3 quotes I use to spark motivation when I feel lazy, unmotivated, or hopeless
Lazy isn’t permanent
Let’s get something straight: no one feels enthusiastic, motivated, and productive all the time. Even if it seems like it from the outside.
I know because I’ve been called a motivated, disciplined, and courageous person since I left a great job to become an entrepreneur. But I’m not like that all the time – not even close.
There are plenty of times when, even though I absolutely love my life and what I do, I get in funks where I lose momentum and confidence, and feel really far away from my goals.
In those moments, I rely on some strategies to snap me back to a state of motivation, positivity, and productivity. We’ll dive deep into one of my go-to strategies in this article.
Before we do, I want to make an important point:
Just as no one is enthusiastic, motivated, and productive all the time – meaning you’re not born with these traits – no one is born lazy, unmotivated, or hopeless. These are not permanent traits; these are all just temporary states of mind.
It kills me when students identify themselves as “lazy” or “unmotivated.” Or my least favorite, saying “I don’t care” when asked why they’re not fulfilling their potential in some area.
Intrinsic motivation to be the best version of ourselves already exists inside all of us. To bring it to the surface, all we have to do is be able to envision a compelling future.
When we discover an exciting future based on our values and passions, the things we feel unmotivated to do all of a sudden fall into a much greater, more meaningful context. We can see the long-term benefits of overcoming our short-term feelings, doubts, and fears.
So what we need to do is have personalized techniques ready to snap us out of these negative states, and back into a motivated state that is connected to this compelling future.
It can be as simple as having some go-to quotes, videos, hobbies, and/or breaks
Sometimes, I pick up my guitar and play for awhile, which always puts me in a good mood. Other times, I’ll take a walk outside to give my mind a break, or watch a funny video to get me into a playful state.
And then sometimes, all I need is to read one of my favorite quotes that put everything in perspective. This is the strategy we’ll focus on in this article as a way to spark motivation when you or your students are feeling down, lazy, or unmotivated.
3 quotes to spark motivation, courage and discipline
#1: “I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” Jim Carrey
This is from a commencement speech that we use a lot in our programs. Jim Carrey says that “so many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.”
Right before he drops this amazing quote, he’s telling a story about his father, who was extremely funny and had a secret dream of making a living as a comedian. But since he didn’t believe that was possible, he settled for a “safe job” as an accountant. He later got fired from that job and their family struggled to make ends meet.
This one resonates with me. Before I was a full-time entrepreneur, I was in banking doing very well, right on track for my first promotion. I didn’t get that promotion, so I’d have to wait a whole year before I could be considered again. Instead of waiting for something to come along and improve my situation, I revitalized the summer camp I started in college on nights and weekends and left my job six months later to start 220.
This quote helps me remember that, even on days when I fail, or when big 220 projects don’t live up to expectations, I’m doing what I love. And that the only way I fail is if I don’t keep going.
#2: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah
You get more of whatever you’re focused on, as goes the Law of Attraction. Our minds don’t know the difference between “do” or “don’t,” so even when we tell ourselves, “don’t mess up” or “just don’t do that,” the outcome we’re trying to avoid is usually what ends up happening.
If I’m thinking about how tired or lazy I feel, or that it seems like I’m not making any progress, then I stay stuck in that state.
That’s why I love this quote. It helps me shift away from whatever negative thoughts I have about my goals towards what I’m grateful for. Because you can’t feel grateful and angry, or grateful and fearful, at the same time.
All of a sudden, I feel empowered because I’m focused on what I already have: skills, personality traits, experience, and relationships, giving me the confidence that I can do whatever I’m trying to do.
#3: “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” Tony Robbins
This is incredibly scary and incredibly empowering at the same time.
It’s scary because that means I alone am responsible for the outcomes in my life, and I alone have the power to change it.
Not happy with ________? I need to change it, instead of hoping that something outside of my control comes along and does it for me (which won’t happen).
On the other hand, it’s incredibly empowering because I’m becoming a solution-oriented problem-solver. Instead of complaining or wishing something was better, I either accept it and stop letting it harm me, or I identify anything within my power I can do to change it.
Bonus: “Achieving the ‘unrealistic’ is actually easier than achieving the ‘realistic.’ 99% of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time-and-energy consuming.” Tim Ferriss
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes because it flips traditional logic and wisdom on its head. Growing up I was always taught to set realistic goals so you can achieve and build on them.
But if you look at the most successful people, projects, and companies we know today, they dared to be bold, or do things that most people would consider ‘unrealistic.’
Think about people like Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela; companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Tesla. We don’t talk about these things because what they did was nice and easy.
This quote always encourages me to think bigger, do what I love, believe in myself, and not be discouraged by failure or setbacks.
And then I do it!
Identify your go-to quotes
Remember, there is no such thing as a permanently motivated, or permanently lazy person. When we do feel lazy, we need a personalized strategy to snap ourselves out of it.
To implement this strategy for yourself and your students, pick three of your favorite state-altering quotes. Write them down somewhere you can easily refer back to them when you fall into one of these funks (journal, calendar, to-do list, phone, tablet, computer, or even a more creative/artistic outlet).
Feel free to use any, all or none of the quotes from the article.
For breakfast this morning, I just had coffee!