know you love, but have no motivation to do what do you expect? Do you just let it go? Do you say, “I’ll work on it when I’m more motivated or inspiration comes to me.” The problem is that they might not come for a while. That sucks. I’ve been there.
Motivation can be created through the process of doing the hard work. When you just start writing, creating or do any activity, there is a natural process that begins to happen. You might start out with a slow and ugly pace, but then things start to pick up. You find a flow in your work. Energy builds up and you start to surprise yourself. When you see ideas unfold it gets you pumped and that’s what motivation is all about. It’s not a skill, it’s an unexplainable energy to help inspire us to keep on keeping on.
Focus, commitment and study are what make you better.
Since you can’t really on motivation, you have to learn to rely on yourself. Staying focus is hard. Being great at something is hard. Life is hard. You and I know this all too well. So why expect great things to just come easily? You need to learn to change your expectations. Don’t just think that good will happen to you and all things will fall into place.
You need to commit to your craft. That means every single day. How can you become better? This could be as simple as researching how others are doing things. Looking and watching things that inspire you. Listen to music that influences how you feel. Find mentors that can do what you want to do and reach out to them. Great mentors love committed apprentices.
Develop great taste and surround yourself with it. The styles of things that you see and hear each day indirectly impact what you create. The same is even true with food. You are what you eat. What you consume, you become. Eat poorly and your health will suffer. Ingest beautiful work through your eyes and ears and eventually it will reflect upon your own. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it definitely happens.
You have to create the desire within yourself to become good at something or to pursue personal projects. It isn’t handed to you on a motivational platter. Eventually, you might be the one motivating someone else just by being great at what you do. Focus. Commit. Study.
Oh yeah. Don’t forget to laugh. Be happy and laugh at your own failures along the way. Keep a happy heart in all that you do.