Ever have to talk yourself into brushing your teeth? Probably never, and I bet you do it daily, or maybe twice a day.
How often do you say, “If only I had some motivation. . .I could. . .?” How long did it take for motivation to circle back to you, so you could complete your task?
How do we store up motivation? All the successful, beautiful, or productive people must have an endless ration of motivation, right? How come I missed that Groupon deal on stockpiling motivation?
What if I said, “what’s motivation got to do with anything?” You would probably tune me out, but I have asked this question, many times. Teenagers, boys, adults, females–all sorts of people at some point have used the explanation that they just ran out of motivation, lost their motivation, or never had any motivation. Does motivation have anything to do with anything?
I like to think of motivation similar to the turbo button in a videogame, the button that makes you go faster, become invincible to all obstacles, and it’s free to use at any time you choose. The only caveat is, it’s time limited; it disappears. Motivation may be the catalyst to start something new, but it is rarely around when we need to finish the task.
March Madness is upon us, and millions of people will cheer on their team, or will be following along with their completed bracket for a chance at glory, cash prize, or bragging rights. The beauty of the tournament is that the eventual national champion has to win 6 straight games in less than 3 weeks. Are some teams more motivated than others? Sure, but is that the difference between the winners and the losers? Does the national champion win due to out-motivating their opponents?
Motivation is fleeting. It’s simply not enough to rely on to carry us through completing a task, breaking a bad habit, or starting something new. Actually, motivation is not even required to experience most types of successes. During the dawn of the automobile industry, there were many companies that were building cars and trying to appeal to the consumers, but it was Henry Ford who succeeded in producing a quality car at a price that was affordable for the middle class. Ford may have been motivated to beat out the competition, motivated by profits, but it was a plan or planning that solidified his name in history. He also knew he had to produce more cars than his competitors, and pay his workers a solid wage to keep them, which eventually led to the plan of an assembly line to produce cars more efficiently and quickly.
P90X and other DVD based workout programs are successful, because daily workouts have already been planned out, even daily nutrition guides, or meals are planned out to follow. P90X is physically demanding, but it’s not the motivation that gets one through all 90 days, but rather the belief that the plan is going to lead to success. The March Madness team you are following will advance to the Sweet 16 based on how well the coaches can plan for their opponents, and how well the players can execute the game plan, not motivation. After all, motivation is often simply a feeling or an emotion, while a plan is concrete, logical, and can help to sustain us long after motivation has fizzled.
I believe planning is the key to success. A solid plan will carry you farther and longer than you will be able to sustain your motivation. The next time you’re feeling motivated, stop. And plan. Plan in detail, plan at great lengths, write it down, and when you’re done, let the plan lead you to success.
What will be your next Plan?