Maintaining motivation can be tricky. We know ahead of time that achieving our goals will take hard work and dedication, but sometimes we still lose our way.
Often we stray from the path before we can even get started. Surely proper planning and realistic goals are important, but it goes far beyond preparation. We can begin to understand the keys to success by analyzing common work ethic shared by successful people. Emulating the positive traits of those who have already achieved greatness will give you the fuel necessary to keep your fire burning.
Elon Musk is a multi-billionaire, CEO of multiple companies, and a man famous for his relentless work ethic. Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX are all revolutionary in their own right, and like anything revolutionary, Elon Musk had to fight for their survival. How does one man juggle so many important tasks? Time management is key when you have a goal in your sights. In order to put the work in, you need time to do so. A lack of time is the #1 excuse for not achieving goals.
Elon employs certain practices to maximize his limited time:
Batching: The practice of combining multiple worthwhile tasks into one super productive activity. If getting healthier is your goal maybe you can’t run 5k while sitting in traffic, but you can drink a home blended smoothie and listen to an educational podcast about holistic nutrition. Elon Musk says, “I’m able to be with my kids and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to get my job done.” Maybe you don’t want to divide your attention during personal time, but this brings about his second point…
Sacrifice: We all knew it was coming. Nothing of value is possible without sacrifice. Maybe it’s a matter of giving up unhealthy food or doing sit-ups instead of watching a football match (although as we’ve learned through batching you can do both). Sacrifice is something that can be planned for, but not always. That’s the point; it’s difficult. Something comes along that we would rather do instead of putting in the work, but you must maintain discipline and stay on track. Sacrificing short term satisfactions lessens the time from desire to fulfillment.
Feedback Loop: It’s motivating to hear our friends and family cheer us on while we’re in pursuit of goals. We need a little extra push from those we love sometimes. But with all of that positive feedback, how can we be sure we are actually progressing? That’s why it’s helpful to entrust select advisers to give the honest truth about our progress. Without this honesty it’s possible you’re wasting your time and efforts in a way that will not yield results.
From making billions of dollars to scoring thousands of points, we shift our focus to one of basketball’s all time greats, Kobe Bryant. Kobe is playing his final season in the NBA, but trainers and players still note that his incredible drive has not faded. Surely natural ability and physique is part of Kobe’s tremendous success on the basketball court, but many suggest that his work off the court is responsible for his 5 championship rings. In order to understand how a man who has achieved everything his sport has to offer still stays hungry, lets break down a couple career anecdotes.
During a game in 2009, Kobe broke the index finger on his shooting hand. Rather than miss games waiting for the injury to heal, Bryant taught himself an alternative shooting method that would rely less on the index finger. An injury that would cost most players valuable court time was an opportunity for Kobe to practice the virtue of tenacity.
Teammate Shaquille O’Neal referenced how often Kobe practiced without a ball. “You’d walk in there and he’d be cutting and grunting and motioning like he was dribbling and shooting — except there was no ball. I thought it was weird, but I’m pretty sure it helped him.” This odd practicing technique gives Kobe an edge in two distinct areas necessary to any athletic pursuit: Visualization and Muscle Memory.
You can’t teach drive, but you can practice it. It’s a muscle that needs to be worked out and paid attention to even more than your precious biceps. If you feel it waning, it’s time to exercise it. Any further hesitation can cause you to lose it all together. Self-control is something that we all struggle with. You’re not a person with “bad” self-control, but you may be a person who is currently losing the battle. Get back on the horse, the wagon, or whatever method of upward mobility you prefer and just get it done!