AUGUST 4, 2021

What is the one thing almost all self-help books, blog posts, and videos talk about?


But, motivation is overrated, and it will never lead you to success.

Then, what will? Read on and find out!

NOTE: This blog post is also available in video format which you can watch on my YouTube channel here:

What is Motivation?

Even though we hear this word a lot, we misunderstand the term motivation and consider it to be some “big thing” that makes us successful. 

In reality, the meaning of motivation is “Having the enthusiasm and desire to do something.” When you want to watch a movie, you desire to go to the cinema or log in to Netflix. When you want to go out with your friends, you have the desire to do that. In the same way, when you have a goal to achieve the best grade at school, you desire to do that. 

When you have the desire to do, have, or become something, you are motivated. 

A lot of different things motivate us. We all want to make more money, so we have the desire for that. We all want peaceful lives. Therefore we have the desire to avoid conflict. We seek fulfillment, and that’s why we desire to do meaningful things. Motivation isn’t limited to getting materialistic things; it spans across all levels of our life.

What’s wrong with motivation?

Motivation is great because having the desire to do something is the first step of actually doing it. But the problem is that it is just the desire, and that’s temporary.

After you watch a movie, do you have the desire to watch it? No. You know the whole story, and there’s nothing left. The desire and motivation are gone. 

When you go out with your friends and have a great time, you don’t have the same motivation or desire as you did before you went out. 

As you work towards getting the best grade at school, you have the desire to begin with, but the process won’t finish in a few hours or a few days. As the task becomes a little boring and cumbersome, you lose motivation and don’t continue doing it. 

That’s the problem. Motivation won’t last long, and it will never help you achieve success.

Why doesn’t motivation work?

Motivation means having the desire to do, be or have something. And we know that to succeed, we need to have a strong desire. Why doesn’t motivation work, then?

Motivation doesn’t work because the desire relies on external sources and as soon as those sources disappear, so does the motivation.

New year resolutions are the greatest example. In the last week of December and the first week of January, almost every person creates a social media post about their new year resolutions, and with the buzz all around us, we think, “This is the year! We’ll turn all tables around and create a new life!”

While that is possible and everybody can do it, you’re in for disappointment if you only rely on motivation. 

You have all your new year resolutions written down, and you get to them on January 1st. For the first few weeks and the month, you’re high on motivation.

By the end of February, no one is posting about new year resolutions, there is no hype in the world, and the motivation fades away. The resolutions go for a toss, and you do this all over again at the end of the year.

Motivation depends on external sources, and that’s why it doesn’t work.

How to stay motivated all the time?

Motivation doesn’t work if we rely on external sources, but will it work if we internalize it and start it ourselves?

The answer is yes! But we need to have a firm and robust source from which the desire and motivation comes. If the source of inner motivation is also fleeting and weak like external sources, we still won’t succeed. 

We need to have a strong sense of purpose behind anything we want to do, have, or be. When we have that purpose, motivation becomes inspiration.

We need inspiration and not motivation. By knowing exactly why we want to do something, we’ll focus on that goal better, and we won’t have to rely on external sources of motivation. 

How to be Inspired?

No matter what your goal is, ask yourself, “Why do I want to achieve this goal, and what impact or benefit will it create in my life?”

Think deeply over this question and find out what your purpose behind this action is. I also wrote a blog post on productivity, which states the importance of knowing your purpose behind any action to improve productivity and action-taking.

Discover the strong why, and you will be able to achieve success in whatever you want to do. 

If you want to achieve the best grade at school, ask yourself, “Why do I want to achieve the best grade at school, and how is that going to benefit me or help me improve in my life?” 

One answer can be, “I want to achieve the best grade at school because I want to get into Harvard with a full scholarship, and focusing on studying right now will help me develop the habit of hard work.”

The reason doesn’t have to be to change the world. It can be small yet meaningful and specific for you. Once you have the reason, you won’t have to wait for 1st January or any other date. You will start right away, and with that strong sense of purpose, your inspiration and desire won’t fade away!

What do you choose now: motivation or inspiration?

Partnering in your success, happiness, and growth,