My mother could have been anything, but never got the chance. Instead, she raised us so that we could become what she never could.
My grandmother had nothing. When she was 13, she had to drop out of school to care for 7 other children. She ate her first egg as an adult. She never travelled more than 50 miles from home her entire life.
My grandfather was the smartest man I ever knew but never went to school a single day in his life. Instead he did mind-numbing factory work and stimulated himself with books, musical instruments, languages, and people whenever he had energy after work. He died prematurely from industrial causes.
I, on the other hand, was born at the perfect time. I got to go to college and now I'm a computer programmer immersed in thousands of opportunities of the biggest technological change in human history. I am limited only by my own imagination in building almost anything I want. And I make more money than any of my ancestors every dreamed possible. I'm probably the first out of 100 generations of my family who actually gets to do what I want and love it.
It that doesn't motivate someone, I don't know what would.
Your life is already better than any of your ancestors, why stay past 5pm? You already make a lot of money, why bother with a side project or startup on nights and weekends?
Sometimes I think motivation is fairly disconnected from circumstances of life.
Generally, when one has an issue with motivation, then he or she may not have discovered his or her true passion in life.
You have to find your passion.
If you do not find it, then it is likely that you will never be truly motivated.
However, once you have found your passion, then you will find that it is literally game on in your life. You will wake up earlier, because you have engaged passion in your life, which will bring motivation to your actions. You will be bringing the thunder. You will be firing on all 12 cylinders. You will not want to sleep more than is necessary, because you will know from deep within you, that you want to bring what is inside of you to others, and to the world.
1. "What am I truly passionate about?"
2. "How can I deliver what I am passionate about to others?"
Answer these questions, back the answers up with action, and you will see motivation unfold in your life.
I wish you every success.
The only thing is to persist. As Confucius said "It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop."
How much we want to do anything, is relative to how energized, focused, and passionate we feel about it, or more importantly, take time to regularly reflect on.
Motivation, as classically defined doesn't fit techies that well because we march to own drum so much. Those that fall for someone else's koolaid can end up jaded and on the same search imho.
Motivation is like bathing.
If we don't bathe our body, we begin to smell and not feel fresh.
Similarly, our thoughts, feelings, and gut begin to smell from having not enough energy placed on hitting the reset button and starting fresh with a clear reminder.
What can do it? Remembering why. Also, things like meditation, exercise, going for a walk, etc can be very powerful to clear your senses to deeply embed the why. Over time it resonates more and more on it's own.
No one can learn about you for you, you have to dedicate time to it just like the time you have to dedicate yourself to technology.
Motivation for me is remembering why I want to do things at a very deep level. I like taking the 5 whys approach to get to a root trigger word or two.
Building discipline and work ethic are the two master skills that underlie any goal I'll find or want to undertake, so it's what I try to optimize on.
So, instead of wanting some eureka moment, I build a practice of improving my discipline and work ethic a little every day. I am part of a weekly group where we set goals and check in with each other, creating obligations around the things I want to be doing for others to force me to move.
The above could be a blog post in some way as I've been self employed for over a decade and have had to work on these routines to be my own best support.
Thoughts and input most welcome :)
The method boils down to writing something down to yourself outlining what you want to achieve, how you're going to achieve it, and when you're going to achieve it by. Then you keep reading the aim and it helps to motivate you.
I think this applies to any software product that is written with the intention of having someone else use it, open source or otherwise.
I can't say that it motivates me much tho. Well, maybe a little. I guess I'm mostly motivated by thinking about how my software could be.
It's specifically for lifehacking data nerds (so probably most people here on HN) and the idea is to combine a quantified self tool with a commitment contract. Specifically, you pledge (actual money) that you'll keep all your datapoints on a "yellow brick road" to your goal and if you don't, we charge you.
We integrate with various gadgets and apps like RescueTime and Trello and GitHub (also fitness things like Fitbit but I guess this thread is more about productivity-related motivation) so, for example, you can force yourself to waste less time on Facebook or commit to GitHub more often, or enforce a steady rate of moving Trello cards to the Done pile.
