‘Motivation is Bullshit!’
This phrase popped into my mind sometime last year. I had been (and still continue to) aggressively interrogating my passions and desires. I was adamant at narrowing down and articulating what sort life I would like to live. I had to know what work I wanted to be involved in and where I was going. If I could just get a general grasp on that, I could go forth full steam ahead until I get there. I’ve learnt a lot…and I still do every day. One of the lessons I learned in 2010 was that ‘motivation is bullshit’
Rewind to 2002, I’m still in Secondary School (High School) back in Nigeria. Back then my Dad would give me books for my birthdays instead of actual gifts (you know, things like video games, cool stuff, etc). Fortunately I’ve been an avid reader since I was 5 and I didn’t mind. Most of them were motivational and inspirational books and soon I was hooked on the concept of success. To this very day, I still am. It’s all I think about. In 2002, I was reading books like Ben Carson’s ‘Gifted Hands’, and books by John Maxwell and Myles Munroe. Great books, they laid the initial foundation for my worldviews and provided the fuel to focus intensely and perform excellently in my academics at the time. Eventually I progressed to other books. Motivational books were my favourite, books with lots of cliché quotes like John Mason’s ‘The Enemy called Average’.
I was fired up! Hungry after success, achievements, titles, cash, houses, and all the things society has us convinced we should want or have. Everyone said something along the same lines. You have to be motivated! It makes sense. When we are motivated, we have more energy, we put in more effort. We go harder. Motivation is great that way, its like a shot of adrenaline or like downing a six pack of Redbull.
You see, motivation works well in a system where you are subjugated. Most things are outside your control, you are told what to do. Social and power hierarchies are stable. Your choices are generally limited and everyone has their place. A system of punishment and reward, approval and disapproval is used to condition your behaviour, make you do what you are supposed to do. Motivation is great here.
Since the power in this system lies outside you, the motivation also comes from outside you. Motivation is extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation works like this, ‘I work hard because I want to have a big house, lots of money and stuff’. Or like this, ‘I am pursuing this degree to make my parents happy and proud of me’. You follow?…Okay let’s try this one, ‘I work my ass off at this job because the money is good and I would like to be promoted’. External motivation, It works…in a closed system.
But what happens when you are suddenly thrust into an open system. The rules are flipped. The power is in you, the responsibility is on you. You are responsible for delivering on results, for creating your own experience. You are simultaneously the creator, and the created. You are the observer and the observed.
Or maybe you still exist within the context of the afore-mentioned ‘closed system’. This time however, you realised you do not need to obey the system. There are an infinite worlds and experiences outside the one you were locked into before. The carrot all of a sudden is no longer worth the stick, and your motivation begins to wane.
It happens to a lot of us. It happened to me. This unplugging, so to speak happens unconsciously, and we don’t understand it. One day you are skipping merrily along and minding your duties, the next you are plunged into an existentialist crisis. Nothing seems worth it anymore. You are tired of ploughing at the same dead end job over and over and over again. The degree you pursue seems worthless in contrast to the talents you possess and the present opportunities available on the outside. Motivation can’t save you. Now you can pretend this isn’t happening and keep skipping. Your results are now determined largely by your determination, grit and capacity for self delusion.
What you really need is PASSION. Passion is intrinsic. It comes from the inside. You need self awareness for this. You need to reconnect with the forgotten and lost parts of yourself. You need to touch the inner spark and fan the flame until it becomes a raging fire. Passion, that feeling of being truly alive, of being possessed, compelled, on fire. You are taken by an idea, by a pursuit, by a desire and you will do anything to have it. Passion is motivation to the factor of a thousand. Nothing can stand in your way and survive; You will get the result you are after at whatever cost. This is the real energy source. This is longer lasting and more powerful than mere motivation.
Your momentum is from within spilling outwards in your actions and decisions. You engage in the field of study or work first for the sheer pleasure of the activity itself and then you exult in the final product/result. Your reward doesn’t come after the gruelling punishment of the task. The task IS your reward. The end success is the cherry on top. This is the carrot no stick scenario.
With passion, you fly past previous limitations. You explore and create new worlds. You become alive, powerful, wise, and fearless. You contribute to our world and you leave a worthy legacy. So stop looking around for external rewards, and fill your life with passion. If you dare, build your life around it and not only will you tap into a more powerful and rewarding way to live and work, you will have a far more enjoyable ride along the way.
Drop the candle, wake up and set yourself on fire!
Be more like this guy!
So I’m sitting at the bar right…and this gorgeous lady in a red dress walks in and proceeds to a table already full of hot sexy chicks, they order drinks and begin chatting animatedly and doing what girls usually do at such places, look good, attract attention, make guys crazy and so on. I watch as guys take turns in approaching this group with all kinds of gimmicks and get shot down one after the other. I shake my head in disappointment at the depressing display of lack of male prowess, turn to the bar tender and ask for my usual…a deep maroon shimmering cocktail. A first glance at the glass would not raise any flags, its just a red drink right. But on closer inspection, you would almost swear the liquid was alive, quivering, shimmering, vibrating. I raise the drink to my lips, close my eyes and slowly drink. As the cool liquid touches my tongue, it begins…a tingling sensation that begins in my mouth and flows first right up to my brain, and then washes over my entire body like a cascading furious waterfall. In my core is an explosion of an intense heat wave and then cold calm steadiness, followed by an overpowering presence, then quiet strength and it trails off with the whisper of a lingering teasing caress. I open my eyes, and feel the energy flow through my veins, slowly pulsating through my body. For 30minutes, I am superman, and 30 minutes is all I need. I saunter to the table with the beautiful ladies, and in 10 seconds flat have the entire table roaring with laughter and smiles, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later, I leave with the lady in the red dress, leaving about 7 envious but glowing female faces in my wake. I then proceed to give the red dress lady the most explosive 18 minute experience of her life.
