The personal development industry is worth over $11 billion a year.
Being better than we were last year is a profound psychological need that drives individuals, spurs innovation and pushes the human race to greater achievements every single day.
We all want to grow; to provide more for ourselves and those we care about.
We consume books, seminars and training courses, and we scour the Internet for kernels of truth that (we hope) will unlock the ‘secrets’ to achieving more, having more; being more.
I’ve devoured my fair share of this stuff, and some of it has helped me along the way but over the last 30 years, a startling and inescapable truth has emerged.
Most of it won’t do you any good.
Because all the ‘secrets’ in the world won’t force you to do what you need to do.
One of my favourite thinkers, Seth Godin, says that no how-to book needs to be more than ten pages long.
The only reason it’s longer is the placebo effect you get when it’s 200 pages long.
You believe it’s more valuable because it’s longer than 10.
It’s the same with motivation.
We believe we need a lot of it to achieve great things because it tends to wear off; we need ‘topping up.’
I believe that relying on these kinds of beliefs is a recipe for failure.
If you need to keep prodding yourself, or you need to feel inspired before you act, forget it.
You’re never going to make it.
To succeed at anything difficult – building a business, investing for wealth or forging great relationships – these take effort, and they require time.
But to achieve something great also requires a mindset that’s foreign to many of us.
You must realise that what you’re doing might work, but it also might not – and be OK with that.
There are countless lessons on the road to your goals, but I believe that three of them will reappear again and again to test you.
- Show up when you don’t want to
- Work when you don’t feel like it
- Learn, adjust and iterate until you succeed
I’ll give you a real-world example.
My 13-year-old daughter decided a year ago she was going to do two things. She was going to lose some weight and pursue a dream.
That dream was to become a makeup expert and share what she was learning via YouTube.
Watching her do this was amazing.
Whether she felt like it or not, she stuck to a healthy eating plan, and she recorded one video every week.
In between, she devoured anything she could on her newfound passion.
She was hungry to learn and wouldn’t sway from her path.
There were many occasions when we gorged on sumptuous meals at our favourite wineries, cafes and restaurants, but Sarah would bring her plastic containers of food and eat them quietly and without fanfare.
We’d settle in to watch a video while she recorded or edited another of her own.
Her dedication was unbreakable.
She was all-in.
So what happened?
Well, she lost a tonne of weight, she got her confidence back, and she built an audience of 35,000 subscribers in one year.
One of her videos even broke the million-view mark.
But not surprising.
You see, something most people never learn is that successful people and unsuccessful people hate to do the same things.
The difference is, successful people make themselves do what they need to do while unsuccessful people make excuses or wait for someone to do it for them.
So if you’re looking for a hack or a trick to doing the things you need to do, the ONLY one I know that works is this.
Simply START doing the thing you’ve been avoiding and pretty soon, the motivation will follow.
Don’t wait for the feeling.
Don’t wait for inspiration.
Create it by starting.
This principle applies to anything; especially in areas like business or investing because these are both long games.
Do you think Thomas Edison waited to feel motivated before working on experiment number 287 for perfecting the light bulb?
He knew that his greatest ally was simply to do the work.
Over 1,000 attempts had passed before he succeeded.
To succeed in anything requires first and foremost, that you ascribe to this way of thinking.
Do the task that is before you right now – divorced of the will to do it or the promise of certain victory and by any measure that counts, you’ll already be a success.