If you’re anything like me, you don’t necessarily wake up every morning full of motivation and ready to tackle the day. Sure there are days like that and we wish we feel that way every day. But, reality tends to make life interesting, sometimes by making us feel extremely unmotivated to do anything.

It is during these times that we need to find the motivation to keep on progressing in our goals and dreams. Often times, we look for examples set out by those that have went before us. We look for the success they’ve achieve but also the struggles they endured, and we may even find that we can relate to them. Some of us have mentors that we can rely on to keep us on track and motivated.

Surely seeking motivation is the way to go when we need to rekindle the fiery passion we once had if we’re feeling down. But are there things we need to watch out for when it comes to finding the motivation we need? Is there such a thing as ineffective motivation? How do I look out for those? Read on to find out.

What Is Ineffective Motivation?

How may motivation be ineffective? If something gets me motivated to do something that I need or want to do, that’s all that matters, right? Let’s break this down from the basics.

What most of us use for motivation are usually related to the very specific topic that we need motivation for; i.e. we need motivation to do something and we tend to pick motivational sources that are related to that “something”. Whether it’s a long term goal or just getting through a workout, the motivation we use gets us going so that we have the drive to carry on and see it to completion.

As far as something like getting through a workout, or getting out of bed, or anything short-term, we may use music as a form of motivation. I know a lot of people who love blasting hardcore metal or rap when they’re lifting. Or it may be our favorite tune to keep us from getting bored while churning out those miles on the treadmill. But this article applies more to motivation for our long-term goals. Since they have a much bigger ripple effect, our motivation can definitely be ineffective if we’re not careful.

Your Motive Vs. Their Motive

For many of us, we have someone that we look to for motivation. It may be an athlete, a musician, an entrepreneur, or any number of successful people. It could be because of the struggles and hardships that these people went throubeautiful-day-1388544_640gh to get to where they are that motivates us. Or it may be the accomplishments of such ones that motivates us because we want to achieve what they have.

But take a moment and consider the motive behind what they’ve done and the motive that you have for pursuing your goals. One example that I personally experienced was that of an engineering professor I had in college. She had a Ph.D in Water Resources Engineering and she was very proficient at practicing it.

I later found out what her motivation was for becoming an engineering professor. She said that her uncle told her once that no woman can be an engineer. That was enough to motivate her to get a doctorate in engineering. However, she quit her job after teaching for 3 years. Why was that?

She never like teaching, ever. Everything she accomplished in her engineering career was from the motivation to prove her uncle wrong. From the students’ perspective, she was someone to be admired. But seeing her quit her teaching career and hearing her say that she does not like teaching was very hard to take for some of the students.

Each of us can use motivation from time to time and especially examples of people who have been down the path that we’re thinking of venturing. Although it may be difficult to tell what someone’s true motives are for their actions, it’d do ourselves a lot of good if we know that our motives and their motives are somewhat similar, if not aligned.

Being Selective

When it comes to picking people that provide motivation, it’s good to be picky. If we’ve taken anything away from the last section, it’s that we should use motivation that we can relate to. There’s nothing wrong with being selective about what or who should be your motivator.

Some of us may be motivated by our family. Maybe we have children that rely on us, or ailing parents that need us to take carechicken-159496_640 of them. These are some common motivators for people to continuing working, even if times get hard. These are some of the best motivations because they directly impact us, and they’re personal.

Being selective is about being able to see who you can relate to in reality and having them as your motivation. Does this mean that if we cannot relate to someone then we won’t be able to derive motivation from them? No, of course not. But this article is about using motivation effectively, so read on to see why it’s best to have motivation that stems from what we can relate to.

Biggest Pitfall

The biggest obvious mistake that we can make is doing the opposite of what’s state above, using motivation that we cannot relate to. Again, I emphasize that it’s not as if we cannot be motivated by people that we cannot relate to, but if we want the most effective use of motivation, we’d be more choosy with it.