More on this: http://blog.beeminder.com/perverse
Or just think of it this way: You're paying a fee for Beeminder's service and that fee is waived if you never happen to need Beeminder's kick in the pants.
If you really want a charity option though, some of our competitors offer that: http://blog.beeminder.com/competitors
At least one (StickK) offers an anti-charity option, but I really don't think that's a good idea: http://blog.beeminder.com/anticharity
When you're talking about motivation, I feel that getting someone to do something to avoid negative consequences will result in low quality work and a begrudging state of mind.
But here's our response to that: http://blog.beeminder.com/lift
1) I keep a photo on my desk as well as the back ground on my computer:
It is an image I took at the Taste of Chicago. There was a crowd of roughly 10,000 people and directly above them there is a group of buildings, seemingly rising from the crowd. The picture always reminds me that humanity is the creature that can build ANYTHING. So, I find that motivational because I want to be one of the people to build something like a skyscraper making me worthy of calling myself human.
2) I read inspirational books, to me The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) and Time Enough for Love (Robert Heinlein) are always inspirational because they project characters that are considered "ideal" or at least worthy of aspiring to be. I also read a fair amount of history books and biographies about inspirational people, if find it helps me to maintain focus when I am attempting to be competitive (in work ethic) with the great people throughout history or characters with similar traits.
3) I go for walks and think. Nothing is better than pure and utter relaxation/boredom to stimulate your creativity and motivation. For example the average person can only do high quality mental processing (learning or creative thinking) about 4 hours a day and if you want to increase the that 4 hours to a longer period you must extend the relaxation time as well. In other words, its good to do stuff you enjoy and its good to be lazy for a while, it gets you motivated to do other things.
Every time the trick is to just get myself started. Work out a way to reduce the commitment in getting started. Never tell yourself you'll settle down to 10 hours straight work after you read that article, send this tweet, or reply to that email. Instead break down your todo list into tiny chunks, and just do the first thing. Or use something like Pomodoro and just sit down to do 25 minutes work.
As I see it, the key for doing things is to begin, then to focus. Can't focus ? Do another. Just keep doing.
Motivation is not really something that helps you when you are doing, it's something that helps you to begin and to end.
But is motivation the only way to begin and end things ? Obviously not. Duty, deadlines, promises, anything that make you morally engaged in an action.
So, go set some goals ! Make it as a timeline with deadlines, make it as a flat TODO, make it as a scrumy (http://scrumy.com is a great service), try, fail, repeat until you win.
There is no way to find the good one until you tried it. So keep doing things, be amazing. ;-)
This is part of the motivation of team and peer-accountability in some of the agile methods like Scrum / XP / Pair Programming. If you feel personally responsible to someone else, you're likely to follow through. A good way to do this with personal projects is to find a partner - I work with a designer on a lot of my personal projects, and telling him that I'm going to get X done helps, as well as seeing the time and progress he's invested in the project.
"Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work." - Attributed to Chuck Close, echoed by countless writers and artists.
When my consciousness level is low I am satisfied to mope around aimlessly, watch stupid tv and sleep a lot.
When my consciousness level is high I demand higher joys like cool projects, am happy and motivated and my shit is together.
I keep my consciousness level high by taking care of my body and meditating a lot. You see how it can be an upward spiral.
However sometimes I fall into laziness, life upsets my wagon, etc. So there's the "get back on the horse" thing.
I'm putting together a course related to this if you're interested - http://www.programmingspiritually.com/
I deal with schleps by making them a part of larger, non-schlep goals. And if the schlep is really resistant to attitude adjustment, I'll wrap the larger goal in a more formalized project plan, so I can clearly see the schlep's role in the more valuable/interesting/motivating work.
These things are personal, but it is something that helps me. I used to use a standard SAD alarm clock by Phillips, but have since put some Hue light bulbs in my room. I have blackout curtains and the bulbs I have programmed to turn on via a little process on my server, I've been experimenting with ripples and which frequencies to use best, but haven't got nearly enough data yet.
I generally try to always wake up at 7am. The hours of sleep depend on exercise and how tired I felt in the morning (never think at 11pm oh I feel fine!).
Diet mixed with that helps, generally I won't eat after 8pm, unless I'm staying up late!
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry