How To Get Motivated

A lot of times, students and peers ask me "how do I get motivated?". I understand that sometimes you don't want to work on that project, pitch that idea, go to that class, etc. Sometimes people's drive and vision get them to where they want to go, but after a certain point that motivation disappears, they need to do their homework, projects, or job, but just can't seem to put the energy into it that they once had. Even if you "make it" and are doing something "fun" for a living like creating attractions for Disney or designing video games, you can still lose your motivation and drive even if you are getting paid to do it.

Money loves making you lazy. See image.

Money loves making you lazy. See image.

This begs the question, "how do I get my motivation back?" I've learned one thing about motivation from my various jobs in the entertainment industry, and it's this: Motivation doesn't come from words alone, what really creates motivation is action. Do something, do ANYTHING, do it especially if you DON'T want to do it. There is a thing called momentum, and once you get it going it's hard to stop it. If at some point you lose your momentum, the best way to get it back is to start doing SOMETHING. When you get in the rhythm of accomplishing things, even if it's as small as washing the dishes, it's easier to do that next task, that next project, reach that next step in your career. But you can start by doing something small, aim low, just do something that will get you going.

Today the dishes, tomorrow the world!

Today the dishes, tomorrow the world!

There is a famous quote form Lucille Ball that I love to reference. She said "The more you do, the more you can do." I love this quote for two reasons. 1) As I mentioned above, when you get that ball rolling and you start doing something, it's easier to get up and do that next thing, and the next thing, and the thing after that, because you're building a habit, you're conditioning yourself to get things done, period. And 2) When you go out and pitch a game, talk in front of people, do something creative, you experience what it's like to take a risk. Sure your pitch/talk/idea might fail but you'll come back stronger next time. This is something you can do now, and you know because you DID IT already. You can access more areas of your life across the board, because there is more you can do. You'll have gained confidence for having done that, and guess what? It didn't kill you.  I like to say that things are only scary the first time, after that it's just another tool you can use. You can start collecting these tools to do more and more, combining them and using them at your will. When you build it up to have a batman-style utility belt, you will be unstoppable.

Marketing meeting coming up! Time to grab the bat-excel-sheet.

Marketing meeting coming up! Time to grab the bat-excel-sheet.

When I was growing up in East L.A., I didn't think I could be a video game designer. I grew up in poverty, I didn't come from a good school, I was just trying to live,  let alone live a dream. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted to become a game designer, but I didn't have the confidence to pursue it. I didn't think I was smart enough, I didn't think I was special enough. I had no motivation to do it because of that. After I graduated high school I decided to reach for a lower branch, something I could afford to do, something that was more physical because I certainly wasn't "smart" enough to be a game designer. So I pursued my second dream and went to school to become a professional wrestler. I will tell you that being a professional wrestler HURTS! There is so much you learn about yourself, about performing in front of crowds, about character creation. The physical, mental and emotional beating I took day in and day out was really one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I grew a lot in a lot of different ways. After I graduated wrestling school I realized two things, 1) Wrestling isn't fake, and 2) If I can do THAT, I can do ANYTHING! I immediately got a job at Activision as a game tester, and signed up for school to be a game designer. I now had that confidence that I can do anything, I now had that momentum, I now had that motivation. The momentum hasn't stopped in 11 years, I'm still working and pushing myself everyday. If I didn't do something, I wouldn't have been able to do anything. So go DO something, even if it's unrelated to what your end goal is. What's REALLY going to serve your goal is your habits and your momentum, and you can get that by doing anything.