As an example, I had in the past used certain athletes as motivation for me to go workout on days that I didn’t feel like. Retired mix martial arts champion Fedor Emelianenko’s childhood story was a source of motivation for me. Here is one of his quotes that I remembered:

“Years ago we hardly had anything to eat. Now I earn more money and I see every opponent as a man that tries to put me back to that poorer period. That man has to be eliminated.”- Fedor Emelianenko

Although I still remember this quote, I don’t feel the motivation from it as much as I did before, if any. My family wasn’t so poor that we didn’t have enough to eat. We had financial struggles but my parents always put food on the table. Fedor’s example and his drive had motivated me for a short while. But it loss its effectiveness over time because it wasn’t something I could relate to.

Some of us may argue that examples like Fedor and others that struggle through harder times than we have is meant to show that if they can do it, so can we. While in reality that may be true, but our state of mind doesn’t necessarily work that way. Instead, it becomes more like this: “Since this person had experience such hardship, he was able to build the character and qualities needed to get to where he’s at. I was never and won’t ever be exposed to what he has so my chances of doing what he has is slim to none.”

portrait-915230_640If someone is successful but maybe had a much easier life than we have had, it can easily become the opposite way of thinking: “He had it easy and was able to do what he has done with no pressure. It was handed to him. I don’t have that luxury so I don’t think I’ll be able to do it.” We may not think it right now but it’s something that creeps into our minds in our darkest hour. And what good is motivation if it doesn’t keep us going through those darkest hours?

I’m personally motivated by the example of Robert Herjavec, a famous entrepreneur whose parents immigrated from Croatia. His father was a factory worker and his mother was a receptionist, both jobs that doesn’t exactly pave the way success for a businessman. But Robert persevered and started his own company, which is now the largest information and cybersecurity company in Canada.

I can relate to Robert’s upbringing because my family also moved to a different country when I was at a young age. Neither of them had jobs that were well paying, and I also feel that my father had been and still is a major positive influence on me. All of these help me relate to Robert and seeing what he has done and where he is at now really shows me what is possible for me.

Your Integrity

The last point that I want to bring out is the importance of our integrity. Our motives must be something that we keep true to ourselves. Our reason for doing something is personal to us and it may not be the same for those that we derive motivation from.

For some of us, our motivation for trying to gain a lot of wealth is for our family to have a better life. But we may initially find motivation from someone who’s very wealthy, but only to find out later on that their motivation is purely the enjoyment of material things. Does this mean that we must change our motive in order to acquire wealth like this person has done? By no means should you do that.

This example simply illustrates that we may be let down sometime because of the people we look up to and we felt had one point motivated us. But our integrity must stay intact because that’s who we are. Do not forsake your values for the sake of trying to be more like someone that you’re not.

Hopefully, this article has helped shed some light on using motivation effectively. I feel this is a subjective topic and there will be different thoughts and opinions on what effective motivation is. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Stay healthy,


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Written by 

I've just started getting serious about health and fitness around 2014. Since then I've learned the insider info on how to optimize athletic performance and healthy living through both nutrition and proper training. The most important thing I've discovered however, is the connection between the mindset of those that excel in athletics, and those that succeed in their life pursuits. I've spent the last couple years observing and drawing these connections and similarities, finally created a platform to share with you all what I've found, and how to apply them in your own life to get similar results.

8 thoughts on “Using Motivation Effectively

  1. Hey, Wing, you know what? Since joining this online course on how to build up an online business, I wake up every morning, full of motivation. Despite my 9-6 day job, I will continue working on my lessons and website after my dinner! Crazy eh? Well, I guess most people need something to stir that inner feeling. It can be anything.
    You mentioned integrity, which I agree wholeheartedly. I have seen bloggers who will do anything to make an extra dollar, even sayings that are not true, in their blog for financial gain. You may make that extra dollar today, but once reader distrusts you, there won’t be any more coming your way.
    Wing, thanks for this post. I hope more people will read this.

