Back in 2010, a new type of Youtube video emerged in the dating industry. A new Pickup company told guys to “Go approach women and be ruthless about it!”.
It was a good kick in the arse. Men thought it was the answer to all of their prayers. Do what these coaches say, and you’ll have more women than you can handle.
With time, more “motivational” videos with similar styles emerged in other industries. But the joke was on us.
The motivation scam
Take a look around. A whole industry is making money from this intangible thing called “Motivation”. Youtube videos with hundreds of millions of views. Spotify podcasts with endless motivational speeches. Amazon has a whole section for motivational books. Some faces have become synonyms with the word “motivation”.
There’s nothing wrong with some pep talk, but that’s all it is. A little pat on the back. Some of these guys scream through your phone, “DON’T GIVE UP!! GO!”. Go where? Telling someone to keep going solves nothing.
These speakers say a lot in their videos and books, and it feels good. But they haven’t told you anything practical. 99% of it is air. Fugazi. You might push more towards your goal, but you’ll get tired again unless you get help.
When people buy, others sell
“The Secret” brought one of the first waves of motivational speakers. It was all history from there. Self-help was going mainstream. People resonated with it. Marketers told them, “It’s not your fault”, and then offered their products on a silver plate. Books. Events. Movies. Digital courses. In-person courses. Everyone and their grandma turned either a coach or a customer. NLP coaches, dating coaches, business coaches. All the same.
In the past seven years, I worked with some business coaches as part of my marketing day job. They mentor my clients. Some of them are dressed in suits. Five minutes into the meeting, you realize they don’t know what they’re talking about. It took me a while to realize why clients pay them. Then after a meeting with some bigshot coach, the penny dropped. They were therapists branded as business coaches.
Swap motivation with self-discipline
Motivation is a sneaky feeling; you can’t trust it. One day you feel motivated; the next day you don’t. One day you feel like, “Let’s do this shit”. The next day you feel anxious about it. Listen. When something is important enough, you do it anyway. You can’t rely on mood swings or the way you feel. Self-discipline is above all of this. You do something even if you don’t feel like it.
I had trouble meeting women, so I went out to bars for years and worked on that. I got rejected hundreds of times. It wasn’t fun at first. But I did it anyway since I knew I had no other choice. I couldn’t make a single sale with my marketing agency hustle for three years. Made more than 100 calls. Got rejected again and again. Trust me, I had zero motivation for any of this at some point. Didn’t have any “push” energy anymore. But I did it anyway since I knew I had to learn this precious skill of selling on the phone.
I had a similar experience with my marketing career. The first year as an intern was rough. I dealt with lots of gaps in knowledge and self-doubt. I put effort into making it work, then got fired after a year and a half. But I continued this path since I believed I’d do well.
Same thing with fitness. I go to the gym three times a week. You think I have the motivation for that? I don’t feel like lifting heavy things after a day at work. And I certainly don’t feel motivated to work out on Saturday, when everybody’s chilling. But I do it anyway because it pays off. I look good and feel great. And that’s important enough.
Self-discipline is freedom. You enjoy more energy and more financial opportunities, you meet great people, and you’re aware of what’s going on around you. You couldn’t enjoy all that if all you had was “motivation”.
How to develop the self-discipline of Bruce Lee
Like anything, discipline is a skill. With enough practice, you get better at it:
1. Choose the right goals- Work toward goals that have meaning for you. It’ll be a lot better to stay consistent at it. You’ll be PULLED almost automatically instead of having to push all day. Ever worked at a job you didn’t care about? Yeah. All you wanted is finish your day and go home. So pick goals you see value in. Working out will help you look better. Building a business or learning new skills will make you more money. Communicating better and learning from your mistakes will help you meet better people.
2. Break through the initial resistance- Homoestasis is real. Your body might resist changing to maintain internal balance. New stuff seems odd to us. It’s outside of our comfort zones. You must be aware of it and go for what you want anyway. Tell yourself you’ll only do it for a couple of minutes. Just a minute or two to begin with. Your mind will adjust. If learning a new skill is challenging, read just a page or two on improving it. Let it pull in you. Soon that resistance will demolish. If you fear approaching women, walk over and just say hi, or ask what the time is. These little tricks will help you move forward and make you realize fear is nothing more than a feeling you can manipulate.
3. Make a lifestyle out of it- After you do something for a while, look for ways to incorporate it into your daily routines. I write before work. I go to the gym after work. I read on launch break or in the evening. Easy enough. I don’t have to do something crazy to get those done. You have to say, “Screw this, I’m doing this anyway”, daily. Until it becomes part of you. Breaking your comfort zone will become a habit, and you’ll laugh at the face of the challenge.
4. Remove distractions- I installed BlockerHero on my phone, and that’s the best thing I’ve done lately. It disables Reels and the rest of the crap that makes you scroll for days. No longer do I waste dopamine on this sort of thing. Staying focused is easier, and I have much more energy to accomplish my goals throughout the week. Porn, Netflix, social media, all that bullshit has to go. Or at least minimized. You can’t do well when these bother you 24/7.
We’ve been brainwashed into the idea of “motivation”. But motivation is a feeling, and feelings change. You can’t rely on them to get the job done. Develop self-discipline instead, and the world is yours.