Daily Inspired #05


The Topic

Action leads to motivation. Not the other way around which we used to think of. We always tend to complain that we are lacking of motivation and this has become one of the procrastinate reason that is frequently used. Yet, we are not getting anywhere in finding and creating motivation. Does that mean we see things wrongly?

The Learning Points

What is the source of motivation?

To me, motivation is a form of the push for us to continue certain thing like doing daily learning & writing. This is one form of exercise which requires "motivation" to continue doing. Yet, I do not see any motivation at the beginning of it and even now, it is not easy to maintain it so to speak.

Hence, let us get deeper where motivation stands. When it comes to the rewards or the sense of satisfaction that we get during the process of doing something, especially when we get good, positive feedback. Then, it is the starting point where we build our motivation. Imagine that you are doing artwork, from the first piece to the tenth, you get little to none feedback. Then, suddenly the eleventh become instant famous piece where everyone is talking about it and compliment flooded in. So, your motivation will be instantaneously increased and this will push you to work.

Motivation is like fuel, it runs off easily

There is a tricky part though for motivation. When we did not get what we had expected for a long period of time. Eventually, our motivation will run off and in most cases, most of us will give up. This means that it is not something permanent or something easily accumulated. Therefore, it is important for us to understand that motivation does not come easily, it has to be earned. With that perception, our quest is to find the motivation and not to WAIT for motivation.

What’s the relationship between action and motivation?

According to the sharing of Ali (Youtube), the action comes first before motivation. Without the right action to trigger the positive cycle, we will not gain motivation in the process. This would bring us to a conclusion that taking action is the key to gaining motivation.

Yet, there is a debate on if there is no motivation, how can we start doing something? There is procrastination, doubts, laziness and many obstacles that prevent us from starting something. This seemed to be a challenge for many of us, including me whereby I tend to procrastinate on my works which I deemed to be very hard to achieve and out of my reach. This is not helping me at all but I am stuck.

Take a 5 minutes action to start

The solution for getting over this menace is to take action. The trick of taking that action is to set it to be done within a short period of time. Let us say 5 minutes. Meaning, within 5 minutes, we will do whatever it is required for us to start something that we deemed to be able to get us to earning "motivation" or completing the certain big and impossible task. Within this 5 minutes, we do nothing but that single task. After 5 minutes, we shall see whether we want to stop or not. If we think that the task is not helping and we are not getting anywhere, then it is totally fine to stop and get on to another task that may help.

This mindset is to help us get rid of the burden of having to invest loads of time on a single task and may not even know how is the outcome. Perhaps, we are too "kiasu" which means do not like to lose something. In this case, we are afraid of losing the time we used to do something that is deemed to fail and ended up not doing anything which is worse.

Thus, just set a list of possible task to do. Set a timer of 5 minutes and try in intervals to see which works well. I will personally do that and try how it can help me in the process of reshaping myself in 2020.

Final destination is the habit

So what if we successfully continue the task after 5 minutes? We can continue to work until we are tired. Then, the next challenge is when we will pick up this task again and continue working. The 5 minutes rule will then take place again when we want to kickstart the task again until we feel that doing this specific task is not a burden anymore but part of our daily life habit. By then, we can consider ourselves as successfully reshape part of our old self into a better version.

This is also where I learned from the book Atomic Habit where the author emphasized on working out the right cue for a specific habit to be formed. It should be intentional when it comes to forming new habits. If we were to continue what we were doing, it is impossible for us to build new habits.


After going through this topic, I realize that motivation itself is just a myth and not a real tangible thing that we can have faith in. Whereas taking short and solid actions are really putting us into the right momentum. Just imagine that we want to roll a big snowball, surely it will start with a small and cute ball size but in the end, with the right path and momentum, it will become a big and ferocious force in our life. When that time comes, it has become a habit within us and we are unstoppable that time. Therefore, I need to remind myself that if I start to procrastinate for not having the motivation to start something. Find the simplest form of things to do, like write a draft for 5 minutes and just 5 minutes. If I really get a hang of it, continue. If not, proceed to another task. Looking forward to embed this mindset into me and become a better future self!


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