On Motivation

I’ve been obsessed with this video as of late. I’ve probably watched it over 10 times in the last 2-3 days.

Take a look – it’s less than a minute and answer the following question:

How do you stay focused, motivated and maintain enthusiasm when things don’t go the way you’d hoped?

Elon Musk on Motivation (Transcript)

How do you stay focused, motivated and maintain enthusiasm when things don’t go the way you’d hoped?

I think my sort of drive to get it done is more disconnected from hope, enthusiasm or anything else. I actually just don’t care about hope or enthusiasm, motivation. I just give everything I’ve got irrespective of what the circumstances may be. Yeah…you just keep going and get it done.

Well, this has been Elon Musk answering your questions. Have a great day!

Besides having a fantastic closing line – there’s a few other reasons I love this video.

By far, the #1 question I get is how to deal with motivation.

Everyone asks about it and I’ve talked about it a thousand times.

And yet, despite a climate where everyone is obsessed with figuring out their passion, doing stuff they love, and only doing things they’re motivated to do in the motivated to do – arguably one of the most successful, innovative and forward-thinking person in the world (who by-the-way had Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark character in Iron Man modeled after him), says it comes down to one thing:

He decides the job he wants to do.

Then “you just keep going and get it done.”

It’s that simple.

photo credit: OnInnovation via photopin cc

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  1. says

    Nothing feels better than actually getting something done. Even if it isn’t your passion. If you create, build, or complete something the satisfaction you get will be your “motivation” for lack of a better word, to keep creating, building and innovating. Forward progress should never be discounted. Thanks for sharing the video.

  2. says

    Rad as hell. It’s easy to mythologize your heroes more than they do themselves. When the reality of creating amazing reality is actually pretty boring and straightforward.

    But where’s the lifehack, where’s the tip?

    Do the work!

  3. Christopher Sutton says

    Fantastic. There’s a lot to be said for hope, enthusiasm and motivation – but I love this attitude that you shouldn’t let the work you do or your success depend on them.

    Thanks for sharing this, Joel.

  4. says

    Totally. Last year, I was able to pull myself out of a months-long motivation slump not by having some big insight or breakthrough… but simply by diving straight into a new project. Once I started doing the work, my motivation came right back.

  5. says

    For me the most imporant thing to achieve or goals in this life is to get motivation. How? Get up and think that if you do anything you will get what you desire. It not, you are doing the wrong thing

  6. says

    It’s funny about motivation. In the beginning it’s very strong but then it subsides and a lot of people quit at that point. If you power through that initial “wall” you will start getting the results of your action. These results sparks the motivation and then the ball is rolling.
    You just have to do it every day regardless of emotions and motivation level.

    Great little video – Was not at all what I expected but true nonetheless.

  7. says

    I have been wondering about this guy lately. He’s uber-successful, jumps from one niche to another like crazy (he began with zip2, a city guide of some sort, than onto electric motors and space travel engineering). It’s impressive how he’s successful in whatever he does, but more so – how he overcame the challenges we didn’t see, and came to prominence. Nice Share, Joel – very much appreciated.

  8. says

    If you aren’t motivated to do something, should you even do it? Related to this would be to do what you want I would think.

    He doesn’t think about motivation because he was motivated to do whatever he did from the get go. He didn’t have to create the motivation out of no where, and when things don’t go his way he looks at it as an incomplete task and continues working until it’s done.

    Pretty insightful stuff.

  9. R says

    Motivation and passion are entirely overrated…motivation doesn’t complete tasks, discipline does… Motivation and passion are emotion based and therefore will wax & wane from one day to another…I can’t imagine anyone truly gets things done relying soley on passion and motivation from beginning to completion. Discipline is truly where it’s at, I think Teddy Roosevelt would agree.

  10. says

    Thanks for posting this, I hadn’t seen it as of yet (although I’m a big fan of Musk).
    In my opinion it really comes down to the ‘winners’ mindset, you set out to do something and you see it through to the end regardless of the shortcomings and adversity faced during the journey – this is why lifting is so great because it teaches you how to persevere through these things.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the ‘normal’ people who are only motivated when they see immediate results, seeking instant gratification, this is why they fail.

    Anyone else see it this way?


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