Where do you find the motivation to stay fit? To be more productive? To learn new skills? To conquer your fears? Some people just hope the motivation will come and leave it at that. Others are a little more proactive and specifically clarify the benefits of taking action and the consequences of not taking action, and leave it at that.
Still there are some people who have managed to find what I call a landslide motivator. This is a motivating focus that carries down towards all areas of life. Often a solitary focus, this motivating factor causes them to take action over a wide range of areas of their life, from fitness to productivity, learning to courage.
I can attribute most of my growth to these landslide motivators. Around the time I was starting my own involvement in personal development, I became very interested in the idea of commercial independent games development. Being a fairly demanding field, this landslide motivator committed me to becoming more productive, healthier for more energy and allowed me to pick up a wide range of skills.
Eventually I shifted from this pursuit and picked up another landslide motivator, the blog you are reading right now. Challenging me even further, this blog made me even more driven, productive, focused and effective. This blog and the interactive goal-setting tutorial I was working on at the time created a landslide of motivation across my entire life.
Although this blog is still of great importance to me, my new landslide motivator has become understanding and mastery of social relationships and interactions. Understanding social and intimate relationships requires a completely new set of skills and abilities that I am now improving. Like the other landslide motivators before it, this one is creating massive change and improvement in all areas of my life.
A landslide motivator is a goal or pursuit that has two features. One it is extremely compelling, the kind of goal that you think about going to sleep and spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about during the day. A magnificent obsession. The second feature is that it isn’t a simple problem and requires massive growth across many areas of your life.
When I first started working on games, these large projects required a huge host of technical and personal skills I hadn’t developed. The ability to organize and plan large projects. The ability to discipline yourself to work through frustrating problems. This is on top of a huge amount of technical and artistic skills that were required.
What I recently discovered in looking over my own history is that these magnificent obsessions are often the driving force that really create change across your entire life. Setting arbitrary and independent goals to get in shape, be more productive, have better relationships generally isn’t as effective as having one powerful landslide motivator that ripples down to all the rest.
Keep in mind that a landslide motivator isn’t really like a goal and it isn’t a life-purpose either. Goals are singular and specific. A landslide motivator is more like a very passionate interest focused on a very specific area of your life. Also, as you’ll notice in my above stories, these landslide motivators are often flexible, changing every several months or years, where purpose is a slower moving entity.
Creating Your Landslide Motivator
This talk really begs the question, how can I create my own landslide motivator? To answer I think you need to understand a little bit more about motivation in general first.
The most important thing to realize about motivation is not something you get or receive, but something you focus and unleash. This may sound like just a difference in vocabulary, but it is crucial. You are only unleashing motivations you already have. If you don’t have any inclination to do something, all the pump up psychology in the world isn’t going to work. Motivations can be suppressed or enhanced but they can’t be created.
That said, there are ways you can discover your own landslide motivators and unleash them.
Look Towards a Stubborn Life Problem
The way to find a landslide motivator is to look and see if there are any particularly stubborn life problems you have. The problem that has been plaguing you for years. The one that has occupied your thoughts, but you haven’t been giving it the proper attention.
Maybe that area is your health. For some of you it might be your relationships. Still for others it might be getting that education or career you’ve always wanted. The fact that you are thinking about the problem continually, but haven’t addressed it indicates a latent motivation that is going untapped.
Look for the big problems and not just the little ones. Landslide motivators work because they challenge every area of your life to improve, not just one. When I started this blog, I became more productive, healthier, changed habits and grew dramatically. It wasn’t just an hour or two of writing per day.
Similarly, look for a problem that will challenge all areas of your life. The kinds of problems that can only be solved not just by doing something more, but by being something more. The problems that require you to become a better person.
Another clue for finding a landslide motivator is to look at what area of your life you are passionate about helping others. Although you will likely have different landslide motivators at different times in your life, they should always correlate towards a greater underlying purpose. This grand and universal why is only yours to decide, but it can be a source to find your next big pursuit.
The Purpose is Not the Obsession
In creating such a powerful motivator, it can be easy to lose track of the purpose it serves. The point of having a landslide motivator isn’t to achieve your goal. The point is the gigantic leaps of improvement it creates throughout your entire life.
Having a landslide motivator is important, but remember that whether you achieve your goal or get what you desire, the important truth is how you have grown along the journey. It can be easy to get your goal and then become disillusioned after achieving it. The path of improvement is more important than any destination.