There are times when it’s hard to be motivated or hungry. When a perfect day consists of sitting on your ass in front of the TV. We’ve all been there. However, there are also times – hopefully this is the vast majority – when it’s hard to not be motivated. When everything you encounter, and everything in your life inspires you to be great: to be extraordinary.
A day in New York
I’m actually writing this on the plane ride back from New York to Vancouver. I had an amazing trip and was lucky enough to spend two weeks in the company of an amazing girl. I was also surrounded by things, people, and situations that inspired me to work harder, and to achieve more.
Like I said earlier, sometimes it’s just easy to be motivated.
I’d start my day with a solid breakfast, usually 4 eggs with toast and an avocado, and then sit down at the computer and answer emails as well as other online stuff like posting an article on my blog.
After getting all the online stuff finished, which would take a couple of hours I’d pop in my headphones and head to a coffee shop down the street from where I was staying. The walk would start with one of two songs: “G.R.I.N.D” by Asher Roth, or “Tougher than the rest” by Bruce Springsteen.
Both of the aforementioned songs would get me in the mindset to start writing. They inspired me, and would kick start a productive day.
The coffee shop’s Internet was down throughout my entire stay. I could have gone to another spot but the fact that I couldn’t use the Internet made for some of the best writing sessions I’ve had in a long time – if not ever. There were no distractions, only focused and effective writing.
I would write until I was burnt out, which would usually take a 3 hours. After which I’d take a break and go shopping. Yes, shopping.
New York has some great shopping. They have some of the best stores in the world, and if you know where to look you can get some great deals on some high quality stuff (I got a pair of Penguin Original shoes that were cut down from $180 to $28 – boom!). But much of my “shopping” wasn’t actually shopping as I didn’t buy a while lot while I was there.
We’ve all seen an image of a carrot dangled in front of a donkey’s face in order to keep the animal moving forward. Well that’s what shopping was to me. I’d go to some pretty nice stores that were filled with things that I couldn’t afford and to be honest it motivated the hell out of me.
I like quality. Whether it’s a nice suit, pair of shoes, a watch, a book, a cigar, or whatever, I really appreciate something that is of the highest quality. And I’d love to be able to buy quality stuff – not in a gluttonous manner, but rather be able to purchase the very best of whatever I need or want. I’m not there yet, and seeing this stuff that was way out of my price range lit a fire under my ass everyday.
After my inspiring walk through some of the nicer stores in Soho I’d head to the gym. The songs on my playlist are important. They get me riled up and excited to dominate the weight room, and without fail, I accomplished that with each workout.
After killing it at the gym I’d get back online at my girlfriends apartment and get back to it for session number 3.
The Real Inspiration
I think it’s important for each of us to have a desire to be great and extraordinary, to have that as a solid foundation that we build on. Without that hunger within, there isn’t anything that is going to push you to greatness. But if you have a hunger and a need to be extraordinary, you can find inspiration nearly everywhere.
Call it having a chip on your shoulder, or a need to prove others wrong. Or simply hunger and ambition. But without having that motivation internally, none of what’s mentioned in this article is going to have a lasting effect.
One of my greatest motivators would get home at around 8. We’d hang out, make dinner, then watch TV – we started watching Mad Men from the first season, great show. She’s a great girl and she inspires me to be great.
What did I take from this trip? Well, a lot. From meeting some quality new people to learning new things about myself. But one of the big things was finding motivation around every corner.
The day I just described was filled with things that I could use as inspiration. Here are a few things that you can add to your day that will add to your productivity and success in everything you do.
Find songs that inspire you and put them into a playlist or on a CD. I have mine under the playlist “gym”. Music can be very inspiring, and it’s something that you can have with you all day. Whenever you need a boost, just listen to one of your favorite songs on the list.
2. Don’t take useless breaks.
Breaks are important. They help us clear our mind and rejuvenate us to get back to working productively. But use my “shopping” as an example. It was a break, but it was motivating. It was a mental break from the writing – that was very much needed by that point – but it accomplished more than simply taking a break.
It got me excited about getting back to work. Find something that does this for you and use it for your breaks. Whatever it is, make it a part of your daily routine. Don’t get caught into surfing the web or your facebook page on a scheduled break. You end up accomplishing nothing; not even a mental break which is all that you may need.
Head to the gym. The endorphins released during exercise give us a natural high. It’s also an escape. I find I have much more clarity during and after a workout. I think clearer and with less emotional about certain things.
If something was bothering me before my workout, it isn’t after. During the session I’ve thought it through, not even in a conscious way all the time. I’m not trying to fix anything, it just happens.
Use the gym as a mid-day escape. Being healthier and more confident will help in your work life and family life in far too many ways to count.