As a senior in college, I’ve experienced a multitude of varying studying habits during my stay at Hanover College. I’ve seen the studious students, the slackers, the procrastinators, the cheaters — you name it, I’ve seen it, and perhaps even tried it out for myself. There is one style of study, however, that I have never been able to stand: motivation-based.

Motivation based workers are people you can catch saying phrases like these:

  • I need to be in this particular spot in the library to work
  • I don’t feel motivation unless I have a cigarette before I start working
  • I can’t work unless I’m around other people who are working too
  • I can’t get my work done unless I’m listening to this particular song

The problem with this type of worker, the motivation-based worker, is that he or she becomes unreliable. Relying on something other than yourself to begin taking care of business has a fatal flaw in the fact that there’s no real guarantee you’ll even start in the first place! While we might feel more “motivated” to do certain things at certain times, to become the most productive version of yourself, you have to come to terms with the notion that motivation itself does not exist.

In saying “motivation does not exist,” I don’t mean that there are no core driving factors that make us want to do things. Lee Watson, founder, found motivation for this site from his joy that comes from helping others. While that’s great, the type of motivation I’m talking about is the motivation to actually sit down and get your work done so that you can accomplish your goals.

So what’s the alternative then? How do we find the “push” to get our jobs finished if motivation doesn’t exist? To borrow a phrase from a company with a good bit of soul, you have to Just Do It.

Lee, for instance, had the motivation to create He wanted to help people. He still does. But when it came to crunch time and the website and business had to be cranked out, he didn’t wait on or rely upon any outside force to give him the power to take care of his work. He just did it, and that’s what we all have to do too.

When you’ve got a project on your desk — a goal, a term paper, a home improvement, whatever life might throw at you — don’t be the one who sits and waits for something to motivate you. Don’t wait for magical inspiration to come crashing through your wall like the Kool-Aid man. Trust me, it won’t. Any rational person would be silly to rely on something like that, no matter how much we all love the taste of Kool-Aid.

This isn’t to say that putting on your favorite Barbra Streisand album can’t help you stay in the mood to crank out some effective work. I’m listening to some particularly obscure music even as I’m writing this. But ultimately there is one thing, and only one thing, that determines whether or not you put one foot in front of the other.


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