Even the most successful people in the world often fall prey to self-doubt, energy drain and complete lack of motivation.
This may arise out of successive failures at attempting something, the absence of a support network, or even from words spoken by someone you care about.
When you read the biographies of some of the most successful people in the world (e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Condoleezza Rice, and even Roman Emperors, Genghis Khan), you will come across countless times when they too suffered from lack of motivation and drive.
And I’m certainly no exception: even though I immerse myself every day in expanding my toolset for high performance, including energy management and mental strength, there are times when I just feel like sitting in front of the TV and zoning out.
Bottom line: it happens to everyone, and trying to talk your way out of it by sheer willpower just doesn’t work.
What you need then is “tools” you can use, steps you can take, to put your mindset back on track.
Here are the 5 steps I recommended to a very successful friend who couldn’t get out of a “slump”.
1. Stop the self-flagellation talk
The “come on! Get your ass of the couch your miserable human being!” may work in movies or when trying to get yourself to the gym. It often fails most of the time when it comes to facing real challenges, and actually worsens the whole situation by deepening your self-doubt when it doesn’t achieve its intended purpose.
2. Make a list of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome
No matter where you are in life, I guarantee you that you can think of at least 5 massive challenges you’ve encountered and successfully overcome through sheer passion, mental strength, and drive. Well guess what: you’re still that same person – you still have the passion, the mental strength and the drive! We often forget that and need that reminder that we already have what we need to get out of a rut, we just need to apply it!
3. Disconnect completely
Take 2 days completely off but do something personally rewarding. Banging your head against the problem will cost you days/weeks of low productivity. Step away, take 2 days completely off and treat yourself to whatever makes you happy (long walks, hikes in the woods, seafood lunch on the beach, meditation, yoga, workout out, or even playing video games!). This is not “slouching”: this is intentional and should be done with no feeling of guilt
4. Build up small victories
You would be surprised how the smallest of victories snowball into a big motivation builder: what are small victories? Cleaning your house, doing the laundry, spring cleaning your closet and donating clothes to charity, successfully following a recipe for a nice meal, etc. You wouldn’t normally cast a second glance at such tasks, but trust me: these “wins” will add up very quickly and build a feeling of achievement
5. Simplify and Reduce
Once you go through steps 1-4, it’s time to get back into it, but don’t expect to jump straight back in! Simplify and reduce all of your tasks to “ease” back into it. Is the first item on your list to write a business plan for your new entrepreneurial idea? Now your first task is to write the outline for that business plan, that’s all. Are you procrastinating packing your house? Don’t’ start packing, just get all the boxes and distribute them in all the rooms and put only one item in each. I can give you dozens of such examples: the idea here is NOT to get a task done, but rather to get a task STARTED. And trust me, once it’s started, you will continue.
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