    1. Wagreatstuff,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and your routine. It sounds like you have great drive to succeed in the online world. Those of us that truly wants it always find the time, no matter what.

      I felt it was the most important piece of the article so I put it in as a closer. And you’re completely right with people doing dishonest and other immoral things online just for a quick buck. There’s no longevity there and doing the right way is the only way to earn trust and respect from your audience.


  2. As a fellow blogger integrity plays a huge role in my motivation. I blog about products and recommended certain ones and every now and then I see something that could make me a lot of money but would be ripping other people off and I have to keep my integrity in line and not let the money signs get the best of me.

    1. Kevin,

      It’s very encouraging to have someone like you as an affiliate marketer! It’s unfortunate that there are so many con artists out there that gives affiliates in general a bad rep. But I think we’ll all stand out as long as we out the customers’ first and stay true to our values. I like to thank you for being honest about the products you promote and seeing pass the money signs.


  3. Reading your post reminded me of a person that I knew who was motivated to take on the profession of teaching mathematics.
    I remember asking her why she taught, what I consider to be, a difficult subject to impart. She said to me “I don’t like kids so I thought it would be good for me to be around them all day”. I thought this to be a very strange reason to take up teaching and if her students cottoned on to why she was teaching, I think they would be dismayed.
    I can see your point about Fedor, in my mind, his quote exhibits turmoil within himself to make such a comment and I wouldn’t want to eminate that.
    My motivation is to see people improve their health. I love it when they say things like – I have so much energy, I really sleep well, I’m so calm, my backache has gone. It’s great to see a positive change in a person that was previously unwell. In fact, you’ve made me realise that this is why I do what I do. Great article. Ches

    1. Ches,

      Wow, it seems we had a similar experience knowing someone whose motivation may deter others from following in their footsteps. Thanks for sharing that.

      I think everyone have something in their life that makes them tick, and Fedor is no different. The way he expressed his motivation does sound harsh, although with his background it’s understandable why he said what he did.

      That’s great you’re able to derive motivation from the results of your work. This is probably one of the most effective and powerful forms of motivation because it’s directly related to you, and you’re motivated to keep up the good work. Great job!


  4. Hi Wing,
    Well you are right motivation is a subjective topic. I ran a sales agency for few years. When i needed to inspire my sales team i used to play Al Pacino ‘Number One Speech”. That really got the team spirit going. Personally because i was in that type of environment i always used to think what do i want, meaning a car, a trip or a house, and then i would work backwards a plan on how to get it, always keeping the end goal in my mind.
    When i wanted to loose weight and get fit, i could never do it just by thinking about how great i will look. The secret sauce for me in that area was ‘to start training’ for a marathon/triathlon. That really worked. I achieved the best shapes of my life. But if i just needed to loose few pounds, few weeks later after starting to train i was back to where i started with my pounds back…:)
    So i guess for me is knowing “WHY?’ and having that compelling reason is really what motivates and drives me. Have you watched Simon Sinek TED talk about ‘Why?’ i think that really makes sense. What do you think?

    1. Joana,

      I just checked out the TED talk by Simon Sinek. It is a very interesting take on believing in what you’re doing and how that is the most important part. The visual helped to drive the point home with “What” being on the outside, which is what we shouldn’t be focusing on, then “How” in the middle, and “Why” in the center, which should be the focal point of what we do. Having the “How” come naturally with the “What” following seem like a natural process. Although this topic can be explained in different ways, I think the talk was very informative and thank you for referring to it!

      That’s great you have found the motivation that works for you. What really matters is doing what it is that suits you. That’s why I didn’t want to put down any kind of motivation in particular, but just those that doesn’t work for me and from my observation, didn’t have much longevity in others’ experiences as well.

      Thank you for sharing your experience! I learned something from your comment and I’m sure others on here will benefit from it also.


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