Now that is a great story that took place entirely in my head, but its a parable to illustrate a great truth, the most important part of this story is the cocktail I ordered…a deep ominous blood coloured elixir that grants extraordinary powers and jaw dropping results. This is the Success Cocktail, drink this, and well…let’s just say that your life would never be the same. So what goes into the Success Cocktail?
I will show you how to create the success cocktail, these are the ingredients you will need.
If you want to be successful at any endeavour, I mean really experience fulfilling authentic success, you need skill. It is the fundamental component of this elixir. You should have something you have mastery of, or at least high competence in. It could be design, music, organizing, leading, writing, or just attracting a lot of attention to yourself. But have skill. A skill is well developed and honed ability. Talent is not skill. Skill is talent that has been disciplined, developed and mastered. Time required to grow skill to master level = 10, 000hrs.
This a complex blend of hard work, courage and persistence. Success comes from the willingness to put in the hours and do the grunt work against all distractions and setbacks. Body is the drive to keep going on until you achieve your mark. This substance is absolutely necessary to activate skill.
This is an extremely flammable and powerful substance that provides the ‘kick’ in the success cocktail. Passion is the requirement for deeply fulfilling success. It fuels and maintains the consistency of the ‘body’. Without passion, obstacles are harder to overcome, and sustained effort is almost impossible. Passion gives you the tingling sensation of feeling alive and the vibrancy you experience after ingesting the cocktail.
Passion is a very heady drug it fuels the body but also clouds the mind. Powerful and compelling dreams and visions are side effects of this potion. But to achieve success, the fiery temperance of passion must be tempered with cool transparent clarity and an adequate dose of reality. This will help you remain level headed enough to harness the power of passion and navigate the limits of reality so well that you may even begin to bend those limits and rewrite history in the process
This is the soul of the cocktail and it integrates all the above components into the DNA of the drinker. It also connects the drinker with a greater stream/plane of shared consciousness.
I have already alluded to the fact that this cocktail gifts the drinker with special powers and abilities that guarantee your success. I will briefly outline the powers you should expect and thereafter a strategy for using these powers for desired results.
Mastery: also known as competence. It is essentially the ability to do something really well, in fact so well that people clamour over you to get you to do it for them, and pay you very handsomely as well. The gift of mastery is provided courtesy of skill
Superhuman strength and resilience: These powers are the result of body (hard work, courage and persistence). They grant you the ability to withstand pain and adversity, and press on against all odds.
Energy: also known as Life-force. This is the power gifted by Passion. It is the fuel of life itself, this energy pervades the entire universe and propels you towards your goals and success. This energy sustains and nourishes you throughout your quest.
Dreams: sometimes referred to as vision. This is the gift of foresight, the ability to see the future or at least potential futures. It gives the drinker awareness of things that do not yet exist. This power is a result of passion as well. The ability to see into the future increases with the amount of passion in your cocktail. However, too much unbalanced passion will lead to hallucinations and false perceptions of reality. Hence we temper passion with clarity
Insight: This is a refined version of foresight that emerges with the combination of passion and clarity. With insight, you can look into the future with increased accuracy and perceptive depth. With insight, you don’t only have glimpses of the future, but also an understanding of consequences of that future and a general map to get there, or avert it.
Knowledge: a more concrete and at the same time more ephemeral version of insight. Passion + Clarity + Intuition grant the drinker the gift of knowledge. Here concrete direction is given to the drinker for success, also the shared knowledge of every living thing is granted when needed to the drinker. Luck and chance are attracted in greater measures as well.
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS OR HOW TO USE YOUR NEW FOUND POWERS
We just learned about the super powers, now for an example of a strategy/framework for using these powers to achieve a goal (in this case business success).
Identify the need: utilising insight and knowledge scan your world and look for an unfulfilled need or emptiness that fits in with your mastery.
Conjure the required resources: use the all your powers to gather all the necessary resources to create the product. Meta techniques used here will include leadership and management.
Create the product: use the powers of mastery and strength to create a product, service or experience that addresses the need of your audience. Execute.
Generate awareness: use your gifts of energy, dreams, insight and knowledge to help the audience become aware of your product, tell stories and sell them your vision of a future with your product. Meta techniques here include networking, communication, creation of idea viruses and so on.
Deliver the product: make it available to your audience by creating distribution channels so they can enjoy and make their life better than it was before.
So there you have it, The Success Cocktail, its ingredients and the ensuing abilities and strategies for resounding and superhuman success.