what we got it all wrong about motivation

Have you ever told yourself that you would do something when “motivation kicks in”?

I will start working on that assignment when I feel like it.

I will start writing that song when muse comes by.

What happened then?

Yep. Motivation never came.

It is indeed a myth how we think motivation is the beginning of doing something great, while in fact, it is the result AFTER you have done the task.

How so?

I read “The Motivation Myth” by Jeff Haden recently.

The sub-title goes like this: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

So many great concepts there. It covers everything about success, happiness, productivity and mindset.

I came across with this book when I already started grinding. I 100% back the ideas. I could relate to all the small successes I had along the journey. And it is true. All you need is the first step – a little push to get the snowball rolling.

Read my article about the importance of taking the first step here: https://venuskwong.com/the-power-of-taking-the-first-step-achieve-any-goal-without-procrastination/

Here’s a great post about all the concepts illustrated in the book:


I have also picked 3 of my favourite quotes, categorised by topic:

On motivation

  • Real motivation comes after you start
  • You don’t need motivation to break a sweat. Break a sweat and you’ll feel motivated
  • There are two types of pain you will go through in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.

On success

  • Success is a process. Success is repeatable and predictable. Success has less to do with hoping and praying and strategizing than with diligently doing (after a little strategizing, sure): doing the right things, the right way, over and over and over.
  • Earned success is the best motivational tool of all. That feeling, that knowledge, is hugely energizing because it’s based not on wishing and hoping and dreaming but on a reality—a reality you created.
  • If you dedicate yourself to working your process, you will make progress. Success is inevitable.

On happiness

  • The real source of consistent, lasting happiness lies in the process.
  • If you’re not happy, rethink your definition of success. The one you have is not working for you. You can’t have it all. You shouldn’t want to have it all because that’s the best way to wind up unhappy and unfulfilled.
  • Happiness requires evenly balancing your multiple nonnegotiable goals, blending in a negotiable goal where appropriate . . . and never, ever forgetting to self-evaluate along the way to ensure the balance never gets out of whack.

On focus and choices

  • Choices present a huge obstacle to meeting our objectives. They deplete our willpower to pick long-term gratification over short-term gratification.
  • I have to vs I want to is a powerful thinking.
  • The power of routine not only will make you more efficient but will also make it a lot easier for you to make important decisions.

On goalsetting

  • Set a goal. Then look at what is required to achieve that goal. What you need to do may not be what you want to do, and that’s okay. Let everyone else take an unrealistic approach and then wonder why they aren’t achieving more.
  • Be “unrealistic” when you set a goal, and then be realistic about how you will achieve that goal.

This book has inspired me to write a few other blog posts about personal development. Check them out here if you fancy a read:

The Magic Formula For Success


How To Be Continuously Successful In Life (And Why You Need To Have Side Hustles)


Take it one step further

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