Ramit Sethi, financial expert and host of the Netflix show “How to Get Rich,” recently shared a post on LinkedIn about motivational myths that get in the way of building wealth. You may not have thought about how motivation is related to money, but Sethi explains that motivation depends on how we set and achieve goals, i.e. how we save money, invest money, and more.
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He also pointed out that motivation drains quickly and is difficult to replenish. It is therefore important to use your own motivation wisely. We examine his two motivational myths and some strategies for overcoming them:
MYTH #1: You’re just not motivated enough
Sethi first addresses the myth that you simply don’t have enough motivation. He gives some examples of things you may have thought about or even started but never put into action, such as:
- You want to take a big vacation abroad, but you haven’t even started planning or researching yet
- You want to start a business, but aren’t taking the steps necessary to actually develop an idea (let alone a business plan).
- You want to lose weight but skip the gym or instead indulge in other “busy” aspects of life
- You can add to this list by saving for a financial goal or investing a certain percentage of your income each year.
Saying to yourself, “I guess I’m not motivated enough,” he said, is “one of the most destructive six-word sentences you can ever say.” In his estimation, it just gives you permission “for to fail for the rest of his life.”
He adds that this amounts to saying that you are someone who just can’t get things done and that you may even be lazy. “And if you call yourself that, how can you ever change?” he asked.
He makes it clear that motivation and success are not a straight line and that successful people don’t wait to be motivated because it’s fleeting. Instead, “top performers,” as he called them, “build systems, they hone their craft, and they systematically improve their mental psychology.”
Saying you’re not motivated enough is like losing the game before you even start playing, he said. It’s also like insulting yourself. To combat this myth, he now turned to the “world of productivity.”
MYTH #2: Success means higher productivity
Sethi takes a close look at why we suggest that success must go hand in hand with productivity. He said: “We literally use words like ‘I’m overcrowded’ or ‘If only I had more time’.”
He asked us to think of some really successful people we know, someone you admire who is “at the top of their field,” and imagine how they would react if you asked them what makes him successful.
He’s sure they wouldn’t recognize her productivity. Productivity is anyway a subjective term that changes from person to person.
However, this doesn’t seem to stop most people from striving for productivity as if it were a guarantee of success. “We resort to the ‘Two Ts’ – tactics and time,” Sethi said. “We start to feel guilty because we can’t do everything. So what do we do?”
This leads to what he called the “productivity cycle of ruin,” in which people search for new tools and tactics, try them, and give up, only to find themselves back where they started.
This creates a conundrum: motivation can initiate change, but it does not necessarily sustain it.
Sethi ends his post with a question: “How do you personally stay motivated?”
Here are some ways you can work on motivation to improve its lasting power.
Motivation has to come from within
According to Psychology Today, it’s much harder to pursue goals that only come from outside, what author Robert Taibbi, LCSW, calls “shoulds”—that is, all the things you should do but maybe don’t want to actually act on Motivation.
Set yourself concrete goals
Another problem is that your financial goals may be too vague, making it difficult for you to find actionable steps to actually get things done. Therefore, becoming truly clear is an important step on the path to prosperity. Don’t just randomly save or invest because it seems like a good idea: do your research, talk to a financial planner, do your research, and then make a plan.
Even if a set of productivity tools doesn’t get you to your goal, a certain amount of preparation is still possible. You do this by “removing potential obstacles,” says psychiatrist Jeffrey Ditzell, DO, writing for Real Simple. Removing obstacles means removing processes, steps, and even working on your thinking to make your next steps easier. Or as Ditzell put it: “Whatever it is, you want the support to be there to achieve victory, and it needs to be accessible to you when you need it.”
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