Motivation, we all wait for it to happen all of a sudden. When we are having a bad day, we stare silently at those who seem to be careless and creative with no effort and wonder if their brains work in a different way than ours. We like to wonder about it because subconsciously we’d actually want it to be that way, it’s easier for us to believe there’s something “wrong” with our brain mechanics than actually accepting that our attitude might be flawed by our own actions and lack of effort. Our ideal kind of motivation, the one we long for, is the one that strikes us out of nowhere and changes our lives forever. It’s a human thing to be attracted to things happening out of nowhere, it’s a concept the entertainment industry uses to generate revenue from us in songs, books and even reality shows in which a group of seemingly ordinary people gets the chance to win huge amounts of money for doing something that seems relatively easy. It’s everywhere and they feed it to us. But the reality is that we already know deep inside it’s not the way things work, but we’re in denial of the truth.
The problem with waiting for motivation to come is that it will just never do so. While it’s true that some people seem to have less struggle feeling well, it’s completely pointless to wonder for our entire lives why we are the doomed ones who get the crappy Mondays. If you lack motivation what you need is to reprogram by taking advantage of discipline, the art of forcing yourself to do things for your own purposes even when you are at your crappiest. That’s what will help you achieve a positive modus operandi by putting your negative feelings aside, that’s what you do when you start practicing it by focusing on what you want to do and not how you feel about doing it. Feelings are overrated in our times, now we talk about following our dreams and doing what we enjoy doing, we like to jump at the slightest unpleasant comment and make a huge deal about it and we can’t take constructive criticism at all; “Who are these people to tell me what to do?”. It’s okay to fight for what you want but it’s not okay to be deceived by the slightest negative feeling into thinking you are in the worst situation, and even if you were, as I said, thinking about it won’t take you anywhere, you gotta keep on moving all the time. Make it a habit.
You don’t have to do dramatic changes to start nurturing discipline, it’s actually better to start small. I realized I spent around one hour every day on the train, I’d usually use this time to listen to the same songs over and over, when I forgot my headphones then I would usually focus on the strangers around me and start getting socially anxious about it. One hour is a lot of time to do something else don’t you think?, so I decided to force myself to read something every time I was on the train. Foreign language books are perfect for the situation if you are learning one and if already have some advanced skills, then reading a novel in that language kills two birds at once, you get to read a book and you gain more knowledge about that language. Sometimes you really won’t feel like doing it, you’d be too tired, annoyed or simply not feeling in the right mood, but that’s exactly when you have to step up your game, take the challenge and interrupt the pattern. The best situation to get started practicing the skill of discipline is the one in which you will be stuck no matter what. Your way to work and back home is a great situation, it’s something you have to do anyway. If you don’t find anything like that in your schedule then try cutting off the time you spend on the internet without really knowing what you’re looking for. If you’re a tab hoarder like me (You save tabs with all the stuff you want to read later cause right now doesn’t seem to be the right time) then turn off the internet and don’t turn it on until you’ve read everything you hoarded, it’s a cool technique because you don’t get distracted by recommended articles or new stuff you come across, links just won’t work. Now that you’ve started you might want to move on to something that requires more engagement. You can cut off something from your diet, exercise within a schedule, or even make going out something regular to enlighten your mood when you don’t feel like it. It’s usually when we feel the least like doing something the time when we should actually do it.
Feelings can be quite confusing because they are selfish, they don’t think about what we need or actually want to do in the long term. You can make the decision to stop negativity all at once and not much later someone makes a comment that brings you down and you start getting off your original path without even realizing it. Discipline has a lot to do with not prioritizing your feelings over your projects and when you think about it it’s a really gratifying concept, anything you achieve through it required a lot of your own dedication, the greatest satisfaction in life. Nobody wants an easy ride, right? It’s not about constantly having to suppress your negative thoughts, but about just fighting them for a while until you create a new habit.