These three simple words helped make Jerry Seinfeld one of the most successful comedians in the world: “Don’t break the chain.” This spell made him write more and more jokes every day.
If Jerry managed to write at least one joke in a day, he put an X in front of that day on the wall calendar. As soon as the crosses began to form a chain, the motivation increased.
“You will love watching the chain grow – especially if you can hold out for a few weeks. The only thing that needs to be done is not to tear it up, ”Seinfeld replied to a young comedian who asked how to succeed.
Seinfeld’s method that ultimately became the host of a popular TV show is a perfect example of how the road to success doesn’t always start with strong motivation.
Sometimes motivation starts to appear after you have started, and builds up like a snowball.
We are reluctant to get up in the morning, we don’t really like the gym, and we don’t read two new books every week. Successful completion of tasks does not always depend on motivation: you can do great things, even when you don’t really want to.
Procrastination can lead to a vicious circle
The more we avoid something, the more nervous we become and, as a result, we postpone it even further.
To stop running in this circle, we must first determine the reason why we are procrastinating. It usually turns out that it is a matter of regulatory tricks – facilitation or prevention.
The focus of prevention is when we avoid completing a task because we are afraid of losing something. For example, you need to make a presentation on a job, but you are afraid that it will not turn out very interesting.
You do not want to embarrass yourself in front of your colleagues – and postpone starting work on the presentation.
A facilitating focus is when we see a task as a way to get better (let’s say you’re training for a marathon), but the motivation to get started is lacking: your friends are going for a run at 6:00, but every morning you find your pillow lovable.
Emotions play a key role in both facilitation and prevention.
And the trickiest problem here is desire and lack of it. Melissa Dahl, in a 2016 article for The Cut, said: “You don’t have to feel like doing something to do it.”
This is a very important idea – simple, but it can be difficult to put into practice.
So, if a task seems boring or unpleasant, you need to remove your emotions from the equation and decide in advance when and where you will take on it.
For example, like this: every day at 7:00 you are in the gym – and there are no emotions. No more lying in bed staring at the ceiling and weighing the pros and cons of training. Save yourself the hassle of making a decision and stick to a predetermined schedule.
Act now – motivation will come later.
Motivation can be the result, not the cause of the action. Once you get started, even a little bit, momentum will help you keep moving forward.
The constant inertia of movement towards a single target gives an integral effect. This essentially means that continuous incremental change can lead to fundamental change over time.
Starting at 32, Warren Buffett has grown his net worth by 1257 percent by age 44. But the results of the next 12 years are truly amazing. Between 44 and 56 years old, he increased his equity by 7268 percent. He slowly but surely began to build up the investment chain and never stopped.
Don’t break the chain
The effect of inertia can be explained by an idea called productivity physics, which is essentially Newton’s first law (in its original form) applied to habit formation:
Moving bodies continue to be in a state of motion. Once you start a task, it’s easier to keep going. Starting with a small step – putting on your sneakers or writing an introduction to your presentation – will likely be easier to continue.
This is where a pre-established schedule comes in handy to help get rid of the burden of decision making. You need to decide not only what and when you will do, but also what specific steps should be taken.
Let’s say you want to publish a new blog post but can’t get started. Promise yourself to write one paragraph a day until the article is ready.
We light the flame
Motivation is not the spark that starts the engine. “Fire [мотивации] flares up when you yourself patiently ignite it, and it feeds on a sense of satisfaction from progress. “
Motivation often comes after we start working towards a goal. The trick is to force yourself to take the first step.
If we reproach ourselves for the lack of motivation to take up work, this is marking time.
But if we figure out what is stopping us, set up a schedule and come up with a ritual, we will move forward, regardless of whether we like it or not. And then the flame of motivation will ignite.