Recently, I’ve gone through a major life change that taught me how to be motivated in life.
One day, I was stuck in my comfort zone, doing okay.
The next day, I was literally thrown out of my comfort zone and my motivation went through the roof.
Tune in to listen to my story of how I overhauled my motivation and my best tips to stay motivated.
Living in the comfort zone, I didn’t know how to stay motivated in life
Some time ago, I was at a low point in terms of life motivation.
First, I was stuck professionally.
At that moment, I had been running a Russian translation agency for 14 years.
I’m still in love with languages which had led me to create the business in the first place.
But I wasn’t making any progress in the business.
I wasn’t motivated to develop it because the entire industry was disrupted by machine translation technology.
So I completely delegated my management responsibilities and found myself having little to do.
I still had my marketing responsibilities, but again I didn’t have the motivation.
Suddenly, I was in a place where I didn’t have any pressing work to do.
Second, I was getting passive income from:
- My investments
- My rental business
- My translation business
Third, I felt like a king.
See, my reference base was Russia where most people struggle financially.
The official stats say at least 20 million people live beyond the poverty level.
I was upper-middle class.
What do you think these three things did to my motivation?
It was non-existent.
How I struggled without motivation
I was in pain.
I had to find motivation in life so that I could move into a new line of work and grow.
But I couldn’t.
To meet this need for growth, I would push myself in areas such as exercise instead.
Running extreme distances like half-marathons.
I also spent a lot of time with my family, perhaps overdoing it.
These things were okay, but deep down, it felt like surviving, not thriving.
I would console myself by feeling grateful for what I had.
Yet, being grateful is one thing but using it as a rationalization for not growing is quite another.
Finding how to be more motivated in life
My motivation came from moving to Canada.
I took the Express Entry program and moved to live there permanently.
That has been my dream for many years, and now it came true.
A major big goal accomplished.
Another reason to feel like a king and stay unmotivated, right?
No, thankfully no!
My motivation actually got a big boost!
Reason 1: Having to prove myself
My reference base changed drastically and was now pushing me.
I went from being upper middle class in Russia to being nobody and having to prove my worth in a new environment.
I was just another wannabe immigrant.
I had to start all over again.
Reason 2: No permanent place to live
I went from living in a big house to being literally homeless since I didn’t have a permanent place to live in my first months here.
Sometimes, I lived in my friend’s basement.
I also had a hard time renting an apartment because I had no Canadian income, no proof of employment, no credit history.
So I had to work hard on establishing myself to get a permanent home.
Reason 3: My cost of living went up rapidly
I sold my rental business.
I spent a lot of money to come to Canada.
I was paying for a room three times more than I would pay for an entire apartment in Russia.
I also traveled frequently to Russia to see my family and brought them to Toronto to spend time with me.
And such trips are costly.
So I started watching my savings drain.
And I needed to make more money.
Reason 4: Focusing on work single-mindedly
In Russia, I could distract myself with little errands like picking up my son from school or taking him to soccer training.
Or spending a lot of time with my family on weekends.
But here I am all by myself sitting in a room in front of a laptop most of the day.
A perfect environment for concentrating on work!
Where does it push me now?
I’m so grateful for this external pressure that I need to take myself to the next level.
I’ve always had the internal pressure, but the fact was that back in Russia, I was stuck in my comfort zone.
And do you know what one of the most difficult things in life is?
It’s getting yourself out of a comfort zone that you actually enjoy.
That’s why kids of rich people usually don’t have the drive their parents had.
They already have everything.
They are not hungry.
And take someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example.
His family lived in really harsh conditions in post-war Austria.
There wasn’t even enough food.
They saved water because they had to fetch water from a well in bottles.
His parents were very strict.
But this external pressure was exactly what made him develop his discipline and hunger for success.
In his autobiography Total Recall, Arnold wrote:
“I liked the idea of staying hungry in life and never staying in one place.”
Stay hungry to remain motivated in life
Hunger is a perfect metaphor for external motivation.
There are two major sources of motivation.
The first one is intrinsic—the willpower.
That is my conscious choice to do something.
But willpower alone is not enough for long-lasting motivation.
It gets me going, but then my subconscious mind steps in and pushes me back.
Back to where I was because the new territory feels unsafe and uncertain.
So getting my subconscious mind on board is what keeps me motivated in life in the long run.
It makes changes automatic.
That’s why hunger is such a great metaphor for this pressure that we put on us.
Take the example of being hungry while doing intermittent fasting.
I feel my subconscious mind pushing me to get food.
It creates this external pressure to go out and find something to eat.
By the same token, I put external pressure on me by moving to Canada.
I literally created this hunger to establish myself in Canada: get a local income, get a reputation, get an apartment.
All these tasks come easier to me because my subconscious mind is on my side.
It doesn’t like my circumstances and keeps me motivated to change them.
A life coach Tara Wagner said:
“Put yourself into situations whose outcome would excite you and that stretch you to figure it out.
As human beings, we are either growing or atrophying and dying.
We have a deep human need for progress and growth – it’s written into our very DNA – and without it we lose all meaning and purpose and can find ourselves depressed and floundering.”
Actionable tip: that’s how to be motivated in life
To keep ourselves motivated in life, we need to stay hungry.
Be in situations that will throw us out of the comfort zone and demand more of us.
The external pressure will engage not just our willpower but also our subconscious mind.
We scare our subconscious mind by telling it that survival is under threat like you’re going to starve.
And it starts pulling you up instead of keeping you in your comfort zone.
Break through your barriers
If you need help with motivation, consider my services.
I’m a life coach in Toronto: book a free coaching session with me through